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Contract manipulation

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by sciencemathsguy, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. sciencemathsguy

    sciencemathsguy New commenter

    Hi all. A permanent physics teacher job was advertised and I applied last year. I Got the job but in the interview they said it would be a fixed term contract of 1 year, with their reason saying it was just to see how I got on and it would be made permanent if I stayed past thw first year. I am only an RQT so thought nothing much about it, thinking it was a common thing to do, plus I really wanted the position so I accepted.

    Fast forward to october 2019 and a teacher on 6 months maternity cover was told her contract was changed into 1 year fixed term same as me. Now they just told me and her last week they only have 1 permanent position next year and are advertising the job. We both have to apply if we want it (in interest of fairness) and i have to basically reapply for my job which I was unofficially told in my interview would be mine
    Does this happen often? I mean im sitting here now thinking I had a job for my future and they basically have said I have to start applying for jobs again. Its really upset me and I dont feel valued and it feels like, why I am I even bothering any more with trying to better myself and get settled into the school. I feel weirdly betrayed and duped even though I know its not the case. Has this happened to you?
    colacao17 likes this.
  2. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    It’s typical to advertise permanent roles as opposed to extending fixed term. They’re clearly in a different position to where they were last year, now with two potential candidates. A selection process is the fairest way to go. They’ve been open with you both on this and early on for next September.

    They should have been clear on this when they made yours fixed term on your appointment. Was your role advertised as fixed term or permanent?

    You now know you need to apply for this job. Keep your options open and apply for others too. If queried on this, you can be honest and refer to feeling pretty secure due to what they told you on appointment and that the move to a selection process feels different to what you were told and therefore has wobbled your view on job security and feeling valued. Is the selection process happening now?
  3. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    The situation you are in regarding the moving of goal posts at interviews has been raised as an issue in other posts. Unfortunately training and advice on job hunting, interviews and contract negotiation, does not seem to form a core part of teacher training. It is time it did. Your lack of experience has been taken advantage of. OK so toughen up and learn from this. Yes apply for this job but also apply for others. You are in demand so use this to your advantage.
    If you do get offered this job, that's great, but remember when you negotiate your contract, they have lied to you once already, and are quite happy to S**T on you if it suits their purpose. They fooled you once ...
  4. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Does it happen often? Afraid so. In similar (but not identical) circumstances happened to me more than once.

    But if you are a Physics teacher I wouldn't worry - you'll get a permanent job pretty easily, I'd have thought.

    NB If you apply and don't get the post, I'd spend the rest of the year focusing on getting a new job and (silently) 'working to rule' - I, for example, suddenly found I couldn't attend a residential trip I had agreed to go on which included a weekend. Funny that. (No-one said anything and it was a fair time later so I didn't cause any problems, but I was damned if I'd help them out after they had broken a verbal promise to me!)
  5. physicsfanboy

    physicsfanboy Occasional commenter

    What Morninglover said. This sort of thing happens all the time. You must get everything nailed down in writing for it to be worth anything. Schools with cheerfully lie to you, move goalposts and generally act like total a$$hats.
    However, also as above, physics teachers are like hens teeth. Getting a job is a doddle. I would recommend that you use this fact to get paid more / promoted / conditions you like. Negotiate. Haggle. Argue. Be prepared to walk away from negotiations if they don't budge. Schools like to pretend there is a system for pay and conditions. There isn't. Pay is whatever you can negotiate. Conditions are what they think they can get away with. 'What we normally do' is irrelevant. The conditions are harder to negotiate, but make it clear you will not tolerate idiocy (politely of course). You are a rare and necessary asset, demand better.
  6. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I'm guessing that the maternity cover teacher's contract got lengthened because the person she was covering decided not to return. If that teacher had returned, you would have been the only one on a fixed term contract, and you'd definitely have been the loser. So in a way, you have a better chance than you might have had!
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    They didn't offer a guarantee or a promise. Schools assess budgets annually and staff on fixed-term contracts are vulnerable to their services no longer being required.

    You shouldn't feel disrespected. They have one post and (at least) two good candidates. Their duty to children requires them to select the best person for the job. Not on the basis of time served or unofficial remarks made at interview.

