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Salary dilemma - advice much appreciated

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Candlelight13, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. I recently verbally accepted a fixed term teaching position after a period of working outside the UK and a short absence from work (less than a year, during which I have been studying towards a further qualification in education). This will be my 8th year of teaching. My experience in certain subject areas was listed as a desired quality for the role.

    The role was advertised as MPS, no reference was made to salary on any of the details sent from the school or in the application pack and it was not mentioned at interview. When I was offered the post I neglected to raise the issue of pay: I am aware that there is no longer any requirement for schools to honour pay portability and that salary is now up for negotiation, therefore I was fully expecting a conversation to take place regarding this matter in due course.

    I started work at the beginning of the month and have just received my letter of appointment and contract, listing me as MPS1. When I queried this as a potential error, stating my prior experience, I was informed that the role was originally advertised as MPS1 due to budgetary constraints. This is not the case, as mentioned above (I have a copy of the advert proving this).

    So: I am soon to meet with the head to discuss the issue and my contract is, as yet, unsigned. I have requested to see a copy of the school's Pay Policy in advance and am hoping to be able to look over the county guidelines also. Can anyone offer any advice regarding negotiation in this matter? I am aware that I am starting on the back foot here as I verbally accepted without negotiating. However is their position not weakened also by the false claim that they advertised at MPS1, effectively changing the terms of the contract after I accepted?

    Any advice would be gratefully received.
  2. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    I've seen posts advertised one day on the LA web site then it is reposted the next day with some changes, often the salary range. Could they have done this.

    i suppose you just have to see if you can negotiate a change in salary. The contract is legally binding even if it is unsigned as you made a verbal agreement. What is the pay level on your contract?

    Many positions are being advertised in my LA at M1-3 but they still want outstanding and experience. Good luck.
  3. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    You negotiate BEFORE accepting.
  4. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    If you verbally accepted a contract, then you should fulfill it...But if you feel that the school has deceived you, then you need Union support to negotiate a better salary (or perhaps your exist if the school won't budge).
  5. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I don't see where you could suggest the school have deceived you? They advertised MPS and are paying you..... MPS? Yes, this is at the lowest point, a little cheeky, but you won't have any mileage in saying you have been deceived. I am not saying they are paying you fairly, but there you go,...

    What to do... You have got the pay policy, good. That is a start. You could meet to negotiate with the head now.... You will be relying on good will to have anything done now.... They may well do though. Alternatively you could suggest that you will have to think about moving on when another job comes up. Schools will want to keep good teachers. They will quickly pay up if they rate you and are worried about keeping you. This is a medium term fix though.

    A cautionary tale for the unaware this is...
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Best wishes


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

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Unfortunately, schools are now under no obligation to 'port' pay. Meaning you have to negotiate salary beforehand. While some people would be happy doing this, others would not (I would personally find it uncomfortable.)

    So the school is breaking no rules by paying you MPS1 I am afraid.

    And with a Tory government in for the next 5 years, it won't be long before schools can pay what they want with the only floor being minimum wage (hang on, can academies already do this?!)

    Your best option really is to accept the situation and get out at Christmas, better renumerated! And don't think you will do better on supply. You really will not unless you are astronomically lucky!
  8. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I think it's a ridiculous state of affairs that it's somehow taboo to negotiate salary at interview, as though teachers should be happy to work for pennies in exchange for the 'joy' of answering their Calling...bonkers.

    It's what were taught in Careers/PHSE lessons at school: don't ask about salary. So you're expected to verbally accepting a contract (thus binding) without knowing its terms.

    Technically speaking, IF the job had been mis-advertised, or IF the level of pay was not properly disclosed, the verbal contract probably can't be binding, since there is surely a need for both parties to be properly aware of the terms of that contract before it becomes binding.

    I've said it tons of times, but I think the entire process of interviewing/appointing teachers is appalling. People shouldn't have to accept on the spot there and then, before having time to reflect on their experience during the day. On interview days, I'm so "switched on" and trying to perform and impress that I seldom actually take in anything about the school in enough depth for me to consider if its right for me.
  9. eburor

    eburor New commenter

    This has come up a lot and Ive always had an issue with it. General advice seems to be you have accepted the contract and are bound. But my limited knowledge of contract law is that for a contract to come in to being all parties must be aware of the core terms - one of which is price. I cant say "would you like to buy this can of coke?" "Yes" "that will be £730 please," and expect to hold you to that contractually.

    I realise the above is of limited practical advice though. When is the best time to discuss salary? I always feel that discussing it during interview (when they may have other candidates to interview after you) is somewhat presumptious. But other threads indicate that the 'phone call' is not the time to discuss salary either...
  10. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Disagree, that is when you must discuss it. As well as the school interviewing you you are interviewing the school. It is not a one way process.

    Are yoy still a firm candidate - Yes but it will depend upon the salary.

