6 tips for handing in your notice the ‘right way’

All good things must come to an end at some point, so here’s how to ensure you do it in the most professional way possible
4th February 2021, 10:05am
Iain Sallis

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6 tips for handing in your notice the ‘right way’

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/6-tips-handing-your-notice-right-way
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The international interview process is now in full flow across the world.

After 22 years in education, I still find myself supporting staff members with advice on how to leave schools and how to apply to new schools.

Staff sometimes get the timelines wrong and get confused about who to speak to and what they need to communicate.

There are many reasons people decide to leave schools, including family, money, contract issues or it just maybe the right time for a new challenge. So here are six quick pointers on how to leave your school in the correct and professional way.

1. Give plenty of notice

One of the most frustrating things for a school is when a member of staff has decided they are leaving but informs the school very late and often on the last day of the contract termination period.

As a result, the school has less time to respond and this can cause problems.

In the worst cases, it can take up to three months to replace a post and, during Covid-19, up to six months, depending on the entry and exit restrictions of the country you are leaving.

2. Speak to your references

It's courteous to drop your referees an email or pick up the phone and let them know you are asking them to write references for you.

Some references take a long time to write and its only fair to let the writers know in advance. In some cases, the writer may be a colleague you worked with four or five years ago, so it is good practice to let them know that they may receive a reference email.

It's also a nice reason to reconnect with old colleagues.

3. Check your contract

Ensure you are clear on your contract terms and conditions and, importantly, the termination period. It is courteous to ensure you give notice within the termination period: contracts support both staff and the school.

You should not accept any new post unless you are clear you are meeting the exit terms within your existing contract. A good example of this could be a notice period such as three or fours months or one term's notice.

It's also worth double checking to see if this includes the holiday period or if it applies to your last working day, as it can change your leaving notice date considerably. This often can cause unnecessary conflict.

4. Make sure it's recorded

Once you have made you decision, ensure you write an official email or letter, so this is recorded, to the headteacher or the HR department. It is also very important that the school acknowledges the recorded intention with a letter or email.

5. Be honest with your new school

It is good practice for a principal to follow up a reference with a phone call. References are honest and confidential documents. So, when you interview for a new post, the information you share can be discussed with your current employer, such as pay, terms and conditions, and safeguarding issues. Therefore, it is important that the information you give during the interview is honest as this can be checked.

6. Discuss concerns before deciding to leave

It depends on your school structures and your relationships with your line managers but it is important to speak to colleagues before you apply for a new post if you have work-based issues.

Resolution is the key and it's vital to have conversations with the right person who can help solve a problem.

Sometimes it may be the direct line manager that is an issue or a policy the school is adopting that you do not agree with. You may find an honest conversation convinces you to stay, so it's worth finding out.

If your mind is made up, then follow the above steps and the process should be smoother for everyone involved.

Iain Sallis is campus principal of Tenby Schools Setia Eco Park in Malaysia

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