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Signed the contract, do I have to go?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by figgins, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. I recently accepted a job offer in spite of reservations about the school. I have now visited and my worst fears appear to be accurate. I have signed and sent back the contract, so would it be impossible for me to withdraw now? I'm not certain that I would do so, but would like to know where I stand.

    Thanks, F.
  2. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    As you are probably aware, a signed contract is a legal agreement. It is VERY unlikely that you can withdraw, especially as it is so near to the end of term and very difficult to get a replacement. You could asked to be released at Christmas - though does depend on the good will of HT, they can refuse I believe - and I don't think they would give you a great reference! I would grin and bear it and thank your lucky stars that at least you have a job (read the Jobseekers forum!)
  3. I thought this, and I know I'm lucky to have work, I'm just a little bit in shock at the moment. I think I will grit my teeth and hope things are not as bad as they look.
  4. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    You don't have to answer if you don't want to - or feel free to PM me - is the kids? the teachers? both? xx
  5. I've sent a pm.
  6. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    what on earth possessed you to sign a contract to work in a school that you had not even visited?
  7. veritytrue

    veritytrue New commenter

    Why would leaving by Christmas depend on the goodwill of the HT?
  8. langteacher, that's my poor communication. I visited the school during the interview process and all seemed fine, now that I have made the visit to collect my timetable, teaching resources etc I have seen under the surface and things are somewhat different.
  9. Yes, it is a binding agreement and you have start work there. If not, you are in breach of the contract and the school could sue you for the cost of suplly until Christmas and all the HR costs associated with your employment and with replacing you. Also the ht will make word go round to other schools, so if you ever want to work as a teacher in the area I would not advise going back on what you have signed.
  10. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    I have known teachers who have asked to leave before a year has been up and the HT has refused... so they have had to stay...
  11. internationalschools

    internationalschools New commenter

    You do have to start there in September, as contracts are legally binding. It works both ways - we wouldn't like it if schools told us they didn't want us afterall at such short notice, when we don't have time to find another job.
    However, you have the legal right to leave at Christmas, as long as you hand your notice in by October half term. This is true in all schools. So my advice is to stick it out till then, and then make your decision. Don't worry - in no job can they force you to stay for a year!!!
  12. Thanks, to be honest the post came as much out of shock as anything else. After sleeping on it I look at is an advantage that I have the summer 'off' rather than preparing (won't be able to do that until return) and will then attack all the issues head on when I start. I would try to keep on for the year, but if it's as bad as I fear and gets no better I can always resign.
  13. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    They were either lied to or worked in an independent school with different terms and conditions.
    If you give notice by 31st October, you are free to leave at Christmas. Contracts can be different in some independent schools, but not in the state sector.
  14. I would try to make the best of it. Take 4 weeks' holiday and then start thinking about making preparations. What you do will depend on what concerns you have about the new job, but I've found that the more I put in to something, the more I've got out. Then, as others have said, give it 6/7 weeks and make your decision at October.
  15. Facetious

    Facetious New commenter

    I'm in a similar situation myself, so you really do have my sympathy, figgins. Why is it that it is acceptable for a school to 'hide' significantly bad bits when you're interviewed? I too discovered just how unwelcoming my new place is, when I went in to collect a timetable. I believe I have been misled on a number of issues and now feel trapped. While the advice about leaving at Christmas is spot on, I would also add that my current HT (on asking his advice) told me he would look questioningly at an application from somebody who had bailed out after one term. He recommended I stay the year and even two if I could manage it, in case it ruins my future career. I felt quite ill when he told me this as I was hoping to jump ship very quickly and do some supply, even if it just pays the bills - now I'm thinking I'll have to stick the year out.
  16. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    The reverse is also true and candidates try to mask their own failings or over inflate their positives. Things will rarely be as you perceive them to be on interview day (on either side of the table).
  17. Facetious

    Facetious New commenter

    I see your point. Unfortunately I am very niaive, so I assume people to be as honest as I am. I'm not sure I'm cut out for the politics of teaching, which is perhaps why I should have stayed in the school where I currently teach. That'll teach me to be ambitious :(
  18. I hope you did not rely on the interview to gather information about a school? I mean before the interview you obviously read all Ofsted reports available, trawled the press, websites, etc. You looked at the league tablesd, which gave you a lot of information about the percentage of kids on FSM, etc. Then most schools offer the possibility to visit the school before applying - did you go? Other than this, what info did the school hide from you? You knew if it was state or indie, so you knew the T&C. You knew you were supposed to teach. If you are in Scotland your only subject will be the one you have a degree in. If you are in England or Wales, you can be asked to teach any subject - but you knew this before applying. So I really struggle with imagining what info the school managed to hide from you?
  19. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    *pats spool on head*

    How sweetly trusting you are. Obviously you've never done all those things only to discover that the reality of working somewhere is different.

    To the op- I feel for you. I hope it's better than you think when you get there.
  20. aw27

    aw27 New commenter

    Apologies in advance, this is not going to be the cheeriest response but I think its an important factor to consider in your situation:
    It may 'ruin your future career' to jump ship but beware also of the effect it can have on your health to stay. I thought I should stay the requisite two years for the good of my career, after realising the school wasnt for less than half a term after starting (and, yes, I'd thoroughly researched, visited, read every report etc, but discovered to my shock that I was up against widespread SMT bullying from the start, and those things are RARELY evident until you are inside the place.)
    However, just over a year in I ended up having a nervous breakdown (nothing like this had ever happened to me in 18 years of teaching) and I never returned. I am now looking for a job, and its not easy. I cant face going back into teaching at all and no one else wants me as I havent got any other work experience!
    It would have been much easier if I'd just left after that first year, even to simply do supply, and whilst its not the best situation, I have had friends who've been honest about 'not getting on with their heads etc' and have still gone on to secure jobs after leaving. If I'd left I'm guessing I wouldnt have had the breakdown and spent six months on medication to learn to cope again!
    If I were you, I'd go with your gut feeling - if you want to leave, than do it, its not an easy job market, but its better than ending up physically or mentally ill, which will affect your employability more than anything else!
    And keep a very close eye on your stress levels while you are there!!
    I very much hope it works out for you, and I'm sorry this is not a great ray-of-sunshine post!

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