Probationary periods for teachers

Find out when you should seek legal advice about introducing probationary periods, and see an example of a school's probation policy.

Last reviewed on 16 February 2022
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 12076
  1. No national guidance
  2. Seek legal advice
  3. Early career teachers (ECT)
  4. Example of a probation policy

No national guidance

There is no legislation from the DfE on probationary periods for teachers.

A DfE representative told The Key that it provides no specific guidance on whether schools can place teachers on probationary periods. You can contact the DfE here.

There's also no mention of probationary periods in the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) or the Conditions of Service for School Teachers in England and Wales (the Burgundy Book).

Seek legal advice

Our associate expert, Lucinda Bell, advised that schools can likely employ teachers on probationary periods, due to the lack of guidance that says they can't. This includes both schools who follow the STPCD and the Burgundy Book, and schools who do not.

However, you should seek HR and legal advice when seeking to change teachers' contracts to include probationary periods, and always follow employment law.