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Advice needed please

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by blueskies31, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. blueskies31

    blueskies31 Occasional commenter

    I started a new job at the start of the month and for obvious reasons I can't go into detail on here, but I knew immediately that the job and the school weren't for me. The position wasn't what I was lead to believe and I am currently off sick whilst I weigh up my options. I want to do right by the school and I want to pick your brains about what to do next.

    Do I contact my union and ask them to negotiate an early contract release? Can I apply for jobs whilst off sick? Do I put this school on my applications even though I was only there for a week?

    Any advice would be gratefully received. I am absolutely devastated to be in this position. I have taught for many years, including being on SLT and I am so worried I have messed up my career.

    Thank you
  2. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Do I infer from what you've said that you've "gone off sick" because the school isn't for you? Or have you genuinely and coincidentally come down with an illness?

    I'm asking this because (a) yes, you must certainly put this school down on any future applications. It would be professional misconduct if you didn't. This means that until you've successfully found another post, the head of this school must be your referee and is likely to be a tad blunt in any reference (e.g. Mr Blueskies was appointed to the post of xxxx and managed to put in all of a week before he 'called in sick' and we never saw him again..." and (b) applying for other jobs whilst "off sick" isn't impossible, but comes with the risk that your current head might even refuse to offer you a reference after so short a time. You still must, however, name him/her as a referee and name this school as your current school.

    You (for obvious reasons) give few details, but unless the school has mutated into something entirely different from when you were interviewed, my best advice is to get yourself into school and at least work the term; if you feel that this is impossible (and remember that many of us have gone to a new school at some point and in the first few weeks asked ourselves "Oh my god, what HAVE I done?" - it's important to give the job a chance of working out), see the head asap and explain yourself and ask to be released early.
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Oh dear!

    Oh dearie dearie dear!

    I am now probably going to repeat what the last poster said, but in a different order . . . She has hit the nail on the head here.

    1. Yes you must most certainly include this school on any application. It is your current school, since 1st September. If you leave it off and it is subsequently discovered that you falsified an application, you could be in very serious trouble, including legal trouble.

    2. Yes, you must most certainly have the Head of this school as your first referee. You are required to give the current or most recent employer in a job involving working with children or young people.

    3. Yes you may apply for other jobs, although you should not go to any interviews without the authorisation of both your Dr and your current school. Here's what ATL says:

    Are there activities I should and should not do whilst off sick?

    You should do only what your current state of health allows. During sick leave, you should not be employed elsewhere and should not exercise away from home unless it is part of your recovery. Sick leave should not be used to attend job interviews. Your employer may take a dim view, and possible disciplinary action


    4. Yes, you have almost certainly messed up on your career by going off sick just a few days into the term because you don't think that the school and the job are "for you". So, to be frank, you needn't bother much about either Point 2 (the Head is perfectly entitled to refuse to give you a reference at all, or to write a perfectly honest but extremely negative one) or Point 3 ( it is highly unlikely that a school would consider you a good bet and worth interviewing).

    5. So you should most certainly get out of bed, get showered, and get back into school tomorrow. Unless, of course, you have already seen your Dr and have been advised not to. In which case Point 4 applies, I'm afraid.

    Not what you wanted to hear, I know, but I feel that you need to hear it straight . . .. You did say:

    And that is my advice.

    Best wishes


    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, where she answers jobseeking and careers queries regularly each week.
  4. blueskies31

    blueskies31 Occasional commenter

    Thanks both of you for your replies. I don't mind you being blunt at all as I really needed to know how I stand. I appreciate your advice.

    I haven't gone off sick because the job isn't for me, I have genuinely come down with an illness but I don't know if I can face going back. I can't go into detail here but I feel that the school weren't entirely fair as the job I applied for and accepted was not the one waiting for me when I started.

    Thanks again both of you.
  5. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I'm not going to disagree with the advice already given, but - in the light of your most recent post - I would advise you to contact your Union (not school rep - higher up) ASAP and explain the problem with them - it may be something that they already know about as regards your school, of course.

    As you are ill, I'd tell your Union that you would like to get them to stress this point in negotiations with your HT. Despite what we often read, most Heads I worked with would take a humane view about someone who was ill, and therefore asked for release from their contract (rather than someone who decides a job isn't for them - for whatever reasons - after a few days).

    If you are prepared to leave early foregoing some of the pay (or sick pay) that you might normally expect, that might encourage your HT to take a more positive view in his/her reference too...Take Union advice on any such suggestion, of course.

    Good luck.

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