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During the Spring Term each year local authorities assess their teaching needs for the following session.  This may result in the necessity to declare all or part of a teacher’s post surplus in their current school.  This can be extremely difficult for those who have built relationships within the local community with colleagues and with local families.  However, a teacher’s contract is to their local council and they can be placed anywhere within this area.

When a surplus is known the first step is for this to be announced to each affected department and volunteers sought.  There are occasions where individual teachers may wish to move for their own reasons and may therefore volunteer to be selected for transfer.  If no-one volunteers then the teacher with the least service with the authority will be identified.   Where there are two teachers with exactly the same service there is usually a drawing of lots.

The surplus may be for a whole post or part of a post.  Where it is for part of a post we would expect the authority to try to accommodate teachers as conveniently as possible, i.e. to remain partially surplus in their current school until a suitable vacancy arises or to work between two schools within a manageable distance.

Any members identified as surplus should obtain the local Surplus Transfer Policy for their area.  This policy will be available from their Head Teacher, from their Human Resources Department or on their intranet.  The policy should outline what the member can expect over the coming months.  At this point the authority will usually put a hold on advertising any suitable vacancies externally and these will be made available to those declared surplus.

Any members who are absent through illness, on secondment, on maternity/paternity leave or on a career break must be kept informed in writing of the evolving staffing position, and any changes as they occur.

The main points usually included in any local policy are:

  • the protection of future surplus transfer for a period of time, usually at least two years
  • the option to return to the previous school should a vacancy arise within a set time period
  • the travel allowance, if applicable, and how long this will be paid

Any members who find themselves in this position can contact the office for advice by email via or telephone 0131-313 7300.