Gained time


Gained time is a term you may have heard in relation to when your exam classes are on study leave or taking exams.

The term was explicitly referred to last in the 2013 School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) (see page 104) but has been removed since then.

Teachers’ pay and conditions of service in community schools are governed by the STPCD and Burgundy Book in England. Academies and independent Schools are free to set their own terms and conditions of service.

In this article, we look at information on gained time and link to information on rarely cover.

Gained time: what did the STPCD previously say?

The STPCD previously explained:

“During the academic year, particularly in the summer term, teachers who take examination classes/groups are often released from some of their timetabled teaching commitments as a result of pupils being on study or examination leave. Such time is known as gained time.

There are activities directly relevant to teaching and learning for which it would be appropriate and desirable to use gained time and which it would be reasonable for a headteacher to direct teachers to undertake. An agreed list of these activities is listed below: 

  • Developing/revising departmental/subject curriculum materials, schemes of work, lesson plans and policies in preparation for the new academic year. This may include identifying appropriate materials for use by supply staff and/or cover supervisors
  • Assisting colleagues in appropriate, planned team teaching activities
  • Taking groups of pupils to provide additional learning support
  • Supporting selected pupils with coursework
  • Undertaking planned activities with pupils transferring between year groups or from primary schools
  • Where the school has a policy for all staff to release them for CPD during school sessions, gained time may be used for such activities.”

Gained time: can I be asked to cover other classes instead?

As a member of school staff you may be asked to cover another teacher’s class due to unforeseeable circumstances. This can be known as ‘rarely cover’. The STPCD 52.7 explains:

Teachers should be required to provide cover in accordance with paragraph 50.7 only rarely, and only in circumstances that are not foreseeable (this does not apply to teachers who are employed wholly or mainly for the purpose of providing such cover).

Paragraph 50.7 of the STPCD states:

Subject to paragraph 52.7 supervise and so far as practicable teach any pupils where the person timetabled to take the class is not available to do so.”

So, combining 50.7 with 52.7 teachers can be asked to cover, but only in circumstances where this is ‘not foreseeable‘ AND ‘only rarely’. This applies to both regular parts of the school year and when gained time happens. Examples of where this is ‘foreseeable‘ are: absence due to courses, meetings, planned absence requests, long term sickness absence, sickness absence the school has knowledge of, etc (not an exhaustive list).

If you are not employed under the terms of the STPCD, you will need to to review your employment contract for the details on how the topic of rarely cover is managed at your school.

Rarely cover is not defined anywhere. This is usually a local agreement within a Trust or school. We have written more about the topic of rarely cover here.

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