1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Can teacher get time off in term time?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by annie_190, May 20, 2020.

  1. annie_190

    annie_190 New commenter

    Hi All,

    Looking for a bit of advice.

    A very close friend of mine was due to get married in America this August. I was due to travel over go to the wedding and then visit family. With the current coronavirus situation, it has been postponed to mid-July 2021, the whole trip was going to be about 12 days, including two weekends.
    What are the chances of a school being able to accommodate getting time off for this?
    I don't currently have a job, I'm an overseas teacher who is looking to get a job in the UK for this September, so I'm not sure how everything works over there. I just know that in my country depending on the school, teachers have been able to apply for unpaid leave in some circumstances.
  2. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    You can ask. I think you should expect to be disappointed if you ask for such a long absence. Most schools will have their own policies about this in the staff handbook.
  3. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    Depending on where in the UK you end up working, and in what type of school, in some areas "mid July" may be almost the end of term. So that would perhaps increase the likelihood of it being granted.
  4. physicsfanboy

    physicsfanboy Occasional commenter

    If mention at interview you won't be available during this period, it's possible / likely / probable they won't employ you (depending on how amazing you are / how in demand).
    If you don't mention at interview, then ask after acceptance, the answer will be no.
    Supply work might be your friend this year. You could then take whatever time off you like (just don't tell the agency anything until the week before you go, they don't need to know).
    Morninglover and agathamorse like this.
  5. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Not necessarily - although it would be better to ask when offered the job (and stress that you would expect the absence to be unpaid) so before acceptance.
  6. Owleyes00

    Owleyes00 New commenter

    It really depends on the school. I have worked at schools where you couldn’t have time off for anything and at schools where, if anything, they let people have too much time off. You really just have to ask. Term this year ends 22nd July so it might be that you are able to have at least some of the time off in the summer holidays. There is always phoning in sick!
  7. madcatlady

    madcatlady Occasional commenter

    Please do NOT phone in sick and then go to a friend's wedding. Apart from the mental anguish the lying would cause I imagine this would be grounds for dismissal - I'm sure someone else with better knowledge of the law on this forum would be able to advise.
  8. madcatlady

    madcatlady Occasional commenter

    In answer to your question I would ask at interview. Then the school can decide on their position. I don't think you would put a school off offering you the post by asking.
  9. TrueFaith

    TrueFaith Occasional commenter

    No imagination needed here - it would be gross misconduct if you called in sick and went on holiday.

    The only way to do this is with transparency and honesty. You need to both dazzle them at interview, and bring up the fact that you would like some time off in July 2021, as well as being prepared that they say no.

    I would also suggest that you temper your enthusiasm for being in the States for almost two weeks, and think about the minimum amount of time off you would need, along with being clear that you don't expect to be paid...
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Gross misconduct.

    Could lead to summary dismissal. That means immediate with no pay in lieu of notice.

    I think, however, that this was a throwaway joke suggestion, not meant to be taken seriously, so we needn't have too much of a go at our friend @Owleyes00 !

    By the way, I would ask about the wedding at Easter. Not before.

    Asking at interview, when offered job, immediately after being offered, all this suggests that the wedding is more important than the job, which surely it isn't?

    But by Easter, you will have consolidated your position as a valuable colleague (make sure that you do, go the extra mile!), and above all, you can make the request with a solution at hand.

    Because whenever you present SLT or even HoD with a problem or request, give'em the solution at the same time.

    In Secondary that might include lining up (in the strictest confidence until you've spoken to SLT) a colleague or two who, thanks to non-teaching periods (I nearly wrote "free periods", but shouldn't say that), plus perhaps gained time from GCSE A-level classes, could cover quite a bit for you. You'd have to repay in advance, of course, and repay generously.

    The other solution is to confirm that you would provide full lesson plans, with all materials, including any printouts needed, so it would be a doddle to deal with your absence.

