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NQT year- taking a break due to personal circumstances

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    Hi all,

    I'm in a bit of tough situation and am very worried for my NQT year. Trying to look at all possibilities now in case things get really bad. I have an NQT job for this September which I'm obviously thrilled about. My dad is currently a very unwell man (has been for years) and the hospital have sent out some suggestive letters recently which suggest things are about to take on a whole new level of complicated. In the absolute worst case scenario, I will have to defer my current uni placement (easily dealt with through my uni). Second worst scenario, I will have to quit my NQT job before I've started (contract already signed) and go home to help my mum care for my sick dad and significantly mentally disabled brother. I am literally the only person who they have to help them.

    My questions:

    1) Does anyone know what the procedure is if you have to stop half way through the NQT year for personal circumstances? Do you have to re-do it? Are you able to do supply and then return to it? In general, how does it work?

    2) How long can you do supply work before you have to do your NQT? This would be my fall back option if I had to go back to my parents.

    3) Are there any unions/ contacts who are good for advice on such matters? I'm going to be working at an academy so the usual lot probably won't want to deal with me as they don't support them!

    Hands = tied. Any advice welcome.
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    Firstly, I take it you are currently on a PGCE year? If so I would assume all the big teaching unions (NUT, NASUWT, ATL) have signed you up as a free member (and given you free stuff in return) - use them for advice on this, they will be able to help. If you haven't joined, get in touch with one of them now to get signed up, since you're a student it should be free to join.

    Secondly, no you don't have to do the NQT year all in one block, it can be a bit more complicated but essentially you can chunk it up a bit, so you could work first term, get your first term NQT report sent off to the Local Authority, and then do the next bits elsewhere.

    As far as I'm aware, in England (may differ in Wales/Scotland/NI) there is no time limit to complete your NQT year so there is no problem with that.

    The school you have got your job at should be fully supportive of this matter, but I would suggest you get in touch with them ASAP to let them know of potential issues on the horizon. It's only fair that they are prepared for this well before the summer holidays so they can put alternative arrangements in place, rather than September come around and they don't have a member of staff.

    Also, MrM on here may be able to give more insight, he's the resident 'expert' on teaching matters, having taught quite a bit longer than me or most of the others on here
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    Thank you for your reply. I am doing my PGCE now, yes. I haven't signed up to any unions yet as I wanted to look into each one properly before doing so. I want to sign up to one but am concerned that because my school is an academy they won't allow me to. I know the NUT is definitely firmly against academy schools. It's good to know that the NQT does not have to be done all in one block. I will find out within the next couple of weeks what is happening so will know how much I need to tell the school. Just trying to figure things out in my head in case the news is bad and I have to get things done quickly. I very much appreciate your reply. You have helped a lot.

    If anyone else has a further response, I would appreciate this too.
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    (Original post by Netts)
    Thank you for your reply. I am doing my PGCE now, yes. I haven't signed up to any unions yet as I wanted to look into each one properly before doing so. I want to sign up to one but am concerned that because my school is an academy they won't allow me to. I know the NUT is definitely firmly against academy schools. It's good to know that the NQT does not have to be done all in one block. I will find out within the next couple of weeks what is happening so will know how much I need to tell the school. Just trying to figure things out in my head in case the news is bad and I have to get things done quickly. I very much appreciate your reply. You have helped a lot.

    If anyone else has a further response, I would appreciate this too.
    You need to be in a union regardless of what school you're teaching in and I'm surprised your PGCE provider hasn't drilled this into you. The union is there for your protection as a teacher and it has nothing to do with your employer - you need to be in a union as then you have legal representation and support if and when you need it. This should have been arranged prior to you even starting your PGCE placements because all it takes is one person to say something (which could happen on day one as a trainee) and your entire career is in turmoil. As a new teacher you can join them all for free so you may as well join as many as you want then decide later down the line which one you actually want to pay to be in. I'd really recommend you just sign up for them online now and then decide in the future as you also get free membership as an NQT. Just because a certain union is against academies/free schools/whatever it doesn't mean that they won't let people teaching in those schools join them as they know that you need to work and a lot of options are in academy status schools. I read recently that half of English secondary schools are already an academy or are seeking to become one. Unions aren't going to reject you simply because of the school you teach in otherwise they'd be rejecting half of the teachers in the country when most of them never actually chose/actively wanted their school to be an academy in the first place.
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    (Original post by Netts)
    Thank you for your reply. I am doing my PGCE now, yes. I haven't signed up to any unions yet as I wanted to look into each one properly before doing so. I want to sign up to one but am concerned that because my school is an academy they won't allow me to. I know the NUT is definitely firmly against academy schools. It's good to know that the NQT does not have to be done all in one block. I will find out within the next couple of weeks what is happening so will know how much I need to tell the school. Just trying to figure things out in my head in case the news is bad and I have to get things done quickly. I very much appreciate your reply. You have helped a lot.

    If anyone else has a further response, I would appreciate this too.
    My school is an Academy, as are many across the country, but they can't 'ban' you from joining a Union. In fact they probably don't really know who is a member of which, as you don't essentially have to tell the school which Union you're in (or whether you're in one).

    Also, as it's free for students/NQTs just join up to as many as you like for now. You'll get a lot of pointless e-mails and probably post through the door, but you won't have to start paying membership until you've finished your NQT.
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    (Original post by Netts)
    In the absolute worst case scenario, I will have to defer my current uni placement (easily dealt with through my uni). Second worst scenario, I will have to quit my NQT job before I've started (contract already signed) and go home to help my mum care for my sick dad and significantly mentally disabled brother. I am literally the only person who they have to help them.
    Have you ensured that your family have recently had an up to date care assessment and made sure all the benefits that your father if he is long term sick, are being recieved to the correct amount? And if your brother recieves/is entitled to any help also. It would be worth making sure that you have everything you are entitled to through the citizens advice bureau and/or your local council. Some of the help they offer is free.

    It would be terrible for you to have to sacrifice your hard work for your family and I understand what that might mean. Not that you wouldn't do it willingly, but it is important not to live your life for others and to pursue what you want to do.

    I hope you can get things sorted.

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Updated: May 13, 2012
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