In May of last year I wrote about how I was sacked from my job as a mentor in education without any good reason and was told that I couldn’t have it back despite managing to prove that certain members of staff had conspired to have me removed for dishonest and untrue reasons (you can read that post here).
Eventually someone saw a bit of common sense and I did manage to get back as a mentor, but lately there have been further attempts to move me on.
It started when I applied to become a prisoner rep for the Enabling Environments initiative here again. The following week I had a visit from the head of the allocation board who told me I was being moved from my role as an education mentor (again) and into the print workshop. When I questioned why he said that the Enabling Environments coordinator had asked for this to happen. I told him I believed this was a mistake and asked him to reverse it which he did.
I then saw the Enabling Environments coordinator herself and asked her why this had been done. She said that the deputy education manager (who was the education manager at the time I was wrongfully removed last year) had told her that I had never been a mentor at all. I was only on the list as a mentor so that I could attend education to work on projects for the creative writing tutor. I was taken aback to say the least and explained to the coordinator that if she asked the creative writing tutor himself (since he was in the room at the time) he would confirm that this was untrue and that I had been mentoring consistently since last September. She didn’t bother asking him but instead went back to the deputy education manager.
A few minutes later she returned to me and said that the deputy manager had now said she made a mistake and it had slipped her mind that I was indeed a mentor. She said she’d make sure I remained on the list as such and left it at that.
However, just a week later my name disappeared off the list for mentoring altogether. I spoke to the officers on my wing and they made a few phone calls for me. In the end they were told to give me a very specific message: “You are only required on Mondays and Thursdays. If you want to know why, ask Education”.
After further conversations with staff on the wing they sent an e-mail to both the deputy education manager and the Enabling Environments coordinator asking why this had been done. When it came to the following Monday, when we were still waiting for a reply, I attended Education and asked the deputy education manager herself if she knew why I had been removed from the list on all but two days. She said she didn’t know at first, but, when I told her that I had been told that only she could tell me the reasons what she was saying suddenly changed and she told me it had just been a mistake and that they were having to review all of the mentors’ timetables but that no one should have been taken off yet. Quite an impressive explanation given that she knew nothing about it just five seconds earlier.
The following day she sent a reply to the email from wing staff saying that I had been removed prematurely and should be put back on the list with back pay. And with that, I’m now back on and able to continue helping the students with their studies. At least for now.
The only thing is, I can’t shake two questions from my mind. Firstly, how are they going to try and get rid of me next? And secondly, how devastating could this have been if it had happened to someone less able to fight their own case instead of me?
I fully expect that I will be removed again before long. I just hope they don’t think I’m going to let them do that without justification.