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Conditions of Service in Northern Ireland


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Teachers' Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee (Schools)

The Teachers' Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee (Schools) was established to reach agreement on teachers' pay and conditions of service of teachers in grant aided schools in Northern Ireland. The NASUWT negotiates agreements with the Department for Education (DENI), including the content of Teachers' Negotiating Committee (TNC) Circulars on a range of policies and procedures (see below).

Information on pay issues is available on the NASUWT webpage Pay in Northern Ireland.

NASUWT Industrial Action 

Notices to employers of the action to be taken and the action instructions to members were issued at the beginning of January 2009. The action taken by NASUWT members has succeeded in putting in place measures that have now become the normal working practices in most schools. Further NASUWT national action short of strike action instructions were issued on 18 November to take effect from 1 December 2011. These practices have had a real impact on reducing teacher workload. It is, therefore, important that these gains are consolidated. 

In 2012, the NASUWT held a formal meeting with the Education Minister, John O’Dowd MLA, to discuss the Union’s national trade dispute and the actions needed to resolve the dispute. The meeting was cordial and generally positive, with the Minister open to discussing all aspects of the NASUWT trade dispute: pensions, pay, conditions of service, workload and job loss. The Union has written to the Minister since the meeting reiterating its concerns and setting out the next steps for resolution of the dispute. 

New action short of strike action instructions began on 26 September 2012 and can be found on the NASUWT industrial action website at www.nasuwt.org.uk/IndustrialAction.

Conditions of Service Document

Model circulars, issued by the Employing Authorities/employer representatives on teachers conditions of service are available from the Department of Education (new window) (DENI).

The Teachers' (Terms and Conditions of Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987 No. 267 (and Amendment Regulations 1988 No. 299) (new window) make provision as to the terms and conditions of employment of teachers in grant-aided schools and to peripatetic teachers. 

Policies and Procedures - TNC Circulars

Details of employment conditions and procedures (new window) can be found in the TNC circulars on the DENI website and some of the most commonly used are listed below. 

Allegations of abuse against a member of staff

The purpose of this guidance is to provide advice to Principals and Boards of Governors (BoG) of educational institutions about dealing with allegations of abuse against a member of staff.


This circular supercedes TNC 2008/3 and provides details of the grievance procedure which a teacher, including a Principal or Vice Principal may use to raise a grievance with his/her employer.

This protocol is an addendum to relevant procedures.  Existing procedures serve the majority of those with a grievance/complaint however there may be occassions when co workers working for different employers/employing authorities wish to initiate a grievance/complaint against one or other.


This document outlines the mediation principles and procedure which will be used by the employers' internal mediation team.

Effective teaching and leadership

These procedures are designed to assist Boards of Governors and Employing Authorities in adopting a consistent approach in instances where the work or aspects of the work of a Principal or Teacher is giving cause for concern.

School re-organisation

This Agreement sets out the common approaches to issues which may affect the Terms and Conditions of Employment of teachers arising from: the creation of a new school through the amalgamation of two or more existing schools/the closure of an existing school/the establishment of new models of schools governance within an area/the creation of a new jointly managed schools.

The attached Determination gives effect in law to new arrangements for payment of a Re-organisation Allowance.

Removal of default retirement age

 This agreement provides guidance for school principals regarding the removal of the default retirement age.

Workload agreement

This agreement recognises the importance of Boards of Governors ensuring that the workload of all principals, vice principals and teachers is managed fairly and consistently to ensure that all teaching professionals can discharge their roles and responsibilities effectively for the benefit of the teaching and learning of pupils.  Supplementary guidance material is also included.


This procedure sets out the principles and procedures to be followed as soon as a redundancy situation has been identified by the relevant body. 

Bullying and harassment of teachers

This procedure sets out the procedures for a teacher to pursue a legitimate claim of bullying and/or harassment by another member of staff (teaching or support staff) within the context of their employment in the school. 

Planning, preparation and assessment

This document advises that  Principals and Board of Governors should evaluate the potential to introduce PPA time for all teachers in their school and attempt to timetable and guarantee this time where possible.

Primary teaching, principal release time

This circular sets out the arrangements from September 2008 for one additional day per week Principal release time for teaching Principals in small primary schools.  It also sets out the funding arrangements for the current financial year.

Teacher misconduct and disciplinary

This procedure provides a fair and consistent way of dealing with alleged teacher misconduct. 