    I want to offer you the job - thanks but what salary are you offering me.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    It is not just teachers, or just jobs in schools, Eva. It's every job. You should know what the salary is when you are offered. Without a salary offered, it's not actually an offer . . . The consideration i.e. what you are going to get from it, is an essential for it to be an offer.

    I think that on the evidence of these forums, we can say that many teachers know little about employment issues, so what you are taught about these issues in school may not always be correct!



    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, where she answers jobseeking and careers queries regularly each week.
  12. Thanks for your post Wotton. The pay level on my contract is M1 (which arrived in the post over two weeks after I started teaching). It was advertised as MPS - which to my mind implies that there is the possibility of being paid between M1-6. They are now stating that due to budgetary constraints it was always advertised at M1 only.
  13. Thanks for your response DYNAMO67.

    I didn't use the word deceived, however I do feel that advertising MPS (which implies the capacity to pay between M1-6) and then stating that, due to budgetary constraints, you are unable to pay more than M1 is a different matter entirely.

    I have requested the pay policy, but it hasn't been provided yet. Their reply was to arrange a meeting to DISCUSS the pay policy. I have requested again to see it before the meeting tomorrow but I have a feeling that this may not happen. I am also waiting on the county's pay guidance at the moment.

    I agree with you that schools want to keep good teachers and am hoping that, as you say, they did employ me because they value what I offer and will consider my likelihood of staying on.
  14. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Theo, it doesn't help when LA teacher recruitment websites actually advise teachers not to mention salaries at the interview stage - like it's a dirty word. Here's the advice from one:

    "DON’T EVER ask about salary, benefits, holidays or other fringe benefits – these come later – but it is legitimate to ask about professional development opportunities in the school"

  15. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Personally I would expect the salary (or at least the scale/TLR etc) to be made clear in the advert/job description/associated paperwork. If it wasn't I would certainly ask about it at the interview, otherwise how can you say you are still interested in the post?

    Then, if offered the post, I would expect the salary/scale details etc. to be spelled out 100% or I would have to say 'I'm happy to accept your offer of this post, providing we can reach agreement on the salary you are offering'. I never had to say that as HTs always did spell it out. Surely a crucial part of their job in recruitment matters?
  16. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    But, you see, FolkFan schools are being very guarded about what salary they are going to offer. Most advertisments just say MPS/UPS which would lead an unsuspecting applicant to assume they would be offered a salary commensurate with their teaching experience. So many teachers are being lulled into a false sense of security at the interview stage.


    Also read Theo's advise.
  17. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Thank you snowyhead.

    There's a lot of conflicting information out there. And I realise that it's not just about teaching, but that's the topic on conversation here. I think that, in the early years of the new pay arrangements, teachers need to become more savvy about negotiating their salary.

    That said, it does make us vulnerable if another person is perhaps desperate for a job so that they'll agree to do the same job for less money.

    I know that my brother, in his profession, seems to be in a much stronger position regarding negotiation and the entire application and interview process. He can, for example, wait several weeks to hear back from an interview whilst they interview various candidates. In the mean time, he can interview elsewhere and is also afforded time following an offer to consider the offer and negotiate pay.

    I don't know of another job where it's expected that you will be offered and accept the job on the same day. Why is there also a fear of saying, "Thank for the offering, may I have the weekend to consider it?"
  18. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Is it? I don't know why.
    Very bad advice, IMO. Before teaching I applied for several jobs, and salary was always mentioned, On two occasions, I was not happy with the offer and tried to negotiate - successfully in one case and not in the other.

    I am, however, shocked that schools still don't include salary in job offers - they are as much to blame as recruits who don't ask.
  19. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    I agree. Having worked outside of education for over 25 years it came as quite a shock to find out that I would be expected to accept an offer over the telephone and might have to wait up to six weeks to find out what my actual terms and conditions of employment were. Fortunately, in my first post as an NQT I was pleasantly surprised to find that I would be paid on M2, when the paperwork finally arrived. As this forum is testament, many posters are now finding themselves in very difficult situations when they give a verbal agreement over the telephone and then find out the post is not as advertised. I know someone who gave a verbal agreement and when the paperwork arrived they found out that the post was a one-year contract.

    I am hopeful that one of the positives to come out of the current recruitment crisis is that schools will plan ahead a little more carefully (we have extremely long notice periods for goodness sake) by wording advertisements accurately, initiating a discussion on pay and conditions during the interview process and allowing candidates 24 hours in which to consider a verbal offer. This would avoid many of the situations I have read on this forum whereby candidates are forced to renege on a verbal agreement when they find out the pay and conditions attached to the post would cause them a financial/personal disadvantage.
  20. Malaguena

    Malaguena New commenter

    Sorry to repeat what others have said but how on earth could you have accepted, let alone STARTED a job where you don't know what you are going to get paid? Madness. I would try to negotiate a higher salary and if you don't get, tell them that you will not be joining them on the 1st of September.. Because if you work at MPS 1 even for a year, it will be VERY difficult to negotiate a higher salary for any job you get after this one.

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