I’ve booked a holiday for the start of term. Help!

12th May 2013 at 01:00

I’ve booked a holiday for the start of term. Help!



I applied for a permanent teaching job, the closing date was 5 weeks ago, so yesterday I booked myself a last-minute ski-ing holiday for the first 10 days of term. However, I’ve now received a phone call inviting me to interview. If I am successful, will I still be able to take my holiday? I would hate to lose that money.


What a dilemma! But I think that the priority has to be maximising your chances of getting a permanent job.



The role of a Head is to ensure the safety, welfare, learning and progress of children. A major part of this is appointing outstanding teachers who have a high level of commitment to the safety, welfare, learning and progress of children.


Which would include actually being available to teach at school in term time.



So, in very many cases, a candidate asking in interview to start on 12th January instead of 3rd, is likely to be set aside in favour of one who is available.



And one who asks about that when offered the job, could hear the response: Well, I am very sorry to hear that as our offer was for somebody to begin on 1st January, with teaching from 3rd, so I am afraid that we now have to withdraw this offer. A quick about-face might ensure that the offer stood, but, to be frank, just asking about it could put a small grey mark against you . . .



So if you do still want to ask, make sure that you are clear that the job has priority.  Say something like this: I am very pleased to accept the job as offered, and look forward to joining the school.  There is just one thing that I would like to ask, and am perfectly prepared for you to say "No".  I have a holiday booked for the first week of your term.  When I booked it, I believed that there would be no more jobs advertised for next term.  Would it be possible for me to delay my start to January 12th?  If this is not possible, I shall of course cancel the holiday and begin at the start of term, as I am very much looking forward to joining the school.


 There is always a slight risk here, as making a counter-offer (asking to start later is a counter-offer to the one that they made) allows them to withdraw their offer there and then.


So if you want to maximise your chances of being offered a full-time permanent post, you have to be available to work at the beginning of term.


Do the maths!


As for losing the money - do the maths!


  • Go on holiday, lose no money, get 3 days’ supply work each week for January, February, March, April. If lucky, get a job for the summer term.
  • Don't go on holiday, lose the money. Get a full salary for January, February, March, April. And continue onwards in the summer.


Seems a no-brainer to me! Besides, knowing that you had to ask that awkward question could have made you extra nervous during the interview, so you wouldn’t have done your best.


I suggest that you now go and read the advice on interview preparation in our blogs section.



Fingers crossed for the interview!   Give yourself the best possible chance by reading the interview blogs.


Best wishes 


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