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How honest can you be in a resignation letter?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by FaunoGuapo, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. FaunoGuapo

    FaunoGuapo New commenter

    Dear Theo,

    A Happy New Year to you!

    I am about to let my school know that I am not renewing my contract beyond this academic year. The main reasons are personal (as a family we want to relocate, and I am also changing careers, so I will not even be applying for other teaching jobs or even need a reference); however what makes the decision even easier is that the new management are taking the school completely in the wrong direction, on an astronomical level - and I mean, I see this from the detached point of view of someone who has known since July that they will be leaving, and I still think it's baffling and sad, how they are destroying good teaching and learning.
    I feel that I should mention my opinion in my letter - I am truthful most of the time - because someone has to tell them; most other staff who are not completely spineless just whisper about it behind their backs. The chances of a wake up call working on them are slim, but still , is it wrong to want to say something? And if it's not wrong, should I say it in my non-renewal letter? The head is in his first year and socially awkward and I believe it's possible he might be absolutely blind to how wrong his decisions are... He doesn't seem to actually hear the enormities he says most of the time.
    Everything here is done in such a casual (unprofessional?) way that I don't even know if I need to write a letter, but we have to 'let them know' of our decision this week.

    Shall I:
    1) just tell them I'm leaving orally and not waste my time, and just say I'm moving and changing careers
    2) write a letter in which I mention how I think they're running the school into the grounds
    3) write a very short letter just to say I am not renewing
    4) either 1 or 3 and then write a separate letter with my views in June, just before I leave, so they know it's my opinion regardless of whether I work here or not? And then it can also be addressed to the governors?

    Seriously, it's sad - if things happen as they want them to, the students are going to learn very little from under-qualified, inexperienced, exploited teachers in no time... Obviously my friends might say "why do you even care, you're leaving and whatever generations of young people and staff suffer in future years is nothing to do with you..."... but I still feel it is almost my moral duty to say something!

    Thank you for whatever advice you might have.
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Write a letter saying you're relocating. That's it.

    You will need a reference from this Head, though - you cannot apply for a job and not put down your last employer as a referee. Doing so will raise questions of why you haven't. You could of course, once you've secured a job elsewhere and got that reference through, write a letter to the CoG expressing your concerns.

    However, you will need evidence to support your concerns. Otherwise it could be dismissed as unprofessional gossip.
  3. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Hi Fauno,
    I would take it easy, you are hoping to work there for more than another 6 months. If they are "running the school into the ground" that is their choice and they are unlikely to change direction because someone who's leaving disagrees with them.
    My advice would be to wait a while, and talk to one of the staff governors nearer the time. Schools have a punitively imposed regime imposed through OFSTED. Fulfilling that will be the only thing that matters for your head - if they don't like what he does he'll be rapidly unemployed. If he's doing what OFSTED want then he'll be a star.
    Michael Wilshaw occasionally likes to pretend he's concerned about teacher well being. He never follwos up what he says though.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Hullo there Fauno. Sad to hear we are losing yet another person from the profession.

    My first comment is:

    Do not burn your bridges.


    The school? Are you sure?

    Leaving dates and resignation dates

    Check your contract if in an independent school, academy or free school. But I very much doubt if you have you have to give notice NOW for 1st September. That's 9 months away!

    So don't burn your bridges there by resigning too early. You never know what might happen, something really awful could happen that means that you need to stay.

    Again I say: don't burn your bridges by writing a letter with lists of things that have been wrong, in your view. You never know when you may need to go back into teaching, or actually miss it, and decide that another go in a different place, a different school, could be right for you. Or indeed a new employer wants a reference from the school, even though it's not a teaching job. Has been known!

    Just write a professional letter, at the right time. None of this informal oral stuff - it needs to be professional and therefore in a letter, not even just an e-mail.

    How to resign - get that resignation letter right!

    Best wishes

  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I agree with the views above and - your opinion is that the head's decisions are "wrong". That doesn't mean you're right.
    DYNAMO67, CWadd and wanet like this.
  6. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Yes, just resign.
  7. FaunoGuapo

    FaunoGuapo New commenter

    My husband did tell me that TheoGriff would go: "Don't burn your bridges"!

    I do not need a reference at all though.

    I should have probably mentioned that I am in an international school very far, far away from OFSTED or any UK-style concerns.

    If fleecing parents with enormous school fees so their kids can be taught A Level Chemistry by teachers who don't have even a GCSE in Chemistry is "right", then maybe I am "wrong"; or if cutting staff pay by 20% so the Head can spend the money on shiny LED Lights to replace perfectly good working lights in the gym is perfectly "right", then maybe I am "wrong"; if giving jobs that haven't been advertised to people who haven't been interviewed is "right", then maybe I am "wrong"... I could go on; trust me, I'm not wrong, that's not the debate here.

    Thanks for all your comments. I think I will write a standard short letter. If I'm honest, when this comes up in conversation I cannot lie, so everybody is likely to already know what I think...
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Glad to hear that my fame stretches over to places far, far away. It's not you and your OH sending the Korean Spam to keep us busy, is it, by the way?

    No, thought not.


    Hope all goes well.

    Best wishes

  9. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Jobs don't have to be advertised.

    Parents don't have to send their children to the school.
    CWadd likes this.
  10. FaunoGuapo

    FaunoGuapo New commenter

    And I don't have to work there!

    Once the question has been answered, I don't think it necessary to pursue a fruitless debate here. Thank you.
  11. FaunoGuapo

    FaunoGuapo New commenter

    Thanks for all your advice over the years, TheoGriff! I doubt I'll be the sort to go back on TES when I don't need to, and I won't need to again I don't think, so thanks a lot and have fun imparting wisdom! :)
  12. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Once the question has been answered, I don't think it necessary to pursue a fruitless debate here. Thank you.


    You're the one who responded to everyone else with a post detailing what you perhaps should have mentioned in your opening post.

    But, to echo @Middlemarch - no one has to pay to send their children to a school if they're not happy. Resign and I hope you have a better life away from the place.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  13. indiemuppet

    indiemuppet New commenter

    Hi there Fauno,

    I've been in this exact situation before myself, and I opted for 1) and 3).

    Unfortunately, the number of schools being run into the ground by terrible management have reached epidemic proportions, and a carefully-written 2) unfortunately won't do anything to change that. Management will just ignore your valid points, and as more staff leave they'll just employ NQTs who won't know any better. Sucks, but that's the general trend right now - certainly in the primary sector.

    Good luck with the move, and certainly don't feel guilty about what's being left behind - it's up to management to manage the problems they create!

    Got 3 minutes? Help out with my MA Learning Tech research & spread the word here!
  14. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    @indiemuppet - please do not include this link in your posts - it is getting perilously near to spamming the forums . . .


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