You are here:

Last reviewed on 9 March 2021
Ref: 3975
School types: All · School phases: All

Know what your board needs to do if your headteacher is absent for the short-term or long-term, for example if they're on sick leave or have resigned. Download and adapt our template letter to communicate the situation to parents.

Please note: this article applies mostly to maintained schools. If you're an academy, check your funding agreement to be clear about your responsibilities when your headteacher (or equivalent) is absent. 

Make sure someone steps in for the headteacher

It's your board's responsibility to make sure a member of staff is appointed to carry out the functions of a headteacher if:

  • Your headteacher is absent, or 
  • Your school is waiting to appoint a new headteacher

However, if your school is expected to be without a headteacher for a long time, your board should look to formalise arrangements as soon as possible. This is explained on page 9 of the Department for Education's (DfE's) Staffing and Employment Advice for Schools.

You might not have all the details of the absence

You may not know how long they’ll be absent for

More from The Key

The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.