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I want to leave my school but my HT is making it very difficult

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Nsadler1234, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. Nsadler1234

    Nsadler1234 New commenter

    Hi there,

    I'm an instructor at a high school and sixth form, but I am really struggling with a couple of things here; 1. being head of four departments and 2. the financial element. I drive 2 hours and 10 minutes every day for school and it's costing me a lot in terms of fuel and wear and tear on my car. The job is extremely demanding as I'm head of four departments so there is a lot of work to do that I feel I just don't have time to do. I also work as a cleaner as I am struggling to make ends meet (being on an instructor salary). I spoke to my HT in September and told him this and he assured me that I would be moving up the payscale this year and that he'd give me more money for my "responsibilities" (I'm not entitled to a TLR as I'm an instructor) commencing November 19th. This increase would have made a significant difference to me financially as I would be able to afford to move house (renting). So I applied to the letting agency for a house, but I needed to be on a certain amount of money per annum to be able to apply. The letting agency confirmed with my HT that I'd be getting this pay increase (which in total would have been an £8500 per year pay rise), I got the house, but the day before I was moving house he told me that I would no longer be getting the pay rise because one out of my four departments didn't have value added this year. I couldn't believe it! I now am living in a house that I struggle to pay the rent for and I've had to take up cleaning on the side so I can afford it. I spoke to my HT and told him this but he didn't seem to care and still refused to give me the pay rise, so I threatened to resign, didn't make a difference, so at the end of November I resigned. He wasn't best pleased as I teach social sciences, health and social care, and child development and the school is right out in the countryside by the coast, so I know they'll struggle to find someone. I told him that I' be leaving February half term, but he is saying that I have to stay until April 30th! I really don't know if I can last that long. I leave my house at 6:30am to get to school for just after 8 and I clean in the evenings after my little boy goes to bed (a friend looks after him at mine).

    I really don't know what to do, I've pleaded with the HT but he's not having any of it. Can anyone offer any advice? It's costing me so much to get to and from work (£280 just on fuel for work per month).
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Difficult situation, and you sound at the end of your rope. When you write head of 4 depts, I suspect you are the sole treacher. I don't blame you for wanting out. But, your head is correct - if you resign after October 31st and before February you leave at Easter, which is April 30th. Your HT sounds like a stickler for doing it by the book, and to give them more time to find someone.

    I would advise you to speak to your Union. They may step in to negotiate an exit at Feb half term on the grounds that staying longer is highly detrimental to your health and well being.
  3. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    This is awful. What a callous way to treat your staff.

    Union. He confirmed a pay rise to a letting agency and then didn't give you it. There has to be some consequences for that, especially if it was confirmed and not confirmed subject to conditions being met.

    You may be bound to work until April but your union should be able to negotiate an early exit for you. You being there if you don't want to be is in nobody's best interests. Incidentally, have you checked your contract? Teachers' resignation dates may not be the same as yours. I don't know if you count as support staff or teaching being an instructor, but I know support staff have to give a lot less notice than teachers.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Definitely contact your union regarding the entire matter including your promise of a pay rise etc. Tell them about the travelling and all you have written here.

    It is shocking to be treated in such a manner.

    I can't believe you are working as an instructor AND then cleaning at night on top of the travel and childcare.

    You need help with this. Also, phone the Education Partnership to see if there are other agencies that can help.

    CAB - anywhere that can help with what benefits you might be entitled to etc.

    First thing though is to phone your union.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I agree Union will always be your first port of call and ensure you have copies of any emails/ correspondence re the offer of pay rise as evidence, before they mysteriously 'vanish' from the system.
    Nsadler1234, agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  6. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Being paid instructor rate and being a HOD to 4 departments is utterly bonkers. You are best off out of there asap!
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    What type of school - LA? Academy? Private?

    Are you on STPCD conditions? There's no longer any such thing as the Instructor pay scale in STPCD. Only 'Unqualified Teacher'. So presumably you don't have QTS? However STPCD still says "Unqualified teachers may not be awarded TLRs".

    If not on STPCD there is no rule that says unqualified teachers cannot be HoDs with a TLR. Only what the school has in its pay policy.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
    JohnJCazorla, agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    You're being majorly exploited here. However unless your contract is different from most, you are technically stuck until April 30th (or the start of the summer term if you can secure a post somewhere else for then; there is an understanding that transfer between schools takes place early in this case).

    Step 1: Talk to your union about challenging the fact that they reneged on a promised pay rise. Hopefully your letting agency has evidence of this promise, even if you don't. The head has misled them as well as you - you could perhaps even construe this as fraudulent. Perhaps the union can put enough pressure on to get the pay rise reinstated. If you are not in a union, try CAB.

    Step 2: If you would be happy to stay for better pay, then make sure that they know this. Explain to the head that financially, unless they can offer you more, you need to look for posts elsewhere, and please will he supply references if required. It may be that once they realise you are serious about going, they may consider offering you more - it sounds as if they are getting an absolute bargain at the moment, so even if they can replace you they're going to have to pay more. If they do make an effort to keep you, ask about on-the-job training so that you can become qualified.

