A guide to the secondment scheme for second-level teachers in Ireland.

Secondment Scheme for Registered Teachers

The Secondment Scheme is designed to facilitate the temporary assignment of a teacher to a position in a host organisation, where the work to be carried out by the seconded teacher is of clear benefit to the education system and/or is in the public interest.

A secondment must be based on mutual agreement between the teacher, the employer and the host organisation. Secondment arrangements are subject to the Department/ETB approval.


Secondment applications are limited to registered teachers employed in approved teaching posts in recognised post primary schools funded out of monies provided by the Oireachtas.

A teacher may only apply for a secondment position where he/she is:

  • Registered with the Teaching Council
  • have satisfactorily completed, at the end of the school year in which they are applying, 12 months continuous service with their current employer

At the time of application, a teacher must have a contract with their employer for a period which is of equal or greater duration to the secondment for which they are applying.

The secondee is required to maintain registration with the Teaching Council for the secondment period. Failure to do so, shall result in non-payment of salary in accordance with legislative provisions in force at that time.

Secondment Arrangements

The minimum period for which a secondment may be granted shall normally be one school year commencing on 1st September and ending the following 31st August and is subject to annual application.

In exceptional circumstances, an employer may authorise a secondment to commence during the course of the school year and shall terminate not earlier than the end of that same year. A part of a school year on secondment shall count as a full school year for the purposes of any calculation of secondment limits.

Where the services of the secondee are required for a period longer than one school year, the period may be extended by periods of one school year. In such cases approval is subject to the following:

  • A maximum period of 5 school years for secondments to outside organisations
  • A maximum period of 5 school years for secondments to Department funded national programmes or school/staff representative bodies. This limit may only be extended in limited circumstances where the Department/ETB determines that retention of the secondee is necessary for leadership, continuity, quality planning or management purposes.
  • Secondments to European Schools are governed specifically by the Regulations of Seconded Staff to European Schools
  • Secondments to Director of Education Support Centres are governed by the Statutory Instrument No. 394/2017 Education Support Centres (Appointment and Secondment of Directors) Regulations 2017.

A secondee is normally required to notify their employer as early as possible, but no later than the 1st April of their intention to return from a secondment to an approved teaching post at the beginning of the next school year.

It is the responsibility of the secondee to be aware of any Department regulations or circulars which may affect their secondment.

Secondment Application

Following on from the recruitment competition for the secondment post, the teacher, host organisation and the employer must complete the relevant parts of the Application Form located at Appendix A of circular letter 0029/2018.

  • Part 1 to be completed by employee
  • Part 2 to be completed by the host organisation
  • Part 3 to be completed by the employer

Where an application for an initial secondment or extension of a secondment is approved by the employer in accordance with the schools secondment policy and/or the terms and conditions of circular letter 0029/2018, it must be returned (by the employer) to the relevant section in the Department by the deadline date of 1st May for approval. 

Where an application for an initial secondment or extension of a secondment is refused by the employer in accordance with the schools secondment policy and/or terms and conditions of circular letter 0029/2018, the employer must inform the applicant in writing of its decision and reason(s) for the refusal within three weeks of the application.

The Department/ETB will approve the secondment where the application adheres to the terms and conditions of circular letter 0029/2018 and in the case of a full recoupment where there is no outstanding debt in respect of a previous secondment arrangement involving the same host organisation. The employer and the host organisation will be notified in writing of the Department's decision.

Secondment Agreement

A secondment Agreement must be put in place by the host organisation at the commencement of the secondment.

This Agreement shall include the names of the secondee, host organisation and employer and a written statement of the particulars of the secondee's terms of employment, e.g.

  • Duration of secondment
  • place and hours of work
  • duties/responsibilities
  • leave arrangements
  • disciplinary/grievance procedures
  • employer and host organisation policies (ie: health and safety, harassment, child protection etc)

The Agreement shall be signed and dated by the employee, host organisation and the employer.

Salary Payment during Secondment

Remuneration of secondees is at all times subject to the relevant Department and/or Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Regulations and Circulars.

Termination of Secondment

A secondment arrangement may only be terminated, prior to the 31st August in the following circumstances:

  • Where the employer is aware that the secondment arrangement is not operating in the best interests of the pupils, or
  • Where the secondee is retiring or resigning their teaching post/ending their contract of employment with their school, or
  • Where the Department/ETB determines that the terms of this scheme and the secondment arrangement are not being complied with, or
  • In the event of the termination of the host organisation or National Programme/Project.

In the event of a termination, the host organisation shall notify the Department/ETB immediately either by notice from the secondee or otherwise, and of the circumstances of such termination. Due notice must be given to all parties of termination.

Where a secondee does not return to their approved teaching post at the end of the approved secondment period and has not indicated their intentions, the employer shall take such action as it deems appropriate and immediately notify the Department/ETB regarding payment of salary.

Leave while on Secondment

The secondee must notify their host organisation of all absences and in the case of sick leave must submit medical certificates. The host organisation must send written notification of all leave (except for annual leave) and copies of medical certificates in the case of sick leave to the employer, as they receive them. The employer shall update all the secondee's absences on the OLCS/ETB system.


For full details on the Secondment Scheme for Registered Teachers, please refer to circular letter 0029/2018.