When can I resign?
I’m going to an interview next week for a job in another school. I know the deadline for resignations is the end of half term, so if I don’t get this one, have I lost the chance to start in a new school next term?
It all depends on your contract.
If you are in a Local Authority maintained school in England and Wales, rather than an Academy, a Free School or an Independent School, there are set dates for teachers to hand in their resignation. These dates are 31st October, 28th or 29th February, and 31st May.
It is quite important to note these dates; they coincide roughly with some half terms, but it is not the actual half term that counts, but the date. So be careful that you note the actual end-of-month date, and not just assume that the last day for handing in your notice is the end of the week.
Check the small print
In other schools, the deadlines may be different; many independent schools, for example, require you to give notice on or before the first day of term in order to resign for the next term. If you are in an indy, do you know if it is ON or BEFORE the first day?
And there is at least one independent school which requires you to resign by the LAST DAY OF PREVIOUS TERM. Since this could mean that you had to resign during March to leave at the end of August, there's a good chance that you could challenge this legally as being unreasonable amount of notice. But nonetheless try to stick to this.
Check your contract because if you miss it, the school could insist on you staying. If you don’t resign in time at the beginning of the summer term, for example, then you are theoretically stuck there until Christmas, eight or nine months.
I say theoretically, because although these are the official deadlines, it may be possible for anyone in any kind of school to leave without giving the due notice. People sometimes leave at half term, or at the end of term but having given late notice.
However, this is the exception rather than the rule, and it has to be negotiated with the headteacher and probably the governors. It is possible that they would agree to this, if they feel that they could appoint a suitable replacement in time for the beginning of term.
But they won’t agree where they believe that it would put the learning of students at risk because it is unlikely that they could appoint a suitable replacement. So if you are in a shortage subject (teaching four sets of A-level Physics, for example), you have less chance of them making an exception for you.
Here are a couple of other articles
Missing the resignation deadline
Asking to leave earlier than your contractual leaving date