SEN Teacher returning to work

I am 4 months post stroke as of today :) My recovery is going well my right side is still sore from nerve pain and  I am on various tablets for this.

I had an appointment this morning with occupational health about returning to work. This will be a phased return hopefully 2 hours 3 times per week to begin with. She said today this was for 6 weeks and after this time I would be expected to go back to the hours I was doing prior to the stroke (3 and half days). I am a bit confused as when I saw the stroke nurse last week she didnt seem to think I would be back to doing that till at least Christmas, depending on how I cope.

I am ready to get back and feel it will help with my recovery, however I don't want to be worrying that I only have 6 weeks to get back to 'normal'. 

I don't know how I will cope when I get back and obviously I still have my physio appontments etc to go to.

Just wondered what other peoples experienes have been? I am at my own GP Monday and won't be going back to work till the week after next.

Feeling worried now and thats the last thing I want :(


Hello Lisa,

First things first - trying to get back to working only four months after your stroke is ambitious and you should be proud that you are making it a focus.

I was only just out of hospital after four months and started working three full days a week soon afterwards. That was challenging, particularly with a two hour commute to and from work.  It only ran for six weeks and was a real confidence booster.  I hardly worked for another four years but it was at the peak of the recession, eight years ago. Work soon dried up and I had to find new employment as a Stroke Survivor. On a brighter note, for the past four years I have worked full-time, five days a week. It has helped with my recovery and I am both more mobile, have less stroke fatigue and can concentrate better. I'm not exactly as I was prior to my stroke but I'm at least 80% as I was.

So, to your situation and thoughts - I think seeing how things go with a gentler start makes a lot of sense. You may be raring for more work after six weeks, you may want less or you may be Miss Goldilocks and it's just right.

Try and organise your physiotherapy around your working. I've used the gym and exercised for all of the nine years since my Stroke. This has been a huge help and I recommend it.

Finally, try not to be worried - whatever happens, happens and if working all goes fine, great, but if not, you'll cope as well.

Take care now,


Hi Lisa - you are doing amazingly well, 4 months is still so early in your recovery.  Returning to any employment is difficult post-stroke, however, as an SEN teacher myself, I know the huge demands of school routines and expectations!!  It's relentless, no such thing as 'a quiet day in the office' !!  Your pupils will be glad to have you back, and I'm sure they will feel protective towards you, and hopefully they will be supportive and helpful ? (and hopefully you have an understanding SLT too!)  If you can, allow others to share the workload, so that you can focus on your relationships with the pupils as you re-adjust your working life.  I suspect that you want to hit the ground running, but this is a marathon, not a sprint - listen to your body's needs, and pace yourself.  

I have taken early retirement to be able to care for my husband, so officially I will be a pensioner on 31st August!!  But I'm acutely aware of how demanding the Autumn term can be!!  Take good care, try to work within your means - in terms of energy & rest.  Very best of luck - if I can offer any suggestions it would be a pleasure to help, so feel free to contact me, I have many tricks up my sleeve ?


Hi Lisa.

You really should speak to your stroke nurse and see what she says.

This is stress you don't need so soon after your stroke.

My stroke nurse said two afternoons for as long as they will allow and then see how I go after that.  Pressure on you to go back to what you did before seems quite harsh.

The stroke nurse should be able to speak to occupational health on your behalf.

Take care and let us know how you get on.


Was the meeting with your line leader/Hod, the HR, your head teacher, and your union rep? They all need to be on board and sensitive to your recovery. Get the plan written down, agreed by all present. Weekly or bi-weekly meetings with your Hod/line manager at least, with a ‘how’s it going/are you on schedule/ agenda, with the option of extending your part time load. I personally think 6 weeks is very short. 

Thanks everyone. I am going to speak to the stroke nurse again when she returms from leave. I am going to the GP on Monday and going to be signed off for a further two weeks whilst things are sorted. My main worry is that after 6 months I go down to half pay, so need to look into what I am entitled to from the government as to whether it will cover our mortagage etc :(

Once I have seen my line manager I am going to chat to my union as well so I know where I stand with them as well.


If things dont go well with your meetings, then ask HR to have someone on their team that knows about strokes. 

Your brain will still need rest. Maybe you will be able to do your job without taxing your brain too much. Six months is early for a return to work.

Good luck.


Thank you :)