Use of Temporary Contracts for Teaching Staff

The National Agreement “A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century” made a commitment to establish a national Code of Practice on the use of temporary contracts. This Code of Practice, which was agreed in March 2004, enables Local Negotiating Committees to replace paragraph 8.5 of the Teachers’ Conditions of Service with a locally negotiated agreement based on the Code of Practice.

The Code takes into account the Employment Rights Act 1996, as amended by the Employment Relations Act 1999 and the Employment Act 2002, as well as Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) and the Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002

The arrangements for short term supply and fixed term temporary engagements take into account the Code of Practice Short Term Supply Teachers.


The purpose of this local agreement is:

  • To establish good practice in the use of temporary contracts for teachers within Aberdeen City Council
  • To ensure that teachers on temporary contracts are not treated less favourably than teachers on permanent contracts
  • To enable the Council to manage teaching staffing requirements in a co-ordinated and structured way which is responsive to changes in service need
  • Wherever possible, to provide teachers with access to secure employment opportunities
  • To establish the circumstances under which transfer from temporary to permanent status will be considered
  • To define the appropriate use of fixed term contracts and supply teachers

Definition and Deployment of Fixed Term Contracts and Supply Teachers


Any post which is recognised as being required for more than 3 months, normal recruitment processes should be applied.

Fixed term contracts will be issued to cover the following circumstances:

  • Maternity leave
  • Parental leave
  • Adoption leave
  • Career break
  • Long term sickness absence
  • Secondment
  • Sabbaticals
  • Staffing from time limited funding
  • Cover for Trade Union facility time


In circumstances where cover is required in a school, and it is known from the outset that the engagement will last for 3 or more days, a fixed term temporary contract will be issued.

Fixed term temporary contracts will also be issued where a short term supply engagement extends beyond 2 days.

  • The maximum weekly hours will be 35, of which a maximum of 25 will be class contact, dependent on the provisions of the school’s collegiate agreement on Working Hours, Working Week
  • The teacher will be expected to undertake the full duties of a teacher as detailed within paragraph 2.3 of the SNCT Handbook.
  • A pro forma will be made available to schools to be completed for all fixed term temporary engagements. Once signed, this should be emailed to for the attention of the relief team. This document will give the same employment rights as a Fixed Term Temporary Engagement.
  • For all engagements extending beyond 1 month, a fixed term contract will also be issued.
  • For engagements of up to 6 months, teachers should continue to claim payment by completing the S56A monthly timesheet


On occasion, there will be a requirement to provide cover for one or two days . On such occasions, the Council will offer short term supply engagements to teachers on the supply bank. There is no obligation on the Council to provide work to teachers on the supply bank, nor is there any obligation on such teachers to accept work if offered.

Examples of instances in which short term supply engagements may arise include, but are not limited to:

  • in service training/staff development/working groups
  • short term special leave, for example, bereavement leave, jury duty
  • short term sickness absence
  • trade union duties arranged on an ad-hoc basis
  • SQA duties
  • public duties

Should a period of work which was initially identified as short term extend beyond 3 days, a fixed term contract will be issued. The entire period will be counted for the purposes of transfer to permanent employment status.

The following terms of engagement apply to short term supply:

  • As detailed in the SNCT Pay and Conditions Agreement, the maximum daily class contact time for short term supply (ie 1 or 2 days) will be equivalent to the pupil day.
  • At the time of offer the teacher will be informed of the number of hours of class contact.
  • In cases where the teacher teaches for the full pupil day without a period of non contact time, he/she will be entitled to uplift of 10% of the class contact hours in respect of non contact time.
  • A Short Term Supply Engagement Pro-Forma will be made available to schools to be completed for all short term supply engagements. Once signed, this should be emailed to 


All teachers recruited to undertake work on a fixed term or a supply basis will be appointed in accordance with Aberdeen City Council’s Recruitment and Selection Procedure.

Transfer to Permanent Status


It is open to temporary teachers to apply for teaching posts advertised by the Council. Such posts will be filled in accordance with agreed recruitment and selection procedures.


A temporary teacher may apply for a transfer to the permanent staff, and the application shall not normally be refused, where the teacher has given satisfactory continuous service for a period of two years or two school sessions. 

Where a temporary teacher has satisfactorily held a series of fixed term contracts which have not been continuous, but where the duration of contracts totals 24 months or more over a period not exceeding 3 calendar years, s/he can make application for transfer to permanent status. Such a transfer will not normally be refused.

Continuous service is deemed to be service which has not been broken by a period of at least one complete calendar week.

In transferring a temporary teacher to the permanent staff the Council will endeavour to place that teacher in a vacancy within his/her preferred school, but this cannot be guaranteed. It should be noted that the order of precedence in the placement of teaching staff within schools will be compulsory transferees, temporary teachers who have made application for transfer to permanent status, then probationers.


A temporary teacher who will meet the service criteria by the end of the academic session, and who wishes to apply for permanency under this procedure, MUST have made an application by 31st March. This application should be made on the Application for Transfer from Temporary to Permanent Staff Pro-Forma, and should be supported by the Head Teacher. Where permanency is granted, this will take effect from the start of the next academic session.

Existing part time permanent staff should also use the pro forma to apply for additional temporary service to be made permanent e.g. a teacher on a permanent 0.5 contract who has been doing temporary work which meets the service criteria.

A circular advising of the application for permanency process will be sent to schools by the end of February each year. 

Review of the Procedure

 The Human Resources Section will review this procedure every 3 years. It will, nevertheless, be subject to continual review and amendment in light of experience of its operation, employment best practice and statutory requirements. Changes will only be made following normal consultation arrangements.

Relevant Documents

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