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Dear Stephen ... and others! Applying for a career break / sabbatical

Discussion in 'Governors' started by just_keep_swimming, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I am in my 7th year of teaching - 5 years at my current school. I am very happy there and see myself teaching there for a long time to come...however I am very eager to travel. I am more than willing to combine this with some voluntary work in schools/with children, especially if I can use what I have learnt from these experiences to benefit the school when I return (i.e. sharing good practice from schools in other countries or developing language skills as there is no MFL co-ordinator at present at my school). The timing seems perfect as my school is currently restructuring and will therefore definitely need to recruit one teacher a year for the next 3 years, however I would MUCH prefer to be granted a 'career break' or sabbatical to prevent the stress of having to reapply when I return. I don't yet have a firm plan of exactly where or when I would go, or how long I would go for as I feel I don't want to get too far down the line with planning the trip of a lifetime only for it to be kyboshed by the governors/head.
    My head is very approachable and I am keen to discuss this with her at an early stage but I would appreciate some advice from the many wise folk on here before I speak to her!
    1) Are governors likely to grant a career break? Are they more likely to grant for one, two or three terms? I think my ideal would be to leave at the end of the summer hols and return at Easter but I am not sure if the Govs would go for this. What would governors see as 'benefits' that I could bring back with me? How far in advance do I need to apply to governors for a career break? I am considering leaving in Aug/Sept 2012.
    2) How easy is it to arrange work experience/voluntary work in schools abroad? Started looking with STA Travel but I would have to pay several hundred pounds for a week working in a school through them and I am sure there must be a cheaper way to set up work placements (esp if they are voluntary!). I have a few friends scattered around the globe at the mo and it would be great if I could stay with them and work in a local school. Does anyone have any useful links/websites that could help with this?
    3) I am assuming that as this would be unpaid leave, my payments to the Teacher Pension Scheme and the Student Loan Company would be suspended until I return - does anyone know if this is the case?
    I am also keen to hear from anyone who has done something similar - any stories? Hints and tips?? Are visas needed to undertake voluntary work in Oz/NZ?
    I know its a long post with LOTS of questions but if anyone can take the time to answer even one of them I would be very grateful! Have posted this in several forums as I am keen to hear a range of viewpoints.

  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

  3. Unpaid - certainly wouldn't expect them to pay for me if I wasn't teaching at the school!
    Thanks for the link - all makes good sense I guess. I just need to make sure I clearly outline the potential future benefits to the schoo! Like I say, I am hoping that I have a good chance as we will need to be recruiting anyway over the next few years. The one thing I am not sure on is how much time to ask for. I have teaching friends in several scattered locations and I'd like to gain as much from my experience in one hit - I may not be able to do that in one term. However a year would feel a very long time to be away (and not earning!), in which case two terms is the ideal. Is this likely to be the least appealing to governors though? As a poster on your link mentioned, the level of disruption may well be an important factor in the governor's decision.
    I will look into whether there is anything mentioned in our policies.


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