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I recently started contracting as a software developer. After some difficulty I have signed my first contract which is due to start soon, for an initial 3 months. I have decided that in another 6-7 months (at the start of the new school year) that I wish to try home-schooling.

Problem is, I need the contract to extend but only for another 3 months, totaling 6 months. When discussion of the extension comes (and if it comes) I'd rather not say "Oh, I only want another 3 months because after that I'll try and home-school for a year...", I feel that will most likely make the employer uneasy and decide not to extend my contract, not even for an extra 3 months.

So the question is, how do I say I want to extend only for 3 months in the best possible way?

This is in the UK, where it is legal to home-school from day one. I applied for an advertised contract job and was accepted, at a company which has other contractors and potentially work much beyond the 3 month mark.

Or... would it be better to accept the 6 month extension (if that was to happen) then resign after 3 months, serving the notice period. Would that put me in a worse light? I'd prefer to keep a good relationship with the employer.

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    Why do you need to give them any reason? If you only want to extend your contract for 3 months then tell them you'd like to extend it for only 3 months. What's difficult about that? Are you not in control of your own career and your own time? I let my clients know for how long I'm available. If it suits them, fine. If it doesn't suit them, that's fine too. – joeqwerty Feb 23 at 2:28
  • Perhaps you could say that it is your established policy to enter contracts only three months at a time. – A. I. Breveleri Feb 23 at 2:43
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    Good news. The simple answer is that you never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever reveal your future plans. Simply, state that you want a three month (or - whatever it is you want) contract. – Fattie Feb 23 at 16:41
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You've not even started the first one yet. Worry about extensions if / when they happen.

Sign whatever you're offered if you're happy with it, but make certain there is a notice period (termination clause) in it, and that it is equal on both sides (i.e. same terms for you for the agency/client).

Keep your plans to yourself (what @Fattie said). Your primary duty is to you / your family. Not your employer. Not your client. And certainly not the agency, if any.

With luck, you'll just be offered the 3 months extension (When asked, say "yes - same terms again, please" and nothing else). If not take the new contract, then invoke the termination at the appropriate time.

Plenty of contractors would view 3 months as a long time to stay somewhere (I'm not one of them).

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First of all, you are not obliged and nor ought you necessarily share your future plans with anyone including your employer, past present or future.

To accept the longer contract, absent the intention to fulfil your obligation, makes you someone who says one thing and does another.

Signing an undertaking suggests that you have a reasonable expectation that you can, and all other things being equal, intend to complete that undertaking. To do so otherwise would be disingenuous.

Your question mentions that you have not actually started yet, and yet you are already fretting about how and when to quit. I expect that if your focus remains as such, you will quickly be relieved of the burden of your dilemma by the action of circumstances beyond your control.

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