Careers advice from Theodora Griff

Secret interview?

I have decided to apply for a new job for September but I don't want my headteacher or head of department to know. What excuse can I give for going to interviews?

Well, that is a nice easy question to answer. No excuse at all, because you cannot go without the head's permission.

Most heads, most of the time, will give you paid leave to attend an interview for a job at another school. They usually don't have to, but they do. Yes, I know that many teachers believe they have an inalienable right to three days off a year for going to interviews but that is, I understand, just a union recommendation in most cases.

Some local authorities and governing bodies may have an agreement allowing up to three days per year of paid leave for interviews in reasonable circumstances. Even in these schools, most heads will allow you to go to more than three interviews as long as the timing suits them.

That is the important point. Although you will usually get the day off, a head may decide that it is not reasonable for you to be absent that particular day because of the needs of the school. Perhaps other staff are absent, for example, or it is an important time of the year for students.

Do not even think about pretending to be ill. For a teaching job, where the reference will be requested before the interview, you couldn't do this anyway. If the post you want is outside teaching, where they are often happy to call for references after the interview, you may be tempted to ring in sick and go to the interview in secret. This is gross misconduct; do not do it.

The good news is that if the head is keen for you to move on, you are likely to be encouraged to go to as many interviews as you like. In that case, I suggest you ask them to provide interview coaching to aid you in your move.

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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