Newly updated Burgundy Book launched for school teachers

A handbook setting out the conditions of service for school teachers in England and Wales has been updated for the first time in over two decades.
The Burgundy Book is a national agreement between the five teacher unions and the national employers (NEOST).

It is relevant to around half a million teachers and is an essential reference for all schools – both maintained and academies – with the majority choosing to incorporate the agreement into their teachers’ contracts of employment.

Its main provisions relate to notice periods, sick leave and pay, and maternity leave and pay.

The 2023 edition updates legislation and clarifies terminology without amending the application of any of the terms and conditions of employment contained in the Burgundy Book.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We welcome the updated version of the Burgundy Book. The vast majority of schools and trusts follow the provisions of the Burgundy Book as having common conditions of service is vital to the recruitment and retention of teaching staff and therefore educational standards. This project demonstrates what can be achieved through careful and meticulous negotiation, and ASCL looks forward to continuing this work alongside the other trade unions and NEOST in the future.

Paul Barber, Director of the Catholic Education Service, said: “We welcome the publication of the June 2023 edition of the Burgundy Book, and we are grateful to those who have worked hard to complete this project.  Catholic schools make up nearly a tenth of state-funded education, employing more than 47,500 staff, and as an active member of NEOST we were pleased to participate in the update process.

Steve Rollett, Deputy Chief Executive, Confederation of School Trusts, said: “As members of the national employers (NEOST) we welcome that NEOST has undertaken this work to update the Burgundy Book.  We know that many of our members choose to adopt the terms set out in the Burgundy Book (along with the STPCD) and the arrival of this new version will be of interest to many school trusts.”
Helen Osgood, National Officer for Education and Early Years at Community, said: “An awful lot has changed in the more than 20 years since the Conditions of Service for School Teachers were last published.  This issue updates the language and legislation, but most importantly it protects the key terms and conditions for teachers that are so vital to securing and growing our workforce.  In a competitive employment market this ‘Burgundy Book’ highlights some of the benefits of being a teacher, and we expect all employers to adopt it to ensure that all teachers, wherever they teach, can be sure of the same provisions and protections.” 

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The publication of this update to the Burgundy Book is very welcome and represents an enormous amount of work from everybody involved. The Burgundy Book is central to all teacher’s terms and conditions so this update – the first in over two decades – will be essential for all schools.

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said: “The NASUWT welcomes the publication of the 2023 version of the Conditions of Service for School Teachers In England and Wales (the Burgundy Book) which was last updated back in 2000.

“The work undertaken between trade unions and employers to produce a revised technical update of the Burgundy Book ensures that it is fit for purpose and reflects changes in legislation and terminology since 2000, whilst still retaining all the key provisions and contractual entitlements members value

Nigel Genders, Chief Executive for The National Society, said: “The Church of England provides nearly 4,700 schools and academies which employ thousands of staff. We therefore welcome the update to the Burgundy Book and thank NEOST and all the team for their hard work and dedication in the delivery of this project.”

Cllr Roger Phillips, Chairman of the National Employers Organisation for School Teachers (NEOST), said: “We are delighted to announce an updated and refreshed Burgundy Book so that it is fit for purpose in 2023. This sets the conditions of service for thousands of teachers across England and Wales. 

“All schools and councils are ambitious to improve the life chances of all our children and young people in their communities.  

“They understand the key role they play as employers of teachers and leaders in supporting a national collectively agreed framework which provides both a fair and transparent set of conditions to support the attraction, recruitment and retention of good teachers and school leaders.

Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union (NEU), said: “The NEU welcomes the publication of the 2023 version of The Conditions Of Service For School Teachers In England and Wales, more commonly known as the Burgundy Book, which was last updated in August 2000.  This updated version of the Burgundy Book continues to set out the conditions of service for school teachers in England and Wales and has been updated to reflect modern terminology, accuracy and changes to legislation since 2000. 

“The Burgundy Book is essential for all schools and the vast majority of academies who have adopted the agreement into their teachers’ contracts of employment.  We are pleased that this work is now complete, and the Burgundy Book will maintain its significance for the foreseeable future