I have been suffering with workplace stress and anxiety for a year, work load is very high in my school and made worse by being a small department. I did unpaid TLR last year under the guise of “#training “ for the role; since September I have since been paid for this. However over October half term I had a real breakdown with my partner where I realised this school was breaking me, the hour commute was too much and I was crying every day. So I made the decision to look elsewhere to another school before I left teaching completely , a decision I’ve been scared to make as it’s very much frowned upon at my school to leave and it is well known you “get punished” with extra cover, duties and changes in timetable if you do leave. I found a school and over my two week half term I applied and interviewed and was offered the new job. In my contract it states “three calendar months notice terminating at the end of term” I originally took this as three months so gave three months notice from 30th October. I obviously now understand that it needs to be me leaving at the end of term. The school are stating (after an informal meeting with HR where I was told I was letting everyone down, affecting the kids mental health and going against teacher standards while I cried) that I couldn’t leave until Easter. I explained that my reasons for leaving was due to mental health reasons to which I was told that would not be taken into consideration in terms of releasing me earlier from my contract. I have asked the union to help and got no further and have now involved a lawyer to state where it is defined in the contract as end of term when the website for the school states there is 6 terms in a year so therefore would be reasonable to allow me to leave at end of feb term. They’ve disputed this by saying everyone knows there is 3 terms, but I feel this should have been made clear in my contract as it already goes against the burgundy book so this didn’t provide me with any clarity as to the appropriate date to leave. This whole situation has severely affected my health and has been continuing for 4 weeks now, with uncertainty as to whether I can leave and take my new job. I have not been sleeping, eating properly, I cry throughout the school day and when I get home and last week I even started to imagine having a car crash on the way to work so I had an excuse to not be there. Obviously this has lead me to go to the doctors and be signed off with WRS and depression which is the last thing I wanted to do as I wanted to work my notice properly and say goodbye to the kids and staff and leave my gcse cohort with enough revision materials from me. I am heartbroken and feel hopeless with the situation and can’t cope with the thought of going back and having to work there until April. I’m worried about losing my new job also as cannot afford to not have one (like most people) , I know if I leave early I am in breach of contract but not sure on what to do. I have had some really hopeless thoughts and I am scared of the thought of being sued but I can’t work there until then given how they’ve treated me with such a lack of care for my own mental health too. has anyone ever experience this sort of thing before? Can anyone offer any advice? I feel so alone and helpless and can’t see a way out of this.