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Advice desperately needed - let down by school on verbal agreement

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by bacardibreezer, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. bacardibreezer

    bacardibreezer New commenter

    Hi - I hope someone can offer advice on what I should do.
    I took on a maternity cover role in a secondary school which was contracted from September 2010 until February 2011. When I accepted the contract, I was told that the opportunity to job share might be a possibility after Feb if the teacher on leave chose to return part-time.
    In November, the teacher had a meeting with the HT and HoD where it was agreed that she would not return until April and that she would then go part time. I was asked straight away if I would be able to stay full-time until her return and then do three days a week thereafter. The returning teacher would also be doing three days and there would be one day's overlap where there would be time for PPA and time for her to undertake her TLR duties.
    Since then, I have been asked a coiple of times by HoD on behalf of the HT and one of the assistant heads whether I am still agreeable to this arrangement and I have assured them each time that I am. Each time I have been told that the HT wil meet with me and we will then complete the paperwork. The meeting has never materialised, however.
    Last Thursday, the HT's PA asked me to come in and sign a contract to the effect that I would be working full-time until April 3rd. I asked about the contract for the part-time hours and she said she would find out for me.
    At the end of the school day, the HoD came to see me and said that they would now only be able to offer me a job share contract for two days a week instead of the promised three. I really didn't see that coming; I was shocked and upset but as it was Y10 parents evening so I didn't have time to dwell on it.
    Anyway, I can't afford to work two days a week. I realise that as nothing was signed I don't really have a leg to stand on legally; however, this doesn't detract from the fact that other jobs have come up over the past few months that I could have applied for but didn't because of the verbal agreement I made to the school. (I know from experience that it is not the done thing to verbally accept a position then go for something that looks more inviitng!)
    I have since discovered from the returning teacher that the issue as to whether I would be able to work three days a week was on the agenda since around January and she thought I was aware of that. I am really angry now as I feel that I should have had some prior warning at least, but nothing was said until Thursday - the day we broke up for half term.
    I will be lucky to find an alternative post for the rest of this academic year and feel that I need to accept the two days or risk having nothing at all. One of my colleagues who is on the governing body has said that I should write to the HT and copy the govs on the personnel committee to get the three days originally agreed. I feel uncomfotable about this, despite knowing that I will have her backing. However, I also feel strongly that scools should be as honour-boundby verbal agreeents as the teachers they employ and that they should have mentioned earlier that there might be aproblemwith the agreed hours.
    What do others think I should do?
  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I am very sympathetic about your predicament, bu (I'm afraid to say) not surprised; almost certainly the HT is trying to save money in view of budget cuts.
    I would suggest that you either grit your teeth, accept the 2 days a week (maybe get an understanding that you will be first in line should any supply work come up on the other 3 days?), and start looking for another job - or - you reject the contract as late as possible, leave them in the **** and look for another job.
    Personally I'd go for the first option... But, like me, you'll never trust a HT again!
  3. bacardibreezer

    bacardibreezer New commenter

    Thank you FolkFan. I think you are right - and I don't have an awful lot of choice.
    I have thought about rejecting the contract as late as possible, but to do that I'd need another job to fall back on, which now seems unlikely. Also, I'd feel guilty for my colleagues (a realy great bunch who I will miss) and the students - especially Y11 and 6th form. Not to mention the teacher with whom I will be job sharing, who will have enough stress as it is.
    I'll take this on the chin, hope for supply and, as you say, not be so trusting in future.

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