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Ask a teacher - QA

Why do some staff get away with murder in terms of breaking rules, when other staff are disciplined for doing the slightest thing wrong? Does it depend on the head's favourites or the head of department?

Sarah, Lancashire

A: Few things are more detrimental to staff morale than inconsistent application of disciplinary rules. Consider whether this is through cock- up or conspiracy. The former is down to poor management and you can almost put it in the box marked "these things happen". A sustained and planned campaign of marginalising and demoralising a particular member of staff is much more serious and could be considered bullying. In such situations we must do exactly what we'd tell our pupils to do if bullied: stand up for yourself.

Chris, Sutton

A: It's a case of one rule for some and different rules for others. The way forward on this is to keep a record. It's a horrible thing to do, as in effect you'll be stitching up a colleague. However, it should give you evidence with which to challenge any future disciplinary action for a minor offence - you could at least argue that there is little or no integrity in the system and that it produces demonstrably perverse outcomes.

Mal, Ebbw Vale

A: It seems so much easier if staff don't break the rules in the first place. However, some rules may be more important than others in terms of how they impact upon the lives of others. Why not raise this as an issue with your senior leadership team so it can be quickly resolved?

John, Cumbria.

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