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Careers advice from Theodora Griff

How should I resign?

I've got a job offer. How do I go about resigning from my current school?

Congratulations on that new job. There is no formal resignation etiquette that you have to follow, but the sensible and courteous thing to do is to talk to your headteacher as soon as possible, warning that a resignation is in the pipeline. Giving the head more time to prepare for getting your replacement means the school has a better chance to appoint the right person. Don't leave it until the last day to resign just to be awkward.

Once you have formally accepted the post, you can hand in your notice. By formally accepting, I mean writing a letter in response to a written offer from the new school. Yes, your verbal offer and acceptance of the job over the phone actually counts as a contractual agreement, to which both sides can be held. But it is difficult to prove anything, so you should wait until you have the offer in writing. This letter from your new school and a copy of your acceptance will form the first two documents in the new section of your personal employment file at home.

Write a brief but polite letter to your current employer saying that you are resigning. Give one of the official resignation dates of 31 August, 31 December or 30 April, not the end of term. You will want to get paid for the holiday. The exception is an Easter resignation; the convention then is that if you are moving to another post in education your old school pays until the day before the new term starts in your new place, which starts paying you from then, even if it's still in April. If the two schools have different holiday dates you could find yourself with a shorter or longer holiday than normal, but that's just the luck of the draw.

A far-sighted head may actually advertise your post before you have handed in your resignation officially. Don't panic. If you then decide not to resign, they can just not interview. And if they do, and appoint someone else, but you don't resign, that's their problem not yours; your job should not be at risk.

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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