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School are "moving the goalposts"

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by burnsylad29, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. Hi - I've been working as a supply TA for the last 10 weeks at a special needs secondary. I made a good impression from the start and 2 days after starting they asked me to apply for a permanent post starting this September as a learning mentor.

    I applied and was offered the job - my pay as a supply TA was £8.95 ph (term time only) and at interview for the LM post they said to me it would be £8.35 ph but with 44.25 weeks pay rather than 39 to make up the difference.
    They then decided to start me in the LM role 7 weeks ago so I could hit the ground running in September, which I was obviously happy to do (still at the higher hourly rate for now).
    After weeks of me nagging the administrator I finally got my acceptance letter from the school confirming my contract for September and when I looked at it I was shocked to see that the contract says £8.35 ph TERM TIME ONLY.
    To rub salt in the wounds I then got an email from the Head the next day praising me for my "Fabulous work" this term and a card from the assistant head saying "You certainly go the extra mile, over and above".

    I'm degree qualified in schools, youth and community work (got a 2:1) and also have 5 years experience of running mentoring programmes in schools - with three years of that as a co-ordinator role.

    I've really enjoyed the job I'm doing so far, but I'm not sure a 60p per hour decrease with no holiday still is worth my while- and to top it off I also found out last week that the other LM's are on a pound an hour more!!

    I don't want to make this purely about money but they do say a worker's worth his pay! Just wondering how I should approach the school about this - as it's summer I don't want to be disturbing their breaks but at the same time I couldn't cope with the uncertainty hanging over my head until September.

    Sorry for the long post but it's made this first 2 days of summer quite stressful!!

  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter


    a) Join a Union (if you aren't in one!)

    b) Contact the administrator saying something like 'Thank you for your letter of...., but there is an error in my job details as I was told by ..... at my interview on ..... that my salary would be £... for ....weeks per year to make up the shortfall I would suffer in moving from my current post to the new post. Obviously this must be an oversight, but I would be grateful of you could confirm my salary as being £.... for ..... weeks as previously agreed'. And either post it or (better) hand it in to the school office by hand ASAP

    If this doesn't get a retraction you may need to contact the HT directly, but I would want to be in a Union first.
  3. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    My guess is you are unduly worrying. It is probably a typing error or a generic letter. I would contact the administration team like FF says. You have a good relationship with the HT, I would probably want to contact them also. BY EMAIL as well so you have a chain of correspondence. I wouldn't worry about instructing unions etc. for now.
  4. Thanks for your replies.

    I've emailed HR and copied the HT and AHT in (both of them interviewed me) asking for clarification.

    I'm hoping it's just a terminology issue. Doesn't take away from the shock of getting the letter though, not the best start to the holidays!

    Thanks once again! I'll let you know how I get on
  5. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Erm...if your contract said 44.25 weeks then you would need to get your ass back into school surely and do some of those 5.25 weeks!

    I would not personally raise it until and when I receive my first wage slip/money in my account IF it is wrong!

    As for the other LMs being on £1 an hour more - in most jobs you start at the bottom of the scale and work up. I know you say you have a degree but these days so does the cleaner!

    You should (have) highlight(ed) your experience when they offered you the post, maybe a meeting with the Head may bump you up the scale given your experience!

    Sorry to be a little harsh but that's the way it is. If you want to be paid significantly more, look for other jobs!
  6. 44.25hrs from September
  7. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Whatever was represented to you in the offer and what you accepted is integral to the contract.

    Hmmm... you are a 'learning mentor' and others doing the same job are being paid more? From your username, are you male...and are the others female...? Teaching assistants / learning mentors often are.If so, I think I might be making 'equal pay' noises for 'like work'. Although Equal Pay generally benifits women who are paid less than men, there's no reason why it doesn't work the other way round...
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I thought that a long-term term-time-only contract had to include some holiday pay, as you are entitled to the appropriate proportion of paid holiday. I think you just need to clarify the number of weeks you will be paid for, but it might well be more than the 39. 44.25 surprises me slightly, though, as I think the statutory entitlement is to four weeks paid holiday for a complete year, so presumably three weeks paid holiday on top of 39 weeks. However if they tell you 42, point out that you accepted on the basis of 44.25, and take it from there, with union help if needed.
  9. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    I would assume a term-time only contract would include a proportion of holiday pay so suspect you are worrying about nothing. As well as a proportion of annual leave, term-time only staff should also get some pay for Bank Holidays. In my LA a term-time only TA or Learning Mentor would be paid for 46.4 weeks so yours actually seems quite low to me. contracts will still be on a term-time only basis though.

    Hope this turns out to be the case for you!

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