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Recruitment - FAQ’s - HR Queries during Current Exceptional School Closure Period

Recruitment - FAQ’s - HR Queries during Current Exceptional School Closure Period

In order to avoid a significant back log of work when schools return to normal working, the following advice and guidance allows for a number of HR related matters to progress:-

A teacher wishing to return from long term sickness absence.

The guidance outlined in Teacher Attendance procedure still applies (TNC 2008/2)

  • Appropriate notice (1 weeks’ notice) and supportive dialogue with management to ensure a smooth transition back to work.
  • Statement of Fitness for Work completed to sign them off as now fully fit to be at work.  In the current circumstances if the teacher has difficulty in getting an appointment with their GP to obtain “statement of fitness for work” they should telephone their GP to seek confirmation that they can return to work and undertake the work safely – thereafter the teacher should email the Principal to confirm they have had this discussion with their GP and can provide a statement of fitness to work retrospectively.
  • An OH referral may be arranged if concerns around support are still present (telephone/ virtual)
  • Principal and teacher will discuss their participation in preparing for online resources and remote learning with pupils, liaison with colleagues or helping with supervision in the school setting (if applicable).
  • Principal will inform the Teachers’ Pay and Administration Branch at the Department of Education.

Where a Principal is concerned about the support arrangements in place for those returning they should contact their HR Adviser (via email or mobile)

A teacher wishing to return from maternity leave early

The guidance outlined in Teacher’s Maternity Leave Scheme still applies (TNC 2015/2)

  • Appropriate notice (at least 28 days) and supportive dialogue with management to ensure a smooth transition back to work.
  • A teacher must notify the Principal (in writing at least 28 days before the day on which she proposes to return) of the date of her intended return if this is before or after the date specified on the TR160. Where this notification is not given, the school can postpone her return for a period of up to 28 days, but not to a date after the end of the maternity leave period previously specified.
  • Where a teacher proposes to end her maternity leave before the end of the 26 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave (either where stipulated on the TR160 or as subsequently changed) on a date that falls during a school vacation, she must submit a fit to resume certificate from her GP on the day before the commencement of duties.
  • Principal and teacher will discuss their participation in preparing for online resources and remote learning with pupils, liaison with colleagues or helping with supervision in the school setting (if applicable).
  • Principal will inform the Teachers’ Pay and Administration Branch at the Department of Education.

Where a Principal is concerned about the support arrangements in place for those returning they should contact their HR Adviser (via email or mobile)

Substitute Teachers

  • If a school had booked a substitute teacher through NISTR this should be honoured. There should be no early termination of NISTR bookings which were agreed and in place prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.  This includes any bookings currently registered on the NISTR system and any bookings which have been verbally agreed between the school and the substitute teacher.  

For example – if a substitute teacher was booked to cover sick leave/ maternity leave – and the teachers on sick/maternity leave return to work – the school should continue to pay the substitute teacher for the ‘period of engagement’ that had been initially agreed.

  • At this stage there is no commitment by DE to providing additional funding to schools in this sort of situation.  However, any additional pay costs should be recorded by the school at this stage.

Can a teacher still retire on 31 August 2020?

  • Contractually a teacher is required to give 4 months’ notice to their school if they wish to retire on 31 August 2020 (i.e. before 30 April 2020).
  • Due to the lockdown measures all recruitment processes are currently paused. Depending on whether the school can release a teacher by accepting and approval of the resignation/retirement of a teacher [on 31 August 2020] consideration should be given as to how to fill the vacancy this might create to deliver the curriculum when the school returns to normal working. (Reference recruitment process below)
  • Teachers retiring on 31 August 2020 who wish to access their pension are required to completed a TP4 form (application for retirement benefits) which can be accessed via following link:-

https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/application-retirement-benefits-tp4

  • Teacher’s Pensions (DE) are accepting applications electronically – if a teacher is completing the TP4 form (to access their pension and retirement benefits) they should complete the relevant sections and scan/email a copy to the HR adviser for the school who will authorize electronically and forward to DE on the teacher’s behalf. Please note: - DE also require a copy of the teacher’s birth certificate (scanned and submitted via email). 
  • Any teacher wishing to access their Pension and Retirement Benefits in conjunction with a redundancy payment, their TP4 form should be completed and returned by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ill Health Retirements

A teacher who is suffering from ill health and wishes to apply for retirement (on the grounds of ill health) should complete a TP5 form which is available on the DE website via the following link:-

https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/applying-retirement-benefits-1

TP5’s are completed by a teacher’s GP and can be supported by additional medical evidence. 

