Dear John, I've been offered promotion but with strings attached. Can you advise?

Q

 I have been offered the position of KS3 coordinator for my subject at school from January. The head has offered me two points on the payscale for this, but with the proviso that I remain with the school at least till the end of the 2009-10 academic year.

I’d like the responsibility but am not sure I want to remain at the school that long as this is my first school after qualifying and I’d like to get experience of others. Is this the wrong attitude to take? What recourse does the school have should I take the job but leave before the agreed period? Should I decline the promotion if I’m having thoughts of changing schools after the summer?

 

A

I am assuming you are not working in a state school as to offer an increase on the main scale for teaching and learning responsibilities is ‘outwith’ the rules. Such responsibilities must attract a Teaching and Learning responsibility payment that is in addition to your main scale salary and only lasts whilst you hold the responsibility.

There can be an informal agreement that you will remain at the school, but it cannot be written into your contract and you cannot be expected to pay back any salary received for work actually undertaken should you leave early. In those circumstances, you might not get a good reference, but you can still apply for another job.

If you are in a private school, or an academy, you will need to look at your contract of employment and issues such as the period of notice and how you are paid for extra work. Even so, a poor reference is likely to be the outcome of breaking the agreement. If you are the only person capable of doing the work, then be frank with the head and say you may leave before the end of 2010 and are willing to do the job. However, if the head withdraws the offer, don’t do the work without payment.

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.