Unions urge schools to be flexible on teacher resignations


Schools are being urged to be flexible on teacher resignations in the coming months so that teachers can still move around the education system.

Fearing a ‘deficit of teachers’ who are unable to move schools, education unions have advised leaders to use online recruitment and interview methods.

Resignation dates for staff looking to start fresh in September, as set out in the burgundy book, are at the end of April for headteachers and the end of May for other school staff, meaning the coming months usually see a surge in recruitment.

However, in light of the coronavirus outbreak, unions have ruled out changing the dates and have instead urged schools to be flexible around late resignations.

Overcoming a challenge

In a bid to ensure there’s not a shortfall of teachers or school leaders by September, the unions have opened discussions with the government to discuss the best approach.

The Association of School and College Leaders’ policy director Julie McCulloch described the outbreak as a “significant challenge”, especially at schools where recruitment is already an issue.

She stressed the need for schools to carry out recruitment in a “meaningful and fair way” using all the available technology.

It comes as the Local Government Association (LGA), National Governance Association and education unions released guidance for schools using the burgundy book as to how potential disruption could impact on the recruitment and resignation process.

The new guidance explained

The guidance states that the resignation dates will not be moved since the current situation is impacting schools in different ways.

“In this difficult period there will need to be an element of flexibility all round,” it states. “We would encourage schools to have a flexible response if it appears that teachers and leaders are impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and submit a resignation outside of the normal timeframe.”

The LGA said it recognises that disruption to notice periods is likely and that schools could “inevitably be limited” on what they can do using online interviews.

The Department for Education meanwhile has said it trusts schools to use their judgement on issues surrounding teacher recruitment in the coming weeks.

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