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When and how to tell a new school I have booked a holiday during term time?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by tiinatoelli, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. tiinatoelli

    tiinatoelli New commenter

    I was recently offered a part-time job in a lovely school, the head teacher has been extremely flexible and understanding when I have tried to make my new teaching schedule work with my existing part-time job. My husband runs his own business (our family business where I also work part-time) and he's unable to take time off during the February half-term, therefore we booked a holiday for the start of February where he will also be taking part in a work-related training course. I haven't signed my contract yet and I am due to start in January. I want to tell the school as soon as possible but I wonder how I should word it?

    Because it's a part-time role (2 days a week) I hope that it will be a bit easier to arrange. I was thinking that I could offer to work an extra day a week ( I don't work on Fridays) to cover the two days I will be absent? Any advice would be much appreciated.
  2. curlcurlcurl

    curlcurlcurl Occasional commenter

    If you’re due to start in January you have already accepted an offer verbally, which is binding. The contract quite often doesn’t arrive until later and suggesting that means you’re entitled to take the holiday due to that to your head will make things sour.

    You could try to ask for the leave but don’t be surprised if the head tells you it must be unpaid or says no altogether.

    I don’t mean to sound harsh, but if the head has been good working around your part time job that doesn’t mean she/he will be as forthcoming with a term time holiday.

    I would advise you go to them with a solution; extra days are one, offering to take it unpaid or pay for the school’s cover cost are other options.

    Unfortunately in teaching, you’re going to have to get used to saying no if anyone suggests a holiday anywhere during term time!
  3. tiinatoelli

    tiinatoelli New commenter

    Thank you for your reply. You might have misunderstood me, I never meant that I can flaunt the rules regarding staff holidays because I haven't signed the contract, I merely meant that I will discuss my holiday before it's signed just in case the head decides not to offer me the role after all. I would also never expect to have the two days paid, I would request it as unpaid leave. This trip was booked before I applied for the role and I completely forgot about it during the application process until my husband reminded me. I hope that discussing this asap will make things a little bit easier.
    gingerhobo48 and agathamorse like this.
  4. Flanks

    Flanks Established commenter

    I think you can ask, but you should expect the answer to be no.
  5. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I think if you offer to take it as unpaid leave and to do a day of cover on a Friday, for example, the school is doing well out of the deal. It is common practice in most jobs to mention any pre-booked holidays when you are given the job, and it is common practice to honour them, as I understand it.
    In this case, you ought to have mentioned it before (you FORGOT a holiday?!) but as soon as possible is necessary now. Tomorrow. Email tonight? Certainly before you break up. With apologies and solutions, obviously. Your new head sounds helpful, so you may get a positive response.
    Good luck.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    The time to bring this up would have been at the end of the interview when they asked if you had any questions. Doing so now, will not start you off on the right foot.

    It might only be two days, but you only work two days a week and so are asking for a whole week off. And someone will need to cover your classes for two days...about £400 for supply cover. Working on another day instead isn't likely to work as children have other lessons on Fridays.

    As others have said, you can ask, but don't be surprised if the answer is no.
  7. curlcurlcurl

    curlcurlcurl Occasional commenter

    I think I may have, tone can be invisible in the written word at times :rolleyes:

    Although also worth mentioning for your part the head couldn’t renege an offer now based on this because you haven’t signed the contract yet. The contract is a formality. They’ve offered? You’ve accepted? Written confirmation of both? These things ARE the first part of your contract with the school.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.

    SEBREGIS Senior commenter

    As others have said - ASAP with vast apologies. And don’t take it to heart if the HT says no. We’re in a job where even getting time for a funeral is not guaranteed.

    But on the positive side - you are asking. Some folks would just pull a sickie, so you are clearly trying to do the right thing, they may be moved by that.
  9. CWadd

    CWadd Lead commenter

    You have every right to ask - the HT has every right to say no.
  10. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Absolutely. I don't think that you'll be creating a very good initial impression even by asking at this stage though.
  11. IanG

    IanG Occasional commenter

    As others have said you have accepted this position. Signed contracts often don't turn up till months later...if at all. You can ask, but be prepared for a NO. If thats the case, please understand that you can't simply ignore and still go on holiday.
  12. install

    install Star commenter

    Explain you need 2 days unpaid for 'personal family matters'. The head will understand. Let the head know sooner rather than later. If the head pushes it further, you might explain that your husband had booked the family event to surprise everyone before you got the post.

    The fact that it is a holiday is irrelevant. Just make sure you are clear it is 'unpaid'. :cool:
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  13. CWadd

    CWadd Lead commenter

    Just tell them its a holiday. But I agree with @install - be completely frank that its unpaid.

    Mainly because if pictures of you sight seeing/by the pool/on the beach pop up on twitter/facebook/instagram/snapchat, colleagues who you may have friended won't be querying why you're doing this when you're apparently having a family crisis.

    The HT may be lovely. But if you mislead them they could stop being lovely to you PDQ.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It's not "personal family matters". That is highly suggestive of illness or trouble within the family. That would give totally the wrong impression.

    You forgot about the holiday. You can only throw yourself on the mercy of the HT. Tell the whole truth.
    les25paul, DYNAMO67, Laphroig and 8 others like this.
  15. install

    install Star commenter

    It is if its 'unpaid' . And none of the ht's business really. It was booked prior to getting the job - its a 'personal family matter'..

    It might be Baptism, Wedding, Celebration Ceremony, Funeral or otherwise... Many 'personal family matters' and unpaid happens all the time in my experience. Even so if the ht wants clarification it can be given. But its unpaid .

    If it were a death or something more serious I would expect 'paid leave' :cool:
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  16. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Don't expect too much. It looks pretty bad from where I'm sitting. I know that's harsh but honestly - how could you forget!!!!!
  17. CWadd

    CWadd Lead commenter

    As the OP is employed by the HT, it is the HTs business. The OP may get unpaid leave - money still has to be spent on cover.

    I reiterate - lying to or misleading your HT as to why you want leave is a bad idea.
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    If you can't guarantee to be there for the195 days out of 365 other than in emergencies or illness? Well, I don't know why people take it up as a career in the first place! It's not a lot to ask!

    Fine. Get cover. Sounds so easy! I don't think it's by any means as simple as that in some areas. How about getting GOOD cover? How about continuity? Consistency?

    No. You work 195 days except in the event of an emergency or sickness. Much simpler that way. Fairer for all concerned. HTs have got enough to do without having to ponder the merits of allowing unpaid leave to Mrs Violet-Elizabeth so she can go to Rome or attend her niece's wedding.
  19. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Not the case.

    Leave of or 'personal family matters' is classed as compassionate leave, and reasons for compassionate leave are invariably clearly defined. If the OP does not wish to disclose the reasons, the school management is under no obligation to let her take leave, whether paid or unpaid. A lot of people assume that 'personal family matters' is a "get-out-of-jail-free" pass that management cannot stop, which is not true.
  20. otters258

    otters258 New commenter

    In answer to your original question: tomorrow!! You need to be completely honest with the Head about your error and if it was me I would grant it as unpaid. Doing different days of the week are no use to us as we are primary. However at the same time the whole incident would sound a little bell of concern about you in my head around your reliability and commitment. That said, such doubts can be removed after a few weeks when I see how a new teacher starts to shape up in the school.

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