Careers advice from Theodora Griff

19th October 2012 at 01:00

When can I quit?

I'm going to an interview next week for a job in another school. I know the deadline for resignations is the end of half-term, so if I don't get this one, have I lost the chance to start in a new school after Christmas?

It all depends on your contract. If you are in a local authority-maintained school rather than an academy, a free school or an independent school, there are set dates for teachers to hand in their resignation.

These dates are 31 October, 28 or 29 February and 31 May. It is quite important to note them; they coincide roughly with some half-terms, but it is the date not the actual half-term that counts.

So for you, if you nail that job next week, Wednesday 31 October is the date for giving in your notice, and not the end of the week.

In other schools, the deadlines may be different. Many independent schools, for example, require you to give notice on or before the first day of term in order to resign for the next term. Check your contract, because if you miss the deadline the school could insist on you staying. If you don't resign in time at the beginning of the summer term, for example, you are theoretically stuck there until Christmas.

I say theoretically because, although these are the official deadlines, it may be possible for anyone in any kind of school to leave without giving due notice. People sometimes leave at half-term or at the end of term after resigning late.

However, this is the exception rather than the rule. It has to be negotiated with the headteacher and probably the governors, and they won't agree where it would put students' learning at risk because it is unlikely that they could appoint a suitable replacement.

So to answer your question, I'll just say: best of luck for the job interview next week.

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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