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Breach of contract? Advice from headteachers much appreciated

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by lynn_smart12, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. lynn_smart12

    lynn_smart12 New commenter

    My son got a teaching contract at an independent school in late May. About ten days ago the head phoned to say the position was no longer available as the enrolment figures were down and they were giving the work to existing teachers. He was offered a month's salary. On the phone the head said this was because he is in his probationary period but the letter which followed stated it was ex gratia. (I think they changed it because the contract states probation is the first term of teaching. ) Apart from the probationary period, there is a 3 month notice period on either side.

    I've never heard of a job being withdrawn after a contract has been issued - but then all my teaching was in the state sector. It is too late to apply for other teaching posts and he has given up existing work. This is his first school teaching position so he is not yet a member of a union.

    Is there a case for asking for the three month notice period? If so, should we go to a solicitor or try ACAS mediation?
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    So he was offered a post with a term's probationary period, with presumably a month as notice period in that time?
    The school could have waited until September and the commencement of work to let him know he was no longer required and giving him a month's notice.
    They have given him notice now instead and are paying him a month's salary to compensate.
    Sounds reasonable to me.
    But see if you can chat to someone at CAB or similar to get the legal stance on it.

    Having said all that, a school who appoints without working out how many teachers they will need, or loses a huge number of pupils unexpectedly, isn't one I'd want to work for. Your son has probably had a lucky escape.

    There certainly are posts being advertised for September starts, so it's well worth your son getting on with some applications.
  3. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    It’s not too late to apply for other teaching posts- there will be schools out there desperate to fill vacancies especially as the summer term ends in two weeks. Get your son to subscribe to eteach and TES Jobs, there are positions on there. If he isn’t able to find a permanent role, he could always join an agency and become a supply teacher. Just a thought.
  4. lynn_smart12

    lynn_smart12 New commenter

    Thanks - I'm sure that's the best approach to take. He's already started looking.
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    And join a union.
    Membership is free for students and very cheap for NQTs, and all trainee teachers should have been advised to join. (I'm not sure how easy it is to join between training and starting NQT year, but give them a ring and ask.)
  6. lynn_smart12

    lynn_smart12 New commenter

    Thanks - this is definitely the next step to take. But I'm somewhat baffled that no one has seen this behaviour on the part of the school as odd. As an HoD, I would have found it very difficult to manage a department where a newly appointed member of staff felt free to give a month's notice in July. Fortunately, that never happened. And I feel certain that my college would never have offered a contract and then withdrawn it - or used probation in such a fashion. (Yes, I am old and the times have passed me by.)

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