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School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document

This sets out provisions on teachers’ professional duties, working time and cover and is determined by the Government taking into account recommendations made by the School Teachers’ Review Body.

The Burgundy Book

A handbook detailing all the national conditions of service for school teachers in England and Wales, covering additional terms including notice periods, retirement, sick pay, maternity and other leave and insurance provisions.

The Green Book

The national agreement on pay and conditions of service, or ‘The Green Book’, contains a national agreement on pay and conditions of service for support staff and other non-teaching members of staff.

Most local authorities have incorporated The Green Book

Whether you need guidance about your employment rights or help with problems such as workload, bullying or accidents at work, NEU members have access to a wealth of expertise. NEU help and advice pages comprise FAQs and other guidance which address common employment workplace issues and are entirely problem focused.

Check out the advice and guidance on the NEU website where most issues will be covered.

General Advice Categories

If you haven't found what you need try looking through this A-Z listing of advice topics where most issues will be covered.

If your school has a NEU Rep, you may wish to speak to them as they may also be aware of others with the same concern and want to address the issue collectively. If they cannot help you with your own specific issue you can contact your local NEU District Secretary in Haringey on 020 8489 4525 or email

You can also contact the NEU Adviceline either by completing this online form

or by telephone 0345 811 8111 or click on the link in the panel top right.

Adviceline opening times are Monday to Friday 9am-7pm.

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To update your membership and for general enquiries please click here.

What are the notice periods and resignation dates?

The Burgundy Book national conditions of service agreement for teachers provides that classroom teachers, deputy headteachers and assistant headteachers are under two months' notice and in the summer term, three months' notice, terminating at the end of that school term.

For the purposes of resignations and notice periods, the dates of the three school terms are deemed to be:

  • for the autumn term, from 1 September to 31 December inclusive;
  • for the spring term, from 1 January to 30 April inclusive;
  • for the summer term, from 1 May to 31 August inclusive.

Therefore, teachers who wish to leave their jobs should observe the following deadlines when giving their notice:

  • to leave at 31 December, give notice by no later than 31 October;
  • to leave at 30 April, give notice by no later than 28 February;
  • to leave at 31 August, give notice by no later than 31 May.

It is important to note that these provisions only allow teachers to resign their posts with effect from the end of term. There is no right to leave at half term unless this is mutually agreed by the teacher and the school. Headteachers are under three months' notice and in the summer term, four months' notice. They must therefore give notice one month earlier than the above dates.

Pay during notice period

Teachers resigning their posts and giving the appropriate notice will be paid up to and including the last day of term as defined above, even though school holiday periods will start earlier than these dates. However, a teacher who resigns at the end of the spring term to take up another teaching post in a different local authority will be paid up to the day before the new school opens for the summer term if this is earlier than 1 May. Where any teacher resigns at the end of the spring term and is leaving teaching, the school could, and probably would, expect the teacher to be available for work up to 30 April given that the teacher would be paid for the whole of that month. In some circumstances, however, it might be possible for the teacher to leave at the end of the spring term, particularly if the replacement teacher is starting after the Easter holiday.

Leaving without giving the correct notice

If a teacher leaves without giving the correct notice, the teacher would be in breach of contract (unless there is agreement with the employer) and therefore could be subject to legal action. A TEACHER IS THEREFORE ADVISED NOT TO LEAVE A SCHOOL WITHOUT GIVING THE CORRECT NOTICE unless agreement is reached with the employer.

What is Directed Time?

A teacher can be directed for a maximum of 1265 hours over a maximum of 195 days (of which a maximum of 190 can involve contact with pupils) per year. This includes: before school briefings, the pupil day (minus the lunch break, but including morning/afternoon breaks), staff meetings, parents’ evenings, school trips, TAD’s and any other organised activities. We recommend that each headteacher be asked to draw up a time budget to demonstrate that the maximum will not be reached. The time budget should include an allowance of time for contingencies that may arise. Teachers cannot be directed to work during their lunch-time, weekends or holidays. There is no such protection for headteachers, deputies and assistant headteachers (other than the EU Working Time Directive).

What is PPA time?

All teachers should have 10% of their weekly timetable allocated as Planning, Preparation and Assessment time. This should be in blocks of at least 30 minutes and it is up to the teacher how to use it.

Got another question?

If your question has not been covered here, or you want more information, please contact us.