    Good luck in your career but you've learned something. A contract is a contract. They undertook to employ you for a year and they will honour that obligation. That is your entitlement. Nothing personal about it. Nothing underhand or odd. Best wishes wherever you end up.
    starlightexpress, Pomza and Stiltskin like this.
  8. geraldbeattie

    geraldbeattie New commenter

    Keep your eyes open and CV polished for other positions in other establishments. Unfortunately you sometimes have to "hold the candle to the devil" which basically means you aim to get a good reference out of them, but you should feel no particular loyalty to them if something better comes along. Even a one year fixed term contract will tell you what notice you need to give if you wish to escape before the year is out. If something better comes along that is permanent, rather than fixed term, do not be afraid to go for it without feeling guilty. If the school ask why you are applying for other posts, then tell them politely that these posts are for permanent positions and someday you might like a house with a mortgage. Best wishes.
  9. colacao17

    colacao17 Senior commenter

    You're Physics and Maths. Say thank you very much, you wish your colleage every success in the role and you will look for pastures new. With a fair reference of course.

    And don't feel guilty. If this school is in the position of having to choose between two capable Physics teachers then it has nothing at all to worry about.
    grumpydogwoman and agathamorse like this.
  10. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    This is not uncommon. It is a bit lousy IMO though, I bet the people interviewing would not accept a temporary contract! Often schools advertise permanent then only offer temporary if they get low numbers applying or worthy of shortlisting.
    If you end up not getting the permanent contract, you should work to rule and the school you are at ought to support your getting another post.
  11. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Don’t really see the issue here - they’ve employed someone under the terms agreed, and are now offering a further opportunity to apply for a permanent position - sounds above board to me. I can’t see any manipulation.

    Besides no school will want to lose a teacher who (they think) is good, and who knows what further vacancies might appear as the year progresses.
  12. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Not a great way to treat staff but nothing you can do about it but remain professional and carry on. Make sure in the future though everything is clarified in writing as their trustworthiness seems questionable.
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  13. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    Sorry to hear that, good luck with it. I've had a couple of 1 year contracts and also had to reapply for my job.

    The first school was very inconsiderate and organised the interviews on the same day as parents evening, later complaining that I wasn't prepared for the parents evening.

    The second school had the interviews in the middle of me moving house so I couldn't prepare the lesson I wanted, not their fault of course.

    The point is that you should never accept such a contract unless you are prepared to leave after a year as you have no control over when the interview will be.
  14. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    [QUOTE="SparkMaths, post: 13009998, member: 24587428"
    The first school was very inconsiderate and organised the interviews on the same day as parents evening, later complaining that I wasn't prepared for the parents evening.[/QUOTE]

    I saw that happen, too. To add insult to injury, it was a year 12 parents' evening, and the poor chap didn't get the job, leaving him with about an hour to get over it and be ready to talk to the parents of a group he would no longer be seeing through the A-level.
    agathamorse likes this.
  15. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    Even if you get the job. Never forget how shoddily you have been treated.
  16. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    You're physics and maths. Look on the "Rest of the World" section at the jobs available now. In much more interesting places, with less stress and hassle, and more money. Apply for some - you'll get one quickly if you're any good - tell your current school you want to see what's out there before deciding.
    renegade29 and agathamorse like this.
  17. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    No, it isn't good, and I agree that looking for another job would be a good idea. One explanation might be that the person doing the maternity cover impressed so much that they want to give her a chance at the permanent role. There doesn't seem to be anything you can do about it, as you have no real employment rights until you have been there for two years, so they could even do this if you had been employed on a permanent contract.

    As others have pointed out, your skills are very much in demand at the moment, so you can job hunt with confidence. It is up to you whether you apply for the job at your current school - if it were me, that would depend on how much I like working there.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. phatsals

    phatsals Senior commenter

    You don't say how long either of you have actually been employed, but both of you are currently on equal terms, fixed term contracts of one year. As the other person is covering a mat leave, the school already knew they would have a second (temp) vacancy.

    They will have one permanent vacancy, not two. In fairness, both of you should be invited to apply and both of you be given equal opportunity. You were misled at interview, deliberately or otherwise, but it is becoming increasingly commonplace to change perm to FTC. The time to argue this would be at the beginning, now it is too late. You are both in the same boat.

    As others have said, lesson learnt, you won't fall for this one again. If you like the school, apply, if you can't get past it, move on. A physics and maths teacher is rare as hens teeth, you won't struggle to find another job. For me, I'd go, one of you won't get the job, the other will have to continue working to contract end. If I were covering Mat leave I'd consider everything a bonus, great employer, ie 6 month increased to a year, chance of perm - all good. If I were you, bitter taste, applied for perm, told it was Fixed Term, told to apply again - all not good.
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. 50sman

    50sman Lead commenter

    If you can teach physics you can command your salary and choose your school!

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