Where the employee has accepted a job offer and the start date has been agreed, as this will be a term of the contract the school will only be able to change the start date with the employee’s agreement, otherwise it would be in breach of contract. A new recruit may be prepared to accept such a change if the school explains the circumstances, particularly if the alternative is that the job offer will be withdrawn.

Withdrawing an offer in these circumstances will also constitute a breach of contract  and could result in a claim. Compensation to the candidate is generally limited to the financial equivalent of the notice period and it is common practice for the employer to pay this sum upon withdrawing the offer in recognition of the breach, thereby pre-empting any claim.

Teachers’ notice provisions under the Burgundy Book (applicable in maintained schools and elsewhere where adopted) are a minimum of two months, rising to three months in the summer term ending in all cases at the end of a term. For headteachers it is three months minimum, rising to four months in the summer term, again ending at the end of a term.