    If by Easter you have shown yourself to be a highly-regarded member of the team, they are more likely to let you go. I wouldn't mention unpaid in the first instance, keep that up your sleeve for the second round of negotiations!

    Next point is getting you a job. If you read THIS it has not only general application advice, highly rated, but a specific chapter on applying when you are abroad.

    And THIS best-seller gives the advice on really showcasing yourself in an interview, and includes tips on the Zoom, Skype, Meet etc. interviews that have now become the norm in these times. Which gives you a HUGE boost in getting a job in the UK, since being currently abroad is no longer a disadvantage!

    Keep safe, everyone, and @Owleyes00 is forgiven!
  11. annie_190

    annie_190 New commenter

    Thank you for all your advice, I appreciate it.

    Doing supply was mentioned, I have heard about this line of work but I would be wondering how secure and regular it would be me?
    I would be concerned about taking this option and then getting work for a few weeks/months and getting left with nothing.
  12. annie_190

    annie_190 New commenter

    for the reference of calling in sick, I would never do. I feel bad calling sick when I actually am sick as I feel like I'm letting people down.

    Obviously I do want to get a job, but the wedding is also very important to me and I really wouldn't like to miss. It is just unfortunate that the coronavirus has affected it
  13. ajc89

    ajc89 New commenter

    If it’s prebooked before you get a job, then they can’t say you can’t go as it was booked before you got a job
  14. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Sorry, incorrect.

    Keep safe, everyone
    ilovesooty and DYNAMO67 like this.
  15. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Indeed it would. Faking illness then flying off abroad to someone's wedding is a textbook example of Gross Misconduct and if discovered and taken to a formal disciplinary hearing would very likely result in dismissal.
    strawbs likes this.
  16. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    I have experience of practically the same scenario ... here’s what I did

    I was on supply & had been for a year as a family we decided to take our daughter to Florida. She is life limited & it is a one time thing. We took grandparents because we never intended to return. Certainly not with her.

    We took the decision to take the second week of Easter plus the first week of the summer term as it basically halved the cost.

    Needless to say a HOD job came up, I interviewed & explained everything I have outlined above. I added the caveat that I understood if that discounted me from their thinking but I wasn’t in a position to change our plans & ultimately wasn’t expecting something so perfect to come up with an Easter start date.

    I got the job & they coped without me for a week.

    ultimately if you don’t ask you don’t get but be prepared for the answer to be no. You then have a decision as to what you do, make sure you know what that is. For me it meant being prepared to walk away.

    obviously getting a job & phoning in sick is as others have pointed out wrong
  17. annie_190

    annie_190 New commenter

    Yes, flights and hotel etc are booked for this year. Hotels dates automatically changed as the booking is in the hotel where the reception is. Flights fully paid and no option of a refund just allowed to change dates to next year so would around £1000 on flights if I ended up not going. If I were to get a job in the UK I would just have to hope that the Head Teacher or the board or who would be making the decision would be understanding given that the coronavirus situation is the reason its next year rather than this year.

    This is something I would never do, I'm not the type of person who would consider faking an illness. Don't like calling in sick when I am.
  18. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Where did you get that idea from? It is not true. You have no such right.
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    You don’t say if you are primary or secondary, but in primary July is all about transition and spending time with your new class. It’s a very important time in terms of building relationships with new children and parents, and possibly new colleagues, and enjoying the last few weeks with your current class. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ask (although I personally wouldn’t) but it’s something to think about.
  20. diddydave

    diddydave Established commenter

    The answer is yes.
    However, whilst the school can say "Yes" they can also say "No". You have to ask.

    My wife for about 10 years needed several weeks off during each summer term and each time she asked the Head and it was agreed that she could. I would say that her case was exceptional though - not everyone represents their country. There was one year that she was in Australia and the tour finished the day before our term ended...she asked if she could take the last day off as well and that was refused, she had to fly home and go into school for the last half day.
    agathamorse likes this.

Share This Page