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Turn down job offer already accepted

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by janem42, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. janem42

    janem42 New commenter

    this is on behalf of a friend who is NQT plus 1. I am an experienced teacher who mentored her through NQT year.we both teach in an independent school-I have been out of state system for years, hence the query
    Friend has accepted job in a free school which only has children up to year 10. Communication from the school has been bad so she only accepted yesterday-it was a letter with a whole list of conditions ( subject to satisfactory references etc). Not a contract.job start sept.
    Now another school she really likes but didn't have an opening when she got in touch before has contacted her and said they have a vacancy for sept and is she interested.
    So question is, can she pull out of first school at this stage? Without damaging career prospects/ being blacklisted?she is in a terms notice and has handed notice in.we both teach maths.she is an excellent teacher.
  2. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    When you accept a job offer it is legally binding, whether you have signed a contract or not. They would need to speak to the HT about this and they could potentially sue them for breach of contract.
    Question is though, they want to withdraw the job acceptance even though they haven’t got the job at that other school yet and I’m assuming they have already handed in their resignation which could put them at a massive risk.
    1) Resignation tendered at current job
    2) Cancellation of job acception at new job
    3) Unsuccessful at securing job at desired school

    This could get them into a very very messy situation.
    steely1 and CWadd like this.
  3. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    A letter with a list of conditions including satisfactory references? Standard to any job. No contract? Standard - I accepted a job with an January start a few years ago and didn't get a contract until the last week of the Spring term.

    Yes, she can pull out - if she's prepared to deal with a potentially very p***** off HT. And one who might talk to other HTs about how unreliable she is. Not to mention her current HT, who is unlikely to be impressed that after offering references for a job its been withdrawn.

    My advice to her is to take this post, stay for a year only if necessary, then move on. It doesn't matter if a school is Indie, State, or Free - professional courtesy is must, and HTs aren't so desperate for teachers they'll forget what they perceive as a slight.
    steely1 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  4. pennyh.

    pennyh. Occasional commenter

    A Free school only up to year 10? How secure is its future or is it going to grow and therefore have opportunities for her? Is it a lone free school or linked-i.e. can a blacklist really have any effect? She is a Maths teacher -therefore has a strong employment hand. Had the school not even taken up references before offering the job? She could apply and see if she gets the job and then take it from there if she thinks she will be miserable in the Free School.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think a senior school maths teacher must be mad to leave an independent school, presumably up to year 13, to move to a free school, only up to year 10. A little late for your advice to her now, but it ought to have been 'don't be so silly!'

    Is this other post a definite? A 'it's yours if you want it, just say yes'? If so, then pee'd off head of free school or not, she could take it and have a great time. She won't be blacklisted for ever...people will gradually forget.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    New schools often start just with year 7, and add others in future years, so perhaps next year the current Year 10 will become Year 11.

    Could be a problem when the current Head gets asked for a reference and realises that the teacher concerned is thinking of breaking their contract. We are not talking about a black list, just a reputation passed from school to school. And the second school may not be prepared to offer a contract if they find out the circumstances - I would not offer a job to somebody willing to break their word like this.
    wanet and caterpillartobutterfly like this.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think heads who are desperate for a decent maths teacher, might well make offers that can't be refused, regardless of the employment circumstances.
    Excellent maths teachers aren't two a penny at the moment.
  8. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Where would the kids go for their GCSE year ?
  9. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Next year there will be a year 11 - new school.
  10. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    It's a wizard wheeze though isn't it - get rid of all your kids before they sit any exams.

    That way you don't register on the exam league tables.
  11. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Why did she hand in her resignation before the new school had even requested a reference and before establishing if she meets the list of requirements? Surely the resignation could have waited until nearer the end of May, or do independent schools require longer notice periods?
  12. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Usually a full term's notice....
  13. janem42

    janem42 New commenter

    Thanks all.yes she's on a full terms notice so needed to hand in resignation by end of march and yes it's a growing free school so will have year 11 next year.
    My original advice to her was go to school you have accepted and if it doesn't work out move again in a year. Just wanted to see what others would say/ think.thank you all -I'll continue with my original advice
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If she really hates it, she can probably leave at Christmas.
    Being an excellent maths teacher, she'll have no trouble finding something else.
  15. AnotherDayTowardsRetirement

    AnotherDayTowardsRetirement Occasional commenter

    If your friend’s gut feeling us to turn down the 1st offer and accept another then I would advise he to do so. Simply brazen it it and ignore the guiding principles of contract law by making your own decisions and not worrying about the impacts of them. It’s your life so make decisions that put your needs first.

