Any harm in asking?

Your job and career questions answered

I'm a newly qualified teacher and have been offered a job. No one mentioned my starting pay in the interview, but I now have the contract. I would like to discuss starting on point M2 of the pay scale rather than M1 as I worked in industry for a few years prior to teaching. I'm worried that by asking I will create a negative impression of myself. Any advice?

I presume you agreed verbally to accept the post when asked at interview, but felt too overwhelmed to tackle the question of pay. As most features of a teacher's contract are well-known, the school may have taken it as read that you accepted the job starting at the bottom of the scale. But now that the written contact has arrived, you want to negotiate your salary.

At this stage it is a matter of relationships. If the school says no, do you resign and try again in another school, or will you take the post anyway? Whether you create a negative impression will probably depend upon how you make your request. Whether you can secure the extra point on the pay scale is more likely to depend upon how keen the school is to employ you. It might be easier for you if you teach a shortage subject. At least in future you'll know that it's a good idea to discuss the terms and conditions when you are offered a job, and not leave things until later.

If you have a question for John Howson, please email susan.young@tes.co.uk

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