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Careers advice from Theodora Griff

Contradiction in term time

I applied for a permanent teaching job. The closing date was five weeks ago, so yesterday I booked myself a last-minute 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 be able to take my holiday or will I lose the 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 headteacher 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. This includes actually being available to teach at school in term time.

So, in very many cases, a candidate asking in an interview to start on 14 January instead of 3 January is likely to be set aside in favour of one who is available.

A candidate who asks about that when offered the job would probably receive the response: "Well, I am very sorry to hear that as our offer was for somebody to begin on 1 January, with teaching from 3 January." A quick about-turn could ensure that the offer stood but, to be frank, just asking about it could put a small black mark against you.

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

As for losing the money - do the maths. Go on holiday, lose no money, get three days' supply work each week for January, February, March, April. If you are lucky, get a job for the summer term. Or: don't go on holiday, lose the money. Get a full salary for January, February, March, April and so on in the summer.

Fingers crossed for the interview.

Meet Theodora Griff online on the TES Jobseekers forum or in person at a TES Careers Advice Service seminar or individual consultation. bit.lyuWhqN2.

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