This letter provides Governors with supplementary advice on dealing with matters of misconduct of teachers, and sets out the arrangements for reporting incidences that warrant precautionary suspension.

This procedure sets out the agreed procedures for dealing with unsatisfactory work and includes informal, formal and appeal mechanisms.

Exceptional closures

This circular provides advice on the use of optional days and the circumstances in which the Department will consider a request from a school for an exceptional closure day.

Termination on grounds of capability

This procedure provides for the fair and consistent treatment of teachers in those circumstances where consideration is to be given to the termination of employment on the grounds of ill health or capability.

Performance Review and Staff Development (PRSD)

This circular supersedes TNC 2009/10 and sets out the framework for the Performance Review and Staff Development Scheme which applies to all qualified teachers, other than beginning teachers or those participating in Induction or Early Professional Development (EPD).  The link below includes guidance material for Governors and Principals.

Family Friendly Rights

Documents outlining family friendly rights for teachers can be found in the Leave of absence (new window) section of the DENI website, including:

The NI Direct website provides more general information and guidance on work and family rights for Working Parents and Families (new window), including specific advice and guidance on Pregnancy and Maternity Rights in the workplace (new window).

The NASUWT produces guidance for members with children on the provisions for maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave. The guidance also contains information on rights to time off for family and domestic reasons.

Advice on the legal requirements in assessing risks in relation to new and expectant mothers’ job activities is set out in the Health and Safety Executive webpages for New and Expectant Mothers at Work (new window).

Members have the right to apply to work flexibly under the terms of the Flexible Working Scheme (TNC 2009/6) (new window) where they have worked continuously for 26 weeks (6 months) as a teacher in Northern Ireland at the date the application is made. This is no longer restricted to just parents and carers. An employee can only make one statutory request in any 12 month period.

The NASUWT, through the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council, successfully negotiated the opportunity for teachers to participate in salary sacrifice schemes for childcare vouchers/benefits, cycles for work and mobile phones.  Circular 2006/27 Teachers' Pay and Allowances from 1 September 2006 and 1 September 2007 (new window).

Temporary workers and substitute teachers

Any teacher taking on a temporary or ‘fixed-term’ contract should consult the Union. The NASUWT also provides advice on the rights of Substitute (Supply) Teachers and Teachers working for employment agencies.

Further information or assistance

Members needing further information or assistance should contact their Local Association Secretary or the Northern Ireland National Centre.

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Related Links

Please note that all of the links listed below will open in a new window.

Employment Conditions and Procedures

Teachers' (Terms and Conditions of Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987 (and the Amendment Regulations of 1988, No. 299) 

DE Circular 2015/13 Dealing with Allegations of Abuse against a Member of Staff

TNC 2014/6 Grievance Procedure

TNC 2011/7 Joint Protocol for Dealing with Grievances/Complaints involving Staff Employed by Different Employer/Employing Authorities

Annex A of TNC 2014-6 Mediation Procedure  

TNC 2013/4 Procedure for Supporting Effective Teaching in Schools

TNC 2013/3 Procedure for Supporting Effective Leadership by School Principals

TNC 2013/2 The School Re-organisation Agreement

DE Circular 2013/17 Re-organisation Allowance

TNC 2012/01 Guidance on the Removal of the Default Retirement Age

TNC 2011/8 Workload Agreement  

TNC 2010/1 Procedure for Handling Teacher Redundancies (Revised December 2013)

TNC 2009/11 Policy & Procedure to Combat Bullying & Harassment of Teachers including Principals and Vice Principals in Grant Aided Schools

TNC 2009/8 Planning Preparation and Assessment (PPA) Time Policy Statement.  

DE Circular 2008/17 Primary Teaching Principal Release Time

TNC 2007/5 Disciplinary Procedure

Misconduct of Teachers (December 1999)

Procedures for dealing with Principals, Vice Principals and Teachers whose work is unsatisfactory (October 1997)

TNC 2007/3 Collective Agreement

DE Circular 2013/19 - School optional and exceptional school closure days

TNC 2000/4 Termination of Employment of Teachers

TNC 2014/1 Performance Review and Staff Development Scheme

Parental leave

Paternity leave 

Adoption leave

Maternity leave

Temporary variation of contract

Flexible working

Absence due to the negligence of a third party

Absences due to union business