Resigning from a role is never a comfortable experience, and as a teacher you have to abide by a few rules, specifically when you need to resign, in order to leave when you actually want to. Let’s explore the ins and outs of resigning as a teacher, with a few helpful tips for a smooth transition.
When can I resign as a teacher?
For England and Wales, you’re expected to give one term’s notice, based on the conditions of service explained in The Burgundy Book. Let’s break the dates down:
I need to hand in my notice before In order to leave on
31st October 31st December
28th February 30th April
31st May 31st August
This varies depending on seniority, with members of Senior Leadership needing to provide up to two term’s notice and this could be even longer for Headteachers. It can also depend on individual schools’ policies so double-check before you start writing that resignation letter.
You’ll be paid up to and including the last day of the term you choose to leave on, but ensure you make it clear which date you’re leaving on in your letter of resignation.
Find your future role with Eteach.
Does this apply to all staff?
Not necessarily. Temporary teaching staff are exempt from conditions, as well as most support staff. Early departure can occur under special circumstances (such as illness). In such situations, individual cases are reviewed by the school.
- Speak to your line manager to ensure you’re handing in your notice at the right time.
- Consider the staffing plans of the school and how much notice they’ll need to make transition easier.
- Prepare a handover, whether they’ve found your replacement yet or not, it’s always helpful to provide useful information before you go.
Teaching recruitment is evolving and becoming busy throughout the year. There were concerns over the pandemic causing a disruption to notice periods for teachers and school leaders, however the Board of Education's Covid-19 resignation guidance recommends a flexible approach to those impacted by the pandemic. Interviews are also being held virtually and visits to schools are not encouraged at this time.
Can a teacher resign with immediate effect?
If you leave outside your contracted notice period and it has not been agreed upon, you’re breaching the terms of your contract and the school could take legal action. Be wary of making this choice as it can impact future references and opportunities. If you have no other option, speak to your Union for support.
How to write a resignation letter in the UK
We’ll all have to hand one in at some point in our lives. There’s very little difference between a resignation letter for teachers and other sectors. Whatever industry you’re in, a printed letter is always the best option when handing in your notice. Although an e-mail can suffice, a letter is best practice and opens the opportunity for conversation.
Here’s a few things to remember when writing yours:
- State the date you’ll be leaving. ‘With effect from the end of term’ could be misleading if you’re going halfway through the year. Be specific.
- Use a letter layout: their contact info, your contact info, paragraphs and don’t forget to sign on that dotted line!
- Remain respectful and professional, regardless of how you’re feeling – it’s the best course of action if you want to avoid burning any bridges.
- State your reasons for leaving. It could be a new opportunity has arisen or you’ve chosen to embark on a career change. Whatever the reason, keep it honest, positive and forward-thinking.
- Express gratitude for the opportunity. You’ll have learnt a lot, developed, progressed or gained important experience – thank them for this to leave on a good note and secure that positive reference.
- Remain formal with a positive tone. Now isn’t the time to vent your frustrations – request an exit interview to raise any concerns you feel the school should address.
- Be concise and to the point – a resignation letter doesn’t have to be an ode to the school.
- Show willingness to assist during the transition period. This may include your replacement shadowing you, creating a handover document, or just tying up those loose ends.
Teacher resignation template
<Headteacher’s contact information (name / role / address)>
<Your contact information (name / address)>
Dear Ms Doe,
I am writing to inform you of my resignation from my current role as <insert role title> in <insert department>, with effect from <insert date>.
I am leaving this position in order to <insert reason for leaving> and I would like to take this chance to thank you for the opportunity to work at <insert school name>. I have gained valuable experience and skills in this role that will assist me in future endeavours.
If I can help in anyway with this period of transition, please let me know.
Looking for your next role? Check out the Eteach job board for current vacancies or speak to our recruitment team on 01276 674 150.
About the author
After completing a BA in Creative Writing and a Masters in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester, Tammy worked as a Learning Support Assistant, with a focus on helping students develop their literacy skills. She then taught as an English teacher at an all-boys comprehensive school in Berkshire. Tammy now works for Eteach as Content Marketing Executive, where she can combine her passion for education and writing.