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Probation & Notice period

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by cool09, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. cool09

    cool09 New commenter

    Hi, I started working as HOD at one of the academy chains from January 2018. My contract says 4 months probation which can be extended to another 3 months. Notice period is one month and after successful completion of probation, it is 2 months. I had one formal meeting to go through targets etc, but no other meetings or signing papers to say that I have completed probation other than my line manager telling me "you are doing really well". I am desperate to leave because of bad behaviour and unprofessional management. I applied for 2 jobs as assistant head in their sister schools. The headteachers spoke in both cases and the first one didn't call for interview after taking reference. Second one, I went for interview and was told that they were impressed. After talking to my headteacher, the head at the other school rang me and said they took another candidate (from my school). Apparently my head didn't agree to release me as per my line manager. I had meeting with the head and was offered other responsibility, but I don't want to stay. My question is if I find a job in the summer, can I give one month notice and leave as I am still on probation?

    I am also thinking of teaching overseas due to personal reasons. If I leave, will that be a problem? I do care about the students, but it won't be an issue as there are other subject specialists and students are so used to having new teachers due to high turn over. Please don't be harsh with your comments. I am just asking for advice. Thank you.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It all depends on the exact wording in your contract, and whether your head decides that you have successfully completed your probation. In other circumstances, you would probably take the silence and absence of paperwork to mean you had passed your probation, so I would think that you need to give 2 months notice.
    Maybe you need to leave this particular chain.
    Good luck.
  3. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    At the end of the 4 months you would have received notification if your probation period was being extended.

    Can you post the exact wording of the termination clause? It's odd for it just to be 2 months for teachers as that could result in needing to recruit people to start at odd times mid-term - usually it's a notice to be served at the end of a term, perhaps not less than 2 months in advance. You're probably there until Xmas now unless either your conscience or your contract allow otherwise.
  4. cool09

    cool09 New commenter

    Thanks phlogiston and drvs for your advice. Just had a look at the contract again. The exact wordings are "The first four months of the employment will be the probationary period. The probationary period can be extended to EIGHT months if this is deemed necessary. During the probationary period, the employment may be terminated by you or the school by giving one month's written notice". I haven't received any email or letter that says I passed my probation or my probation is extended. Where do I stand? I have record of two emails that I sent to line manager and assistant head overseeing my department asking about my probation, but no reply. I was told that they were busy with other jobs and will do it later. This was raised with the headteacher in a meeting and he asked his PA to contact HR manager to sort it out. Again haven't heard from anyone even after 2 months. I hope I am still on probation as per law and can leave by giving one month notice.

    After confirmation, I can only leave in December & April by giving 2 months notice and 31st August by giving 3 months notice.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    It doesn't seem that you are still on probation and so no you can't just give one month's notice and leave.
    Probation periods are entirely normal in independent schools, and becoming more so in academies and free schools. Generally speaking, if you don't hear otherwise, you are deemed to have passed.

    And it also appears you can next leave in December, which would be normal, and need to give 2 months or more notice, so by the end of October, which is the usual way of things.

    Start looking and applying, but you almost certainly aren't available to start until January.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    And many overseas countries would welcome you for a January start.
  7. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    You're clutching at straws I'm afraid. The contract clearly states that only the first four months are probationary, thereafter you are automatically on normal terms. There is no contractual or legal need for you to be formally notified of that transition (though it would be a professional courtesy). You would only need to be formally notified if there were concerns over your performance requiring an extension to the probation.
  8. cool09

    cool09 New commenter

    Thanks everyone for your input. I spoke to a few colleagues and moving to another school within the chain seems impossible. I have started looking for a January start both in the UK and overseas. Have a wonderful summer holiday!
    drvs and agathamorse like this.
  9. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    Good luck. Do, please, let us know how it goes.

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