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Time off during NQT year?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by abigail_harvey, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. Hi,

    I am looking for some advice please, I am due to start my teacher training year next month with a view to being employed for my nqt year straight away. However, my best friend has just set her wedding date abroad for the end of September next year and it falls mid week and term time during next years school calendar; which will realistically mean having 3 days off school during term time. As it is pre booked will his be honoured when I come to apply for jobs? Or could this negatively impact my chances of getting a nqt job?

    Any advice from anyone who has been in a similar situation?

  2. Mermaid7

    Mermaid7 Occasional commenter

    As a teacher it’s difficult to get any time off at all in term time. We will usually be granted reasonable leave for things like consultant appointments, or to attend funerals of close relatives.
    Friend’s wedding for 3 days abroad - you could ask to take it unpaid, but I don’t think it looks good.
    Gsr25, Laphroig, ilovesooty and 7 others like this.
  3. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Lead commenter

    Agree with Mermaid7 - it varies from school to school, but time off in term time is not easy. There are often ways to negotiate when you have been employed for some time (taking it unpaid, making up the time by going on residentials, etc) but I wouldn't be too hopeful as an NQT in your first month at a school. If you really need to go, you'll have to impress them so much at interview that they'll be desperate to have you on their team! Good luck!
    jlishman2158 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Agree with post #2. Had it been your sister/brother (say), then maybe worth asking. For a friend...wouldn't even bother, TBH. (If you mention it at interview, I've worked with HTs who would immediately rule you out...)
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I think the above posts give you some idea of your chances.

    You see teaching is different to many other professions. During term-time there is an obligation to be with your classes teaching, as that is what you are employed to do. Yes obviously with sickness or an emergency, there would be some understanding, but generally any time off during term is best avoided at all costs. And early sickness or emergencies might still give an unfavourable impression during one's initial term of employment.

    The 'trade-off' is that teachers have much longer holidays (even if some of those are spent working) and any 'holidays/ time off has to be during those holidays.

    Considering that anyone considering teaching has been in school themselves and knows all about term-time and holidays, it's strange to see that this type of question seems to crop up every year. o_O
  6. 8sycamore

    8sycamore Occasional commenter

    Also worth thinking about: if you were to be granted the three days of, it may breed some resentment amongst your new colleagues.
  7. celago22

    celago22 Occasional commenter

    I can't see this being authorised by your school. It depends on the HT though and potentially they could shift your PPA and NQT time around for the days you are due to be away so that you are basically away for them. However, if they accept it, it will create a precedent for everyone else. My old HT deliberately moved staff meetings at the last minute so that they clashed with staff members' children's performances meaning that they missed out on their own children's plays. Hopefully your HT will be understanding but it's very likely that they will not authorise it, particularly as it is a friend's wedding and not a close relative's.

    For NQT year, if you are absent for more than 30 days you have to make up the time before you can pass induction. Bear this in mind. Personally I would try to be at school as many days as possible.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Will you really need all three days off? Unless it is a very long haul flight away, you should be able to manage with one or two...albeit very long days and careful booking of flights. Can you ask your friend to move the wedding to half term? If she has only just booked it, she may be able to move it. It's a tricky one because 'friends' aren't see as important, unlike relatives. Even for things like funerals it is harder to get time off. For people with very close friends and few or no relatives, it makes life tricky and frustrating.

    Many head teachers will give you the time, but you'd need to be the most committed teacher ever for the rest of term to make up for it in terms of your reputation...which unfortunately will be being formed in the very time you need off.

    Prepare your friend for the idea that you may not be able to attend and won't know until you have secured a post for September and are able to ask. Almost certainly it will be unpaid, so is she such a good friend that you'd lose three days pay to go? Is she also expecting a hen weekend away where you have to pay your own way? This could end up costing you a small fortune, before you even think about a present.

