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NQT didn't sign a contract so not turning up to work?!! HELP

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by sabrynacy2017, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. sabrynacy2017

    sabrynacy2017 New commenter

    I applied for a permanent NQT position . Got a job offer and accepted it verbally. In March
    Since then got 3 contracts that are all wrong! one temporary, one temporary with no end date, one for an experienced teacher !
    Been emailing the school since asking for the right one, barely any reply, they pick and choose what to reply to!
    I emailed saying that due to circumstances I had to fly abroad and wont be back till 10th Sept asking to get permission and the right contract for the job I applied to. No reply!
    On 12th Sept received an email saying to call because they were expecting me!
    I don't want to go to a school that never replies to emails, sends incorrect contracts and I know that once I step in am bound by any contract they draw up!
    What should I do?
    What can they do?!
  2. banjouk

    banjouk Occasional commenter

    I'd start looking for a new job. You 'old' school will be pretty upset with your lack of attendance at the start of term. They may also have started the HR proocess to dismiss you. If they haven't started any formal process against you, then your relationship with the HT/SLT will still have been damaged, probably beyond repair.
    steely1, Pomza, agathamorse and 3 others like this.
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Did you ever think to pick up a phone and speak to someone there?

    You need to speak to them in order to resolve this one way or another. Your name will be mud in the local area though, so good luck getting a new job!
    steely1, Pomza, Mr-Chem and 8 others like this.
  4. bflat

    bflat New commenter

    I’ve never had an actual contract to sign in advance for any teaching job I’ve had. In all cases I’ve had an offer letter stating salary and terms, which I’ve had to sign and return and then it sets in motion the process of pre-employment checks etc. Every teaching post is subject to references and DBS, so you can’t sign a contract until all those are complete AFAIK. I can’t believe you just didn’t turn up though! You should have just let them know in advance that you wouldn’t be taking up the job.
    steely1, Mr-Chem, agathamorse and 8 others like this.
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Did they ever ask you to complete a DBS application?

    Well, whatever contract was in force you've breached it by flying abroad and not turning up without your employer's permission for leave of absence.

    So you got back to the UK on the 10th, over a week ago. Have you been in to work?

    You don't want to work there and I doubt they are mad keen on you either right now.

    I'd call them and have that conversation and get agreement that you'll both go your separate ways and treat it as if it never happened. That way you won't have to name them in your employment history and explain what happened.

    And start looking for another job.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  6. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    so you had a verbal agreement, but didn't actually turn up to start the job?

    You are very much in the wrong. You could be sued, I don't know what you were thinking - you are unlikely to get another reference from your last placement now
  7. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    unless there is some catastrophic health or family situation and I mean catastrophic, I think you might not find it quite so easy to just walk away.

    I've known teachers walk out without notice and not been sued, but this is current members of staff, people who have a relationship with the management, and a track record of making an effort, ( and most likely evidence in their pockets of wrong doing by the school.....) In these cases it is in everyone's interests for resignations to be accepted without notice.

    In your case though, I can't imagine the school has anything to gain by allowing itself to be treated like this,publicly too! and can see they are likely to want to take you to court for breach of contract.

    yes you do have a contract, it was verbal. It is quite typical for the paper copy to appear some weeks or months later, and non response to emails, and admin going wrong in August and Septemeber, are both very common.

    It might be that because you never turned up, you could argue you hadn't accepted the contract.

    I suggest you take legal advice though.
    steely1, nomad and grumpydogwoman like this.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I'd suggest the NQT has the conversation with the school first @dunnocks and only incur the costs of getting legal advice if it's clear school isn't going to play ball with that. And consult union first rather than a solicitor.

    Who knows what the school will feel when OP says in effect "I've made a horrible mistake with all this, can we just forget it"? My guess though is that most heads have far too much to do to want to spend time pursuing theoretical rights against an NQT who no showed. Especially when their own paperwork is not in a good shape. No doubt they can replace OP quite quickly and they won't want to waste any more time on it. Pursuing things like this sucks in management time, they're unlikely to do it if there'd be no little or nothing for the school to gain.

    Hopefully @sabrynacy2017 will come back and let us know what happened next.
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    This is very true and I think this is the case in point, that were the OP to turn up for work they would be considered to have accepted whatever eventually is written into that contract. this is I think (?) the sticking point, that they're not happy with the contract provided so far.

