Any stage 4 teachers out there who have returned to work??

Hi there
just looking to see if anyone else has been in my position? I’ve been off work 18months and so gave been on zero pay since early this year. I’m having a treatment break at the mo + so am building up the courage to return to work before the summer hols. I’m under no illusion that my return will be long term as I am likely to need more treatment sooner rather than later so I’m worried that my boss will be reluctant to have me back. Aside from the financial side if my return( I am a senior teacher + so my salary is pretty high), I m also expecting them to see my return as disruptive etc. I’m sure she will be delighted I’m feeling so well etc, and she knows I haven’t played the system at all as I haven’t wanted to mess school around, so I’m hoping she supports my return.
Just wondering what otgers’ experiences have been in similar circumstances??
Thanks in advance
tina x

Well done for wanting to go back and feeling well enough to do so - I have made the decision not to go back to work as a lecturer (with Teachers Pension) after 20 months off but that’s mostly because I’m 59 and had always thought I retire at 60 (but government have decided I’m in bracket that now has to wait to 62 for state pension so that does not help financially…). Just had early retirement on ill health agreed a couple of weeks ago. My employer was very supportive all the way through and recognized their responsibilities to help me return to work if at all possible - even provided money for counselling and physiotherapy for my arm (op due to bone mets in humerous) and even used their discretion to extended half pay for a while when I could not return when I wanted to due to treatments. They were willing to make whatever I wanted work and recognised that thoughts of retirement were hard for me as I had a passion for leading the initial teacher training course - but I’m now happy with decision to retire early and wonder why I worried so much; am looking forward to my retirement do in just over a week’s time and currently writing retirement speech! Finances are an issue but my health is the most important thing to me and my family now - for info Teachers Pension ill-health package is to provide half pension for years up to age 60 that you can’t work so I got just 6 months! Issue with ill health retirement is that you can never do any teaching type work again - I decided this would protect me responding to requests that had already come in for me to do other work and was therefore helpful to me…
I hope you do get support when you return - it’s such an individual thing isn’t it… and teaching is pressured so sometimes hard for others to be as supportive as they’d like to be…
Best of luck - hope these rambling help in some way

Sorry - forgot to add that a TP pension arrangement are under review and I missed out on the 65 age for enhancement at it changed to 60 last June! Just giving you info in case this option comes into play later on.

I was given lots of options about returning such a part-time, less responsibility and the required phased return - hope you are not going straight back into you previous responsibilities and full days of work…


Hi Gingerbud,

I have been reading your posts, you must feel elated with your excellent response to treatment. Long may it continue.

I am a stage 4, mets bones and liver. I work full time. I am a Performance Manager in the Ministry of Justice. Like you I don’t really want to give up salary just yet as I am 45.

I worked through much of my initial treatment, Chemo, Mx and rads. My employer organised assistance for me during this period and another manager was assigned to my team to help out. The gruelling treatment only last for 12 months, I don’t think I could have continued working if it had taken 18 months.

I asked to be referred to occupational health and the deal is that I have paid time off for treatment/scans etc. I have the same workload as other Performance Managers and I am happy with this.

Its nearly 2 years since I finished RADS, I think most people at work think that I have made a full recovery and those that are in the know seem to have put it to the back of their minds. I have had a couple of unpleasant experiences, i.e. being likened to a ‘Nazi football thug’ because my hair fell out during chemo etc, I challenged this behaviour at the time. Most people are kind and say that I am inspirational. I only had 3 days sick in the last 14 months.

I think work helps me cope as it makes me feel normal because its got nothing to do with cancer.

More and more people are choosing to continue to work with a diagnosis of secondary cancer, and employers are beginning to get their heads round it. McMillan have a publication called working through cancer an employers guide.

Hope this helps


Hi Tina,
I was working full time last year when I was diagnosed with secondaries. I decided to apply to work part time from the next September. The governors and head agreed and have been really supportive. For me the work/life balance has been perfect. I work on a .5 jobshare working Weds pm and Thursday and Friday. It makes me feel ‘normal’ as I genuinely don’t have time to think about myself/cancer. I was also in a senior position in our school and I gave up my TLR, which was a great relief as it massively reduced my stress levels.

The decision is a hard one that is exclusive to you, I am happy with the decision I made. However I have been lucky that my treatments so far have been tolerable and any progression can change this at any time. During the terms I did work full time with secondaries I did manage to aswell. I am currently off sick following my proximal femur replacement, but intend to return in September. I found occupational health really helpful and supportive if you haven’t already I suggest you contact them.

My decision to carry on, although with reduced hours, is mainly financial, however I think I also don’t want to lose even more control of my former life.

(edited to give you some of the info as a PM)

I hope you come to a decision you are happy with x

Am I a teacher with stage 4. I was diagnosed last August from the start with stage 4. I had a lumpectomy but was off work until October half term (trying to get my head round all this). When I did return to work my GP ticked the boxes on the “fit note” to return to work with amended hours/ duties. As I was already part time this was not a great problem, but I no longer teach and carry out the other part of my role I.e data analysis full time. My school have been fantastic in their support and probably agreed to this because i had always planned to retire early this year (3 weeks left!!!)?
Working in the classroom is very stressful and the amount of work you have to complete at home is huge!! I have had a good year (after the intial diagnosis!) with 3 good scans all showing reduction in my lung mets, 3 days work without any stress and lots of lunches and coffee met ups. Looking forward to my retirement and the puppy I am getting to keep me fit!!
Hope you get sorted to your satisfaction xx