    Let her know that you might not be able to attend, then get on a do your training and find a job. Then ask the head and see what happens. Hopefully they'll say yes and you'll have a fab time. If they say no, you'll need to miss the wedding. Definitely don't reject a job offer in order to go to a wedding...not even your own!
  9. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    Friends and family get to know that they can't count on teachers' availability during term time.

    Explain to your friend, she will understand, and then promise to visit her at a later date when you'll actually get some quality time together instead of the very little time she'll have to spend with you on the big day, given all the people she has to meet and greet.
  10. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Firstly - good luck on your teacher training - the profession needs young and enthusiastic recruits.

    But if you do secure a job for next September I'm afraid that you are very unlikely to be granted three days off to attend a friend's wedding.
    Gsr25, Laphroig, ilovesooty and 3 others like this.
  11. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    You can ask. But be prepared to be told no.
  12. Robfreeman

    Robfreeman Occasional commenter

    More chance of building a snowman in Lucifer's bedroom then getting term time off for a wedding.
  13. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The trip will only be pre-booked if you go ahead and book it in the full knowledge that it will clash with work commitments. Don't book anything! If you do not secure a post for Sept 2020 and end up in supply, you can book the trip and tell the agency that you are unavailable for 3 days.
    there must be other people not attending because of the time/cost implications.
  14. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    When your friend chose to arrange a wedding abroad set to take place during the week and in term time they would have done so knowing that many guests might not be able to attend due to, work and family commitments and financial issues. I am sure that in the light of this your friend will understand.
    When you become a teacher you will have to accept these differences with non teachers. I had a colleague who used to go on holiday with a large group of their school friends each year. This was always during term time to take advantage of cheaper rates, when they became a teacher the holidays continued but they were no longer able to participate.
    By the way if anyone points out the benefits of having longer holidays to you you can reply by pointing out that you are working 60+ hours a week and when this is divided across the year it comes out as more than 45 hours a week on average. In effect you have no life for 39 weeks of the year.
    This is probably why your friend, like most people has not chosen to become a teacher.
  15. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    Good advice above.

    I think that HTs would fear setting a precedent. They have to be equitable to all and schools would not run if all staff were given three days term time holiday. I’ve honoured holidays, if mentioned at interview, for new support staff but they had not worked school hour roles previously and would have been under different terms, likely not knowing anything would change. If I was to give discretionary unpaid leave for a wedding, I would not authorise three days. It would be one day only for the day of the wedding. You’d also be in the position of having not built up any record of commitment to the school, which may come into play if policies refer to discretion.

    If you booked now, you’re doing so knowing that you’re hoping to be employed as a teacher then. If you were in a contract it would be breach of contract.

    Schools also do not authorise this for children.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  16. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    If you have already booked this BEFORE you are interviewed for a job, but you make it clear at interview that you will not be available for those 3 days, if you are appointed the time off will usually be granted.
  17. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    It is down to the HT discretion whether or not they approve the time off- if you mention it at interview they should be more accommodating than after you have been offered the role. You could mention that you are willing to take this as unpaid leave (that’s if you can afford to sacrifice 3 days pay).
  18. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    The timing is particularly awkward in this case, because you can't ask whether you can have the time off unpaid until you've been offered a job - if you're unlucky and don't secure a job until late May, you'll then be late for accepting the invite and securing flights anyway.

    "Pre-booked" is an interesting one - you're already aware that it will be termtime. It's easier for a head to be sympathetic to an admin person whose previous work was not in schools, or someone who was genuinely not expecting to be working that September (I seem to remember a supply teacher who was headhunted for a post after they'd booked a September holiday on the grounds that there's little supply work then). Of course, in your case, it's the friend's choice of date - perhaps she hadn't realised about your career choice when setting the date.

    I take it that it's too late for "it's a pity about the date, because I'm very unlikely to be able to make it" to be any use...?

    (I once had an absence note saying that a child would be absent for a "pre-arranged family trip". I enquired, and the trip was to Alton Towers. I did wonder "pre-what?", as the parents could reasonably have predicted 12 years earlier that they would have a child in secondary school who would be expected to be at school in mid-March.)

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