Dear John: Can I change my mind about joining a school after its poor Ofsted?


I went for an interview recently and they offered me the role. I said yes and then later on signed the required paperwork. But now after looking at the Ofsted report, which came after this happened, I do not want to join the school.

Is there anything I could do that does not land me in legal trouble?


Not really: the old saying ‘marry in haste, repent at leisure’ springs to mind in this instance. This just shows why it as important for the candidate to do their homework on the school as it is for the school to consider the applicants carefully. If you just write and say you are turning down the offer, the school will have to find a replacement. That should be possible for most jobs in the present market. But, you will upset the school and the head could let everyone locally know what you did. Finding your next job might then not be as easy in the present climate. Although the school could sue you if they couldn’t find a replacement, this has never happened in my experience, so probably all you risk is that finding the next post will be more challenging. But, you were good enough to get this one.

John Howson worked as a secondary school teacher in London for seven years before moving into teacher training and consultancy, including a brief period as a chief government advisor. John is now a recruitment analyst, visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University and hosts our Career Clinic where you can post questions to him.