The TP5 form should be scanned and sent through to CCMS for countersigning before it is sent to Teachers Pensions.  If you have a teacher who wishes to apply for ill health retirement please advise them to contact angela.armstrong@ccmsschools. com to discuss.

Recruitment Process

Due to the restrictions imposed by the lockdown measures all recruitment processes are currently paused. 

Principal/Vice Principal Vacancies

Principal vacancies linked to retirement or taking up a new post in another school – the HR adviser for the school will liaise with the Chair of Board of Governors to discuss.

Teacher Vacancies

We would ask schools to liaise with their HR Adviser if a teaching vacancy is identified in advance of a return to normal working. CCMS are currently reviewing how best to plan for recruitment so that schools can be operational on day one.

Teacher’s resigning from their post: -

A copy of the resignation letter of any teacher resigning from their post (once accepted by Governors) should be sent to Teachers’ Pay and Admin Branch (DE) with the monthly teacher returns for payroll purposes.

Please refer to “Guidance on Governance in Catholic Maintained Schools during the Current Exceptional Closure Period” which can be accessed on the CCMS website which provides advice in relation to Board of Governors and decision making in the interim period.

Redundancy Process

  • Any schools who have declared redundancies for the 2020/21 school year and have approved voluntary redundancies these will proceed - subject to DE Approval.
  • School Assurance statements should be completed as expeditiously as possible and emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • The HR adviser will liaise with teaching staff in school closure redundancies in relation to accessing the Transferred Redundancy list, with a view to getting these staff re-deployed for 1 September 2020.
  • Schools should contact their HR adviser with any individual queries in relation to the redundancy process.

Can a teacher request a change in their contract for 2020/21 school year?

The guidance in the following policies apply:

  • Appropriate notice (4 months’ notice) and dialogue with Principal. 
  • Any teacher wishing to apply for flexible working for 2020/21 school year should apply in writing/email through their Principal for the attention of the Board of Governors.
  • The Principal can liaise and seek approval from Board of Governors for such requests via email or virtual/skype/zoom meeting

Please refer to “Guidance on Governance in Catholic Maintained Schools during the Current Exceptional Closure Period” which can be accessed on CCMS website.

  • Due to the lockdown measures all recruitment processes are currently paused. If the school wish to approve the teacher’s request consideration should be given as to how to fill the vacancy this might create when the school returns to normal working. (Reference recruitment process above)
  • Principal should liaise with HR Adviser for the school regarding any decisions and email the documentation electronically.
  • CCMS will issue the variations in contracts (via email) to the Principal and ensure the relevant forms are completed and submitted to Teacher’s Pay and Admin Branch (DE).

Permanent Status Requests

In accordance with CCMS Circular 2006/22 teachers who have worked continuously in a school for 4 years (with no gaps in service) have the right to request their employer confirms that they are now a permanent employee.

Due to the current lockdown restrictions all permanency requests are currently on hold - as these requests are subject to ratification and approval by a sub-committee of Council.

Teachers can still proceed with making written request to school/Governors. 

The Principal should liaise with the HR Adviser for the school who will ensure the employment history check is completed when a return to normal working resumes to confirm the requirement for 4 years continuous service is met.

Employee Relation Cases (Grievance/Disciplinary/ Bullying & Harassment)

Due to the current lockdown restrictions it may not be possible to proceed with employee relation matters where a panel is still investigating a matter.

If it is possible to progress cases in accordance with agreed procedures this work may continue, with health and safety of all parties being paramount.

Advice should be sought from the HR Adviser supporting the matter and where appropriate correspondence issued (electronically) to the parties (teacher/unions) concerned in relation to status of the matter and mutual agreement sought to pause where relevant.

Childcare Vouchers

CCMS are continuing to process any variation requests for childcare vouchers.  If a teacher wishes to vary the deduction they make each month they should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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CCMS Lisburn                                                                                             
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Lisburn
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CCMS Telephone: 028 9201 3014