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Careers advice from Theodora Griff - Where is my contract?

I was expecting to get my contract before I started at my new school, but I've been here a month now and still haven't had anything in writing about my job. Does this mean that they aren't sure about having me?

No, don't worry, it doesn't mean that at all, just that they have been busy and haven't yet got round to doing it.

And you probably have got something in writing. Your offer letter has contractual force, so unless it was subject to some condition that you haven't complied with (such as problems with your Criminal Records Bureau check), then you are fine.

Employment law says that you should get your contract - officially called a statement of employment particulars - no later than eight weeks after you start work (that is, by October half-term). Pop in to see the school business manager and enquire when it is likely to turn up.

When you get it, check it. Is your name correct? The date of starting? The job title? The agreed salary point? If it is a part-time post, have they included the correct part-time percentage?

However, don't waste your time going through it and then asking them to change the conditions set out in paragraph 45, subsection (iii), because they won't. It is a standard contract that they use for everybody and there will be no exceptions.

But do read it carefully. If it is an independent school, note the resignation dates, which may be different from maintained schools. If it is a maternity contract, note how much notice you have to give them, and they you, to end the contract. You cannot change these details, but do be aware of them.

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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