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Offer letter of employment

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by florenceA08, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. florenceA08

    florenceA08 New commenter


    I would appreciate some advice/opinion please.

    I start a new teaching post in September and I have received my offer letter. The letter reads that I am subject to a six month probationary period and that within this period my contract can be subject termination with a month's notice subject to performance.

    Has anyone ever been subjected to or heard of this and is it common practice within local authorities?

    Also am not sure if I should question it as when I spoke to the HR department, they had never heard of this.

    I am not an NQT.

    Thank you
  2. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Was anything like this mentioned when you were interviewed?
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    florence, can you confirm

    (a) Your employment is in a LA maintained school (ie NOT an academy or free school), and

    (b) you are employed as a teacher (ie, you have QTS and your employment is subject to STPCD and National Conditions of Service)

    (c) are you in a union, and have you consulted them?
  4. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Probationary periods are quite common in non-teaching jobs (everyone I've had anyway) and not really anything to be concerned about. Its only so they can get rid of you if you turn out to be completely useless at the job or do something really stupid. I've never known anyone not pass a probationary period except for one person caught making up data without doing the work. Nothing to worry about and it just allows the employer a "safety net".

    HR not knowing anything about contracts doesn't surprise me, HR doesn't seem to know anything about anything, But they always look smart.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Besides, no job is permanent until you have been there for 2 years . . . I don't mean just in teaching, I mean any employment.

    A one-year probation period is not uncommon in teaching; 6 months is an improvement on that in some ways!

    Best wishes


    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, where she answers jobseeking and careers queries regularly each week.

  6. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    This would be a bit unusual in an LA school but probably common practice in academies.

    Usually you only get your contract terminated if you are genuinely poor at the job or you are really unlucky and the Head's son has just completed his Teach First and is looking for somewhere to work.

    (Not saying the latter would happen in the majority of school before I have shrieks of horror from TG or MM!)
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  8. florenceA08

    florenceA08 New commenter

    No. This was not mentioned in my interview.
  9. florenceA08

    florenceA08 New commenter

    Thank you Rott Weiler. In answer to your questions:

    a) LA maintained school.

    b) yes employed as a teacher and teaching for 5 years.

    c) have consulted union and they find it unusual and told me to speak to the school.

    I am feeling uncomfortable about this as I am unsure about the reason behind it.
  10. florenceA08

    florenceA08 New commenter

    Thank you!
  11. florenceA08

    florenceA08 New commenter

    Hmmnn, I think in these days of performance management and mostly being judged on your observations, you just have to be more aware.

    Thanks for your reply.
  12. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Without knowing more about the situation (which you should not give here, to protect your identity), it's impossible to be certain. However, if you have been working for the same LA before this job and you say this is still an LA job, check that this job is not actually deemed continuous employment. Often jobs within a LA are continuous, which is why I mention it. Check the terms of the contract (which you are unlikely to have had yet) and take advice from your union.

    If work within the same authority is continuous and you have more than two years continuous service, you are likely to have protection from unfair dismissal or redundancy.

    Bear in mind that, irrespective of the length of service, you would still have protection from automatic unfair dismissal and discrimination.
  13. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    It is common practice for new employees to be subject to a 6 month probationary period... This period will determine the employee's suitability for that particular role. It happens in pretty much all jobs although the standard PP is 13 weeks.... In a profession like teaching, It will be longer due to the demands of the job.

    You can query it, but you'll get an answer on the same lines as mine.
  14. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Pretty normal. I was a one year probationary for a one year fixed contract! (Yes, I passed!)
  15. larathegiraffe

    larathegiraffe New commenter

    Can you give the school one month's notice as well in the first six months if the school turns out to be sh1te? If it is a two-way process, I would agree to the contract, but regardless, no one is safe anymore, especially in the first two years of a new job.
  16. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    The OP doesn't say that this is a one year fixed contract though, does she?

    My comment to look out for potential continuous employment still stands.
  17. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    As has been pointed out, it is very standard outside teaching - I have had several such contracts, and Mrs P has a contract with one week's notice for the first 6 months. I don't think that it is anything to worry about; the employer puts it in there to make sure they can replace a mistaken appoinment quickly, and it gives the employee more options if they hate the job.

    That being said, I agree that it is worth checking on thecontinuous employment thing, but I wouldn't make a big thing of it unless it does look like things are going pear shaped. Which is unlikely.
  18. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Surely if the OP had to move to start their new job, and this required a new mortgage, they would find getting one difficult/impossible these days if their job was probationary?
  19. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Some of the 'employment contracts' you get these days don't inspire a lot of confidence in you employer, as some of the blatantly advertise the fact that they intend to rip you off. For example, trial periods for which you get paid only if you are kept on.
  20. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    If I came across one of those, I'd be taking issue with it. Workers are entitled to be remunerated for their work.

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