Dear John: I love my job but another post appeals. Should I tell my head?

Dear John,


I‘ve been in my current school for two years this Christmas. It’s a great place to work and I really enjoy it here. However, I’ve seen a head of department job at a great school and it’s closer to home. I am currently deputy director at my present school. My head of department knows I am ambitous however, after all the plans we are putting into place I feel like a deserter applying for other jobs! I’m posting the application off today so if they are interested they could phone for a reference anytime after the closing date. When is the best time to talk to my head of department and also see the head?
P.S. If I don’t get called to interview, will I have shot myself in the foot?



If your head of department knows you are ambitious, then a move after two years will come as no surprise. It is, after all sensible to alert both your head of department and head that they may be asked for a reference before the request lands on their desk or the other school telephones them. Once this is out in the open you won’t feel bad about applying for other posts. Leaving a school, your plans for the future and the pupils is always hard and it is easy to put it off because you don’t want to upset someone, or for a class or group of pupils to suffer. But, just do it. You might even find at the interview that you like the school you are in more than the other school, however great it is. I know that I once did and stayed for another two years at the school where I was teaching with no ill effects or bad feeling because I had been and looked elsewhere.

Good luck.

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.