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Applying for a sideways role without burning bridges

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lucky63, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. lucky63

    lucky63 New commenter

    I am looking for a bit of advice. I am a normal class teacher in a secondary school in Edinburgh. I have been teaching for around 5 years and this is my 4th year in the school. Overall, I like the school. Not everything is perfect but I have a very good head of department and I like my department. The school has good results. My issue is the travel. I travel 50 miles a day, and it can take up to an hour one way during peak time. A job has come up in a school 10 minutes down the road from me. Cutting down the travel would make life easier for me. The school the vacancy has come up in has a good reputation. I wouldn't leave my current school for any school near by but I think this one could be a good fit for me, and I have kept an eye on vacancies there.

    My issue is if I go for the job and don't get it I would burn my bridges with my current school. I have been given a chance to teach a Higher class this year for the first time and though the pupils are more lower ability I would kind of like to see it through. I was unsuccessful when I went for a recent promotion but head teacher said he was considering any other suitable roles for me as he didn't want me to go elsewhere.

    I am also not sure if they have an internal candidate but from school website I can see they have a maternity cover in. I am not sure if there is a way of having a discreet conversation with the head teacher of vacancy school or going for interview without letting my school know ( usually though they would ask for a head teachers report from current school).

    Has anyone experienced something similar or have any advice?
    caress likes this.
  2. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Presumably you’ve been doing this commute for more than three years? So why now, if you like the school and there are plans for you to advance in your career there.

    Are there ways round this, such as moving nearer to the school? I suppose that depends on personal circumstances, but is it worth considering before you apply for a job which you think might burn your boats.
  3. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    Leaving your current school having worked there for 4 years would not been seen as a big problem I would have thought. Reducing your travel time is a valid reason especially if you have a young family / caring responsibilities. One of my department moved on last summer, after five years with us, to a school much closer to home. We were sad to lose her but such moves will happen.

    Schools know that teachers move on and for a variety of reasons. The only issue could be if your management team have been petty towards other teachers seeking new jobs (it happens at some schools). If other leavers have had no problems then it is unlikely you will.
    caress and Pomza like this.
  4. princesslegend

    princesslegend Occasional commenter

    I often used commuting as a reason for switching jobs (i'd suss the school out first then decide if I was in it for the long haul). Nearly ALL senior staff were understanding. Commuting when you work a demanding job and going home to work more can be miserable so please do what is right for you. I used to have a similar issue so you have my full sympathy. I've only ever once relocated for a job and wouldn't do it again. Mainly because I need that work/life balance. I live where I want to live and work is secondary.

    Good luck with the job - let us know how you get on!
  5. tigerswin

    tigerswin New commenter

    I don’t see how you could go for interview without the current HT knowing - don’t they usually have to write the reference that goes with the application? Anyway, I think you have to do what is best for you. Would you rather cut your commute or get a promotion in your current school? Personally, I would prefer a shorter commute but that may not be your choice. Also, what is to stop you getting promoted in another school if you move? And there may not be any promotions coming up in your current school despite what your HT says.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I don't know how things work in Scotland, but if you have to interview during school time and you go without getting permission, isn't that a potential disciplinary matter? And that assumes that references are not sought before interview. I think that if the commute is causing you problems, you just have to go for it. I would hope your current school does not hold it against you. Indeed, they might think they need to find something to keep you.
    jlishman2158 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  7. thebookyouwish

    thebookyouwish New commenter

    Pirhana's comment chimes with what I was going to say.
    You have to do what is best for you and do it above board.

    These things can reveal how a school operates but I can't see why they would hold it against you if you tried and didn't get it.

    If they truly value you then it might make them put even more into getting you to stay.

    If they do hold it against you then you know how things really are and it will force your hand a bit more to make a change.

    Sometimes you just need to go for things and see what happens, you can't control everything and everyone's response but would hope most of your colleagues would be understanding. It is a job ultimately not a marriage.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Good grief! Why are you hesitating?

    "Look, boss. I love it here. Bit disappointed I didn't get that promotion but that's got nothing to do with the fact that the commute is driving me nuts. I badly don't want to move but an opportunity has come up much closer to home and I just have to go for it. In many ways I don't want it as I love it here but I'm very conflicted. Anyway I've decided to apply. Just wanted you to know. Can't go around pretending things are other than they are."
  9. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Entirely reasonable to consider a move (a) to cut the commute, and (b) to widen your experience. Most people will entirely respect that. Somebody else will pick up the Higher class - if it's taken until now for you to be given the opportunity then there are presumably other staff who can easily take it on.
  10. lucky63

    lucky63 New commenter

    I am hesitating because I am conflicted. It is a big decision to move schools and is effectively starting again when I am settled.

    I need to weigh up whether I will be ultimately happier with a shorter commute at an unknown school, or whether to stay where I am just now and deal with the commute.
  11. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    It is a big decision.

    It is clear from your post that your HT does with you would stay, and gets you may feel disappointed by not getting a promotion.

    A compromise is to discuss this with the HT. Don't try and go without telling them. You may find just the prospect of you going Is enough to prompt him into finding you something.

    If the commute really is getting you down, go for it. But you're right that the grass isn't always greener.its fine to hesitate. Life is never cut and dried.
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    A long commute to a school where you are happy is far less exhausting than a short commute to a school where you are stressed. I have done both and know which is easier.

    You should be able to go and visit the prospective school and speak to the head. This would give you some idea as to whether you'd like it there. Then decide about applying. You certainly wouldn't burn bridges with your current school. People apply and are unsuccessful all the time. It really isn't an issue.

    Best of luck whatever you decide...it's a tough one.
    Piranha, jlishman2158 and CWadd like this.

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