Fixed term contract, should I be worried?(18 Posts)
Hi, I went back to work after several years of looking after the children and accepted the first job offered as a TA to help me back into work.
So, at the time I didn't question it and maybe didn't really understand (and maybe still don't what a fixed term contract is.
My contract runs until August this year and now I'm worried I'll have to start looking again. I thought I was being taken on on a permanent basis but it states 'due to funding' it will be fixed term.
I'm wondering if most get renewed or not. I'm employed by the council for the school.
I don't have specific experience of schools, but in general terms a fixed term contract is either because an institution has a budget for a year or 18 months for example and therefore can't guarantee employment beyond that time.
However, if you do a great job, and everyone likes you, you may find you have become so well embedded that they manage to find budget to keep you longer. Unfortunately it gives them an ideal excuse to let you go, if you don't perform well.
I'd have thought schools always need TAs so you could find you are OK but no guarantees I'm afraid.
At least you have work until Aug, which looks good on your CV and a launch pad to other roles if this one doesn't get extended
Why not have an informal meeting around April/May to ask how your manager sees things shaping up into the next academic year?
DH has only ever had probation & permanent jobs I have only had fixed term. My deal is so much better. DH has frequent stories about X had to work suddenly when they were fired. Get their redundancy money or whatever... but bottom line, very insecure employment. FTC is much better, you know the money is there.
If you're a one to one TA employed to work with a child with need for additional support there might be funding for that specific purpose and for a set period of time. Or it might simply be that with uncertainties about school funding they didn't want to commit to funding your post for longer than a year.
You need to talk to your manager about when they'll start planning staffing for the next academic year and when you can expect to find out whether your contract will be renewed or not.
mymorning I'm a bit concerned they didn't highlight that you were being employed on a Fixed Term basis. Normally, when they interview, employers have a duty to make it clear to the candidate that it's not Permanent Employee status.
Daisychain to be fair, it sounds as if the contract is clear about the fixed term and the employers may well have been clear also at interview, in the OPs first post she says that she is the one who didn't understand what it meant.
unfortunate I sense they weren't sufficiently clear, as in "the contract you will sign only gives you employment until next August", but fair enough.
Maybe, as mymorning says, it was all a rush and a bit "quick, where do I sign?"
Lesson learned, always know what you're signing up to!
Thanks all, It wasn't talked about at interview and contract was signed afterwards. (when I realised)
I am a class TA and not a 1-1 which is also why I was wondering (I understand 1-1 TA's situation with funding also but thought a class TA would be more of a permanent thing.
I get on well with the people I work with so I might bring it up with them and see if it's a more general thing. Would that be OK?
Can't bear the thought of starting to job hunt again.
daisychain - yes, too right. I'm pretty sure I'd already started working before it was signed as I can remember it being brought down to my classroom for me to sign. (goes to check dates!)....me and headteacher signed on different dates.
For the future if they bring a contract to you in the classroom and ask you to sign there and then - it's perfectly acceptable to tell them that you need to read through it first before you sign it.
I'd definitely have a chat with your manager to see where you stand.
"I get on well with the people I work with so I might bring it up with them and see if it's a more general thing."
Not sure how that would help you? Surely you need to know whether your contract is likely to be renewed rather than whether FTCs are "a general thing"?
Doesn't really matter if they are common, you've got one, so you need to understand whether yours is likely to be renewed/what the process will be so that you can start planning and job hunting if that will be necessary.
You need to raise it with your line manager so that you have a clearer picture of staff planning where you are.
Surely it was advertised as a ftc? This is fairly basic stuff when you're getting a job.
You need to check your contract and see what it says is the reason for it being fixed term, it should have a reason otherwise how do you know when this "reason" changes, just like the example flowery gave, if you were linked to a child and said child left they would have a valid reason to end your contraact, however if child did not leave and they ended your contract then that is not a valid reason....also make sure they pay you until 31st August!
An employer doesn't have to specify in a contract why it is fixed term rather than permanent. They are allowed to offer a fixed term contract for whatever reason. The time they have to be a bit careful is when deciding whether or not to renew, if the post/funding is still there and the person has two or more years service.
The time they have to be careful is when they decide not to renew, when 2 years service and the reason still exists!
All bar 3 TAs in my school are employed on fixed term contracts, it is purely for funding purposes.
At the end of their contract, an individual has to either leave or, if there are any available positions, apply and be interviewed for a new post.
We recently had 2 TAx who had been on various fixed term contracts over many years, they were not successful in interview so had to leave - but they did get redundancy pay.
I'm a TA also on a fixed-term contract and have been for over ten years! It is very unnerving - more so in recent years with all the funding cuts to schools. A couple of years ago I had to take a lunchtime supervisors position owing to a combination of no available hours and family circumstances. I did however, within the first term also build up some TA hours owing to needs of pupils and staff absence.
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