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Sabbaticals

One element of the National Career Pathways work was a recommendation that a system for teacher sabbaticals should be developed.  It has now been agreed by SNCT.

The agreement, set out in Part 2 Appendix 2.23 of the SNCT handbook of conditions of service provides for self-funded sabbaticals of up to one year.  There was a lot of discussion and debate leading to this point – much of which focussed on the teachers’ side argument for funded/part-funded sabbaticals until it was clear that this was not going to form part of this current position.

So, what exactly is a self-funded sabbatical?

The SNCT provisions define the purpose of a self-funded sabbatical as being “to provide employees with an opportunity to refresh and re-energise their careers and as such, there are no prescribed activities that a sabbatical must involve.”  Further, it states that the arrangement “provides a formal opportunity to obtain an extended break from work of up to 1 year.”

How does that differ from a career break?

Career breaks are also catered for in the SNCT handbook.  There are lots of similarities between career breaks and these new sabbaticals but some key differences too.  The key similarities are that both are unpaid and there is no specific expectation about what candidates might do during the break from teaching.

A career break (https://www.snct.org.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Appendix_2.15) can last between 6 months and five years.  Candidates are restricted to having either one five year career break or up to three shorter career breaks which must not exceed 5 years in total.  This restriction relates to a twenty year period.  Candidates can return to their own role where a career break is less than two years long.  To be able to apply for a career break, you must have two years service following achievement of the Standard for Full Registration with one full year of service between any subsequent career break.  Career breaks are entirely at the discretion of the employer.

A self-funded sabbatical can last between three months and one year.  You must have five years service before being able to apply and between any two sabbaticals.  A maximum of three career breaks are permitted in your career.  Candidates can expect to return to the role that they left.  A crucial difference is that councils are obliged to approve sabbaticals “up to a figure representing 1% of employees covered by SNCT terms and conditions.”  Further, it is expressly stated that LNCTs may agree to exceed this percentage if local circumstances permit.  In contrast with career breaks which are at the discretion of the council… “The allocation of self-funded sabbaticals should be undertaken by LNCTs in accordance with a mechanism agreed at LNCT.”

Finally, as these are separate provisions in the handbook, it would be possible to undertake both across your career.  

When should I apply?  What is the process?

The provisions set out that applications should be made to your council for consideration.  Each LNCT sill agree a mechanism for considering applications and allocating sabbaticals.  

Normally, applications stating the duration of the desired sabbatical should be submitted twelve months prior to the proposed start date.  There is an exception to this in the current year due to the delay in agreeing the sabbatical provisions at SNCT as a result of Covid pressures.  So, for this year only, candidates can submit an application prior to the end of 2021 for a sabbatical commencing at the start of the 2022/23 academic year.

Where can I find out more?

The SNCT provisions are set out here – https://www.snct.org.uk/wiki/i...

Members will also need to look out for LNCT agreed processes for applications.

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