    I have been in this position myself. Hated the school I found myself in so started applying for other jobs (a few of them).

    Ended up with three interviews within four days. Asked my HT and HOD for a reference (to which they duly agreed) and put in my cover request for three days (on the basis that I’m going to three interviews and off for three days and will return to school once I’m successful and accept a new post.

    Got offered the job at the first interview but had nagging doubts and bad vibes from the day, but was desperate to leave my existing school so accepted the job (as a safety net, I guess). HOD called me that evening to ask how I’d got on and I told her I was unsuccessful and would attend the next days interview.

    Got offered the job at the 2nd interview and was delighted to accept. HOD rang that evening and again I told her I was unsuccessful and would attend the 3rd interview ! I simply took the day off and had a day trip to the beach with friends ! When the HOD rang that same evening I told her I’d been successful in getting the job at xxxx school and asked for clarification on the resignation process. The school was none the wiser.

    Once the contract was confirmed I gave my notice in and wound down my workload (he’s leaving anyway, don’t worry about him). I then rang the 1st school offer to say I regretted the call but a change of matters in my personal life made it impossible to accept their job offer afterall and I would not be joining them in Sept.

    Schools rarely communicate on who turned them down, who changed their minds, and believe me there is no such thing as a blacklist.

    I also played the system when applying for my NQT job. This was in the days of schools paying NQT travel expenses (and accommodation) to attend an interview. Myself and all my trainee teacher buddies were fortunate to secure NQT jobs early in our final year (which took the pressure off applying for jobs whilst we completed our final year. Do not judge us but we would scour the TES Job pages and decide over a pint where we fancied having a cheap midweek break - we’d then all apply for jobs in or near that particular city. Mostly we were invited for interview (expenses paid of course) but we’d travel up in one car (but claim seperate petrol expenses), all attend morning interviews, fake an interest in the job before politely withdrawing and reconvening in a previously agreed pub to spend the surplus petrol expenses ! Sometimes an overnight hotel (paid for) added to the fun ! I recall experiencing Liverpool, Leeds, Dundee and London (twice) on Interview expenses, all after securing an NQT job. Just tell the uni tutors we were unsuccessful and keep applying !!

    It’s your life - make decisions that benefit you and be strong to tell people what you want them to hear !!
    BelleDuJour and Ljay279 like this.
  16. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I wouldn't follow the advice of the above poster; integrity does actually matter.
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    It's lucky the school was none the wiser, or you could easily have found yourself with no job at all and no likelihood of ever getting one again.

    I wouldn't do this, just because it's wrong.
    Would I like a day trip to a beach in the middle of term? Of course.
    Would I lie to my employer to get one? No!
    Would I leave my class without their usual teacher for more days than necessary? No!
  18. AnotherDayTowardsRetirement

    AnotherDayTowardsRetirement Occasional commenter

    Don’t understand how there is a myriad of posts on this TES forum from colleagues citing a lack of control over their work/life, then criticise me for doing exactly that, taking control over my career, life, well being. Admittedly it could been viewed as dishonest and dishonourable (and I knew the school had little knowledge of my whereabouts) but maybe if more colleagues took more of a ‘me first’ attitude less of us would suffer from stress caused by a lack of control.

    On a similar note, I’ve also had issue with the accepted school resignation periods. I know they are written into contracts but this is simply an ‘accepted industry oractice’ and goes against ‘proper’ UK contract law. In law we only have to give a minimum of one months written notice and an employer has to accept that. I once left a teaching job for a job in industry and my new boss wouldn’t wait a term for me and would have rescinded the job offer if I couldn’t start for 10 weeks. So I gave a month’s notice and left. The school tried the ‘wait until the exams so kids don’t suffer’ routine but that was too long for my new job to wait. So I gave a month’s written notice and left.... again, nothing happened.

    More of us need to start putting ‘me first’ and maybe over time the ‘them & us’ dynamic may change for the better !
    BelleDuJour likes this.
  19. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    To some of us, a reputation for honesty matters. Others take pride in being liers.
    steely1, jarndyce, ilovesooty and 3 others like this.
  20. ela_giano

    ela_giano New commenter

    My situation is similar... only that the school pulled out saying that they had more interviews and they found someone in a permanent basis ( I applied for a term theough an agency). So dissapointing!

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