School support staff: when to give notice

A frequent request from UNISON members working in school is for advice when they are leaving their post at the end of the school year about what date should be given as their resignation date.

For support staff leaving during the year, the period of notice required is given in your contract. Term Time Only (TTO) staff resigning positions in July at the end of the school term have two options depending on their planned job change.

When school support staff leave their post, payroll will perform a ‘recalculation’ to determine whether any over or underpayment has taken place.  This may result in the last salary payment being adjusted.

It is important to remember:

  • Term-time only school support staff are generally only paid for 38 or 39 weeks of the year plus their annual leave, based on contractual entitlement and INSET day status. This period represents the school academic year, from September to the last day of the summer term. The salary payment is divided into 12 equal months, so staff receive a salary payment in August.
  • There is no financial advantage in stating a resignation date of 31 August, as no further hours are worked after the last day of term, but it might be appropriate to quote 31 August if ‘continuity of service’ should apply as you are going onto another school or academy or council role.
  • The amount of money received in the last salary payment is the same regardless of whether notice is handed in during the summer break or before the end of the summer term. A member could hand their notice in 4 weeks before the end of summer term in July, or 4 weeks before the start of winter term in September and the calculation would be the same.
  • The anniversary of the appointment to the role you are resigning from is key to the final salary payment calculation performed by payroll.

In answer to the question:

If someone in a school leaves at the end of the academic year, what is their last day of employment?

For continuity of service, it needs to be remembered for support staff it depends on what an individual is doing next and whether continuity of service would apply:

  • If moving to a term-time only role in another local authority-maintained school, an academy school or any other role in a local authority, the date given should be last day of the holiday period, so continuous service is maintained.
  • If an individual is moving from a term-time only role to all year-round work, the last day of term is usually given.
  • If moving to an organisation not included in the modification order, or outside the local authority employer, and continuity of service wouldn’t apply, this should be the last day of term.

The above is in place to enable continuous service, which is important for maintaining employment rights such as unfair dismissal, redundancy eligibility, sickness absence pay entitlement and annual leave.  Questions about employment contracts and pay should initially be directed to the School Business Manager; contract queries can be answered by HR; and pay queries by Payroll (the number for Payroll is usually on the salary slip).

It is equally important to consider continuity of UNISON membership.

Please contact the branch admin office straight away if you are leaving your job to go and work in another school or UNISON-related work, whether you pay subscriptions by direct debit or salary deduction. The UNISON branch relies on members to keep us updated and ensure membership records are correct, as we are not always notified by employers or payroll departments when a member leaves their role.

Contact to the branch office can be by email ( or phone call (01243 777636). Branch administrators can arrange with you to maintain and transfer membership to your new job or advise on membership options if you are retiring or have been made redundant. The consequences of not doing so could lead to a lapse in membership altogether, or a delay in or not being able to access support when it is needed.

Please remember it is important to retain your UNISON West Sussex membership.