While a one to three-month notice period is the standard across many UK businesses, you may wonder if the same applies to teaching. Understanding how much notice you need to give if you decide to leave your teaching role is essential as if you don’t provide the correct amount of notice, your school could decline to give you a reference or even take legal action for breach of contract.
While there is no definitive answer, as contracts may vary from school to school, the standard notice period for teachers is two months for those resigning in the autumn or winter term and three for those resigning in the summer term. Schools and colleges require a long notice period as leaving teaching in the middle of a term or in the lead-up to exams could affect your pupil's education. Schools should make any changes to their teaching staff as seamless and non-disruptive as possible. A three-month notice period allows them to find a suitable replacement in good time so children’s learning is not affected.
The easiest way to find out your notice period, if uncertain, is to check your contract. If, for some reason, your notice period isn't stated in your agreement, it is most likely that the statutory minimum notice period will apply.
Typically a teacher should write a resignation letter to the headteacher if they decide to leave their post. Headteachers need to submit their resignation to the chair of governors. Most publicly funded schools in England use the Burgundy Book - conditions of Service for Teachers in England and Wales as a guide. In here, you can find the notice periods for teachers employed in local authority schools.
If you want to leave your teaching position but cannot give the right amount of notice, the best next step is to talk to your employer to explain your reasons. It will be at their discretion, however, as to whether they ask you to uphold your notice period or not. For more details, including the dates by which you must give notice for each term in 2023, check out our other post here.