As the new term began, many of you will have started new jobs. But what for most will have been an exciting and worthwhile move, unfortunately for some, it is already proving to have been a mistake.
When problems with your employment arise, whether at the start of a new job, or when you’ve been in post a while and change is in the offing, the first question often asked via the ASCL member hotline is ‘can they do this?’
The answer, inevitably, lies within your contract of employment and conditions of service, but all too often scant attention has been paid to these and assumptions have been made that are often far from the reality of the situation.
The introduction of academies in 2000 changed the landscape as far as teachers’ terms and conditions of service are concerned. Whilst not widely used, freedom for academies, and later multi-academy trusts (MATs), to set their own terms and conditions meant that the automatic principle of continuity of service for many entitlements was lost.
Additionally, a move to a more private sector way of thinking across the sector has seen the introduction and increasingly wide-spread use of probation periods, some lasting for up to two years. As employment rights during a probation period are reduced, this has been a worrying trend.
The result is that the answer to the question ‘can they do is?’ is often ‘yes’.
Do your homework
But it needn’t be the case. At a time when recruitment and retention is difficult, negotiating a better contract prior to taking up employment is always possible and ASCL can help you with this.
The other area members come unstuck when they move roles, is finding that the position they’ve now got is not quite what they expected and/or the organisational fit is not working.
This is not always as easy to foresee, but the risks can be managed by some due diligence prior to signing a contract.
Do your homework on the employer and their vision and values - are they ones that you share? Also look at the organisational structure and consider what your role will be within it; if you’ve been in a fairly autonomous role in the past, how might you work in a more hierarchical structure?
If considering a role within a MAT, look at their top-slicing arrangements and review what schools get for that: does it look like value for money?
Also, look at the level of turbulence within an organisation and its overall performance: are you likely to join and find it immediately taken over?
There are no guarantees with the due diligence process, but with some careful checks you can reduce the chances of finding yourself in a role that just doesn’t suit you.
So, if you’re thinking of your next career move, and before you even consider signing on the dotted line, consider:
If you’re not sure about either, then your next call may be to the ASCL hotline asking ‘can they do this?’
Sara is leading the half-day course Contractually Sound: How to ensure you have a robust contract of employment on the following dates:
26 September 2017, Manchester
11 January 2018, London
26 April 2018, Birmingham