    However Op you are now in the wrong and why haven't you done something about this before now? You've been here a week and by now the School is almost certain to believe that you're not going to turn up, so they certainly won't be looking at 'tweaking' any contract. You will have built up enormous problems for yourself, re reputation, references etc.
    Even if it was temporary in the first instance that doesn't mean that it couldn't be converted at a later stage. However you're way past that now. Seriously you need to be looking at finding some employment and possibly out of teaching, but hopefully you will have learnt something from this.
  10. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I would suggest the only contact with the school t this stage is through a legl representative, ideally from the OPs union, I hope they have one
    grumpydogwoman and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  11. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    I don’t understand why, after so many threads about a verbal contract in teaching being binding and the fact that, often, written contracts aren’t issued until later in the term, we are still explaining it.

    I get that this is different, in that contracts have been issued, but that they are incorrect. That is poor organisation on the part of the school.

    However, the school was expecting you in at the start of term and you were abroad. And you didn’t contact them when you returned to explain your absence. Did you contact them on 12th September when they enquired about you? You also say they barely replied to emails, so there must have been replies of some sort at some time.

    @Lara mfl 05 and @Rott Weiler are right. You have built up big problems and hopefully they will agree that you should both cut your losses and go your separate ways.

    And bear in mind for the future, that the verbal acceptance of a post is binding. Which is why you should be clear about the terms and conditions before you accept.
  12. Mr_Ed

    Mr_Ed Established commenter

    Snowflake Alert!
    evehi, Pomza, Mr-Chem and 7 others like this.
  13. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    You say the school pick and choose what to reply to.

    Schools are extremely busy places - mistakes can happen. It would have been better if you'd rung and arranged to go in before the Summer break to discuss it.

    're flying abroad, as others have said, breach of contract.

    Best thing is if you call, ask to meet the HT and discuss it. Have you been into work at all?

    I'll also add that permanent NQT posts are a bit of an oxymoron - most NQTs are seen as temporary until they pass the year.

    There has been miscommunication on both sides - you need to sort this.
  14. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Have you double- and triple-checked your junk mail? It sounds like they got your e-mail about having to go away, if they didn't chase up your non-appearance until the 12th, and I'm surprised there was no reply to it. I'm just wondering if e-mails have not always been getting to you. Junkmail filters are strange things and just because one message from a sender gets through doesn't mean that they all do.

    (I'm assuming that the reason for you having to go away was extremely serious, eg close family member critically ill or similar, as there is no other acceptable reason to be away in termtime. Normally you would ask rather than just tell the school, but obviously it's not always possible to get hold of anyone in the middle of the summer holidays.)
  15. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    The best way forward is probably to apologise (misunderstanding...) and grovel a bit. The school might let you start work now, assuming that you have not been replaced. I very much doubt if they will sue you; an NQT is unlikely to have enough resources to make that worthwhile. However, there is a good chance that you will struggle to find a job locally in the near future as the Head may well tell other Heads. If they do sue, then you will need legal representation, but otherwise I doubt if this will help you. I doubt if a union could do much at this stage; it might even make things worse. I know I would be more impressed by somebody contacting me in person rather than getting their union to defend the indefensible.

    By the way, schools rarely allow people to take time off during the term unless something really important is involved. You haven't said why you went abroad; if there were a very good reason, that might help. But it would have to be good!
  16. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    It could only be your child or your spouse I think, no automatic compssionate leave for a sibling/parent or similar, unless you are the one individual who has responsibility to organise a funeral. , although some schools look on such requests sympathetically and will help out if they can. I've known people refused time off for siblings or parents deaths
    Lara mfl 05 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  17. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I agree BUT ... I think there's a difference between a verbal agreement and no written contact and a verbal agreement then a written contract which isn't that agreed.

    I don't know what exactly was the difference in the terms nor what was in the emails the OP sent to the school to query this, but if it was something along the lines of 'I can't sign this, it's not what we agreed' then I might have some sympathy.
    ridleyrumpus and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  18. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    All contracts are verbal. Some are written, some are oral, but they are all verbal. /pedantoff/
  19. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    thats fine, but you still go to work while sorting out the details.

    My closest friend in my current school, a maths teacher, only saw one contract in his first few months, in which he was apparently employed to teach hair and beauty. He did eventually get the right piece of paper, but it was some months down the line, I think. During which time he started term and undrtook his timetable, as noral.

    I don't think its at all unusual for some of the details on contracts to be wrong, or for the recipient to be unhappy with the exact terms, they just get resolved as and when.

    The issue with the maths teacher is only of note because we still tease him about it a bit.
    Bumptious and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  20. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    You cannot be dismissed if no contract exists.

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