Changes to your employment contract as a teacher


You may be concerned if there are changes to be made to your employment contract as a member of school staff.

You may be employed on the terms of the The School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) or you could work at an independent school with their own terms of employment, which might outline details on accommodation or reduced fees for your own children, for example.

If you are an Edapt subscriber, you can contact us to clarify any information in your employment contract you are unsure about.

We have published another support article which provides information on the key details you should look out for in your employment contract. 

We have also published an article about the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE).

We are even contacted by some school staff who explain they never received an employment contract when starting their role. It is always important to ask your school or Trust for a copy of your employment contract especially if you are starting at a new school.

In this support article, we outline guidance from ACAS and Citizens Advice with information on changes to your employment contract.

Changes to your employment contract: what do I need to  know?

ACAS explains that changes to employment contracts can be agreed in different ways, including when:

  • A change is proposed by either you or your employer, which you then discuss and agree with your employer
  • You agreed to a term in your contract that allows your employer to make changes to certain terms of your employment in some circumstances – sometimes known as a ‘flexibility clause’ or ‘variation clause’
  • A change happens through ‘custom and practice’ – your terms and conditions change over time and everyone’s agreement can be implied

When might my school propose contract changes?

Examples of when your employer may need to consider employment contract changes include:

  • To make sure your contract is up to date with new laws or regulations
  • To better reflect your job role, if it has changed
  • To introduce or change terms and conditions for staff, for example contractual redundancy pay, enhanced maternity or paternity leave, or details of a pension scheme
  • To reflect changes to your organisation, for example if it’s considering moving to a different location or changing who people report to
  • To help your organisation better adapt to changing needs
  • Economic reasons, for example if your organisation is considering a restructure or other changes

If your employer is considering changes that may affect your contract, they must:

  • Explain the change they’re considering and the reasons why
  • Consult with you – this means they must ask for and genuinely consider your views

ACAS explains in some circumstances, you might want to propose an employment contract change to your employer. For example, if:

  • Your job role has changed since you started working for your employer
  • You want to ask for improved terms and conditions
  • You want to make a flexible working request

Your employer does not have to agree to every change you propose, but they should always listen to you and consider your proposal.

What is a variation clause?

Citizens Advice explains that some contracts of employment contain a variation clause  that can allow your employer to make changes to your contract. Whether your employer can use this to make the changes they want depends on several things, such as how the clause is worded and the desired change.

They won’t be able to rely on it if it’d be a breach of the implied term of ‘trust and confidence’ – for example because the change was unreasonable or being introduced without notice.

If you are an Edapt subscriber, you can contact our casework team to discuss any part of your employment contract and any questions you may have.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.