Headteacher notice periods and resignation deadlines

Find out how much notice headteachers and heads of school must give in maintained schools and academies.

Last reviewed on 17 February 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 3945
  1. Statutory and contractual notice periods
  2. Heads of school
  3. Notice for retiring 

Note: these notice periods apply to employees resigning or retiring – different rules apply to notice periods for dismissal. 

Statutory and contractual notice periods

Check your headteacher's contract, as it should include their notice period. 

Statutory notice periods for headteachers of maintained schools are set out in the Burgundy Book (the Conditions of Service for School Teachers in England and Wales, hosted on the National Education Union's website). Academies and foundation and voluntary-aided schools don't have to follow this, but most do. 

Most headteachers' contractual notice periods are longer than the legal minimum, and longer than other teachers. In the Burgundy Book, they're required to give 3 months' notice in the autumn and spring terms and 4 months in the summer term.  

The deadlines it sets out are: 

For those schools that don't