    Step 3: Get job-hunting.

    I would also check your school's pay progression policy. It may not help you, as you are a somewhat unusual case, not being on the teacher scales, but it seems most unfair to expect you to meet targets in all four subjects every year. Suppose the chances of success in each subject are 90%; with four subjects, that means only about 65% chance that you are successful in all four.
    Nsadler1234 and agathamorse like this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    Three options:
    Talk to the union. Get your HT to explain why you can’t leave now and reach some kind of agreement. Or
    Go off sick with stress. Make it clear to the school that you expect to be away until - oh, April - and let them know that it they want to employ someone else that would be a very good idea. Even if they don’t go for it you won’t be doing as much work. Or
    Just leave. You will be in breach of contract but what are they going to do about it? It would cost them loads to sue you. Not sure what the reference situation would be, but I think most employers would understand, given the circumstances.
    You are being horribly exploited here so I don’t see any reason to play nice.
    Nsadler1234, Curae, tigi and 2 others like this.
  10. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    I am unsure how you became head of 4 departments if you are not a teacher. This sounds very odd indeed. Why did you take this on? Did you not think to make sure you were paid sufficiently before becoming head of 4 departments? It does sound like you are being taken for a ride but maybe you have also been a bit gullible. The whole the whole thing sounds a bit odd to me.
    phlogiston likes this.
  11. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    Me as well. I’ve got little understanding of systems outside of England (assuming it is) and not sure what being an instructor is.

    But head of four departments sounds very strange.
  12. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Something is not right in this scenario.
    What person on instructor salary is promised and believes a pay increase of over 8k?
    That's more than any TLR.
    There's quite a lot wrong with this story.

    Also, I'm sure you mean four subjects, not four departments?
    The bit about the letting agency contacting your HT and establishing this increase can simply not be true. I absolutely do not believe that happened.
    And why would you now write that you are concerned about wear and tear on your car due to a long commute when in actual fact it is you who chose to move to the location where you are?

    Maybe harsh of me, in which case stand me corrected, but tbh your post reads a bit Friday to me.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    But you must have been there for well over a year as you were clearly responsible for standards in your school last year on the same wage.
    To be honest I'd not have much respect for a head who had made pay decisions and then, if someone threatened to resign, changed his mind.
    Which is possibly a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. You are already struggling financially, so resigning from the post giving you the main part of your income doesn't sound sensible.
    But you would have continued for that long if there had never been a discussion about payrises.
    Go and speak to your bank or CAB if you need financial help.
  14. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I agree with most of the above, but am also mystified why you chose to move to a house more than an hours drive from your workplace. (must be a nice house given your workplace).
    If your user name relates to your real name you may want to get this thread "pulled" as you are fairly easily identifiable. If your head reads this, your difficulties may not improve.
    A message to @TES_Rosaline will expedite this.
  15. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Although we share a degree of scepticism this point is non germane to the story, possibly you missed what they said about where they live.
  16. tigi

    tigi Occasional commenter

    I don't know,I can hear some of you doubtingg but I have also caught wind of heads hiring instructors (essentially inqualified teachers) and then treating them fairly poorly so it's not unbelievable.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    I realise this isn't at the heart of the issue but @sbkrobson writes: The bit about the letting agency contacting your HT and establishing this increase can simply not be true. I absolutely do not believe that happened.
    I've had to provide references to letting agents to confirm colleagues are on the salary they've stated. This is not unusual, at least not in London, and I imagine it could be a version of that type of query.
    monicabilongame, Curae and pepper5 like this.
  18. Nsadler1234

    Nsadler1234 New commenter

    I should have been clearer, last academic year I was on 0.8, this year I am working full time, so I was promised, obviously a full time wage, but also to be moved up to the next UQT pay scale and then a responsibility allowance on top of that - hence in total the £8000 pay rise.

    Yes I am head of four departments as I have other teachers that teach in my departments (that are not sepcialists).

    As the increase in pay was due in the November on the 19th they absolutely needed confirmation of this pay rise otherwise I wouldn't be able to rent it. This is common.

    In terms of my location, I already lived in the same village I was just moving to a slightly bigger house for my son and I. I took the job last academic year in September as I teach social sciences, Psychology is my specialist subject, in Norfolk there aren't many positions available in this area as usually there aren't many teachers teaching it.
  19. Nsadler1234

    Nsadler1234 New commenter

    I moved to a house in the same village I've lived in for the past 3 years, I just moved to a slightly bigger house. I took the job last academic year in September as Psychology isn't a subject where there is demand for them in Norfolk.
  20. Nsadler1234

    Nsadler1234 New commenter

    I moved to a house in the same village I've been in for the past 3 years. I have a little boy so we moved to a slightly bigger house. This is the second year I've been at the school. I teach Psychology and in Norfolk it is a rarity to find a job in that subject area.

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