What should I do if I have a concern with my teaching timetable?


Every teacher will have a different teaching timetable. You might have joined a different school, starting a new school year or have been allocated new classes half-way through the academic year. You may be confused about your new timetable, how much ‘planning, preparation and assessment’ (PPA) time is allocated to you or concerned about teaching a particular class during period six. 

It can be difficult for schools to organise timetables and sometimes mistakes can be made. In this article, we look at the rules on directed time and what you can do to notify your school if you are concerned about your timetable.

What are the rules on directed time?

The majority of teaching timetables will be structured around the principles of directed time. Full-time teachers employed under the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) must be available to perform any activities or tasks specified by their headteacher for 1,256 hours across the school year on days they’re required to be available for work.

This time is known as ‘directed time’. The 1,265-hour limit is pro-rated for part-time teachers.

Some academies may operate terms and conditions which do not adhere to the STPCD. They are therefore able to set a different directed time calendar specifying working time, which may be in excess of the 1,265 hours and 195 days a year identified in the STPCD.

However, your working time should be clearly defined in your contract of employment.

For trainee teachers the STPCD states that “teachers serving induction periods under the Induction Regulations [must] not teach for more than 90% of the time a teacher at the school who does not receive payments in respect of additional duties or responsibilities would be expected to teacher.”

Under the STPCD, teachers are entitled to at least 10% of their timetabled teaching time as guaranteed PPA time, to enable them to discharge their professional responsibilities of teaching and assessment.

We have published another article which looks at the topic of directed time in more detail.

How many lessons should I be teaching?

There is no definitive answer to this question. The number of lessons will vary from school to school, depending on a range of variables including length of lessons, length of school day and how many lessons are scheduled throughout the school week. The STPCD does not stipulate a set amount of lessons that teachers can teach a week.

What should I do if I think there is an issue with my timetable?

You will need to approach your line manager or the member of staff who is responsible for timetabling at your school to discuss your concerns. It will be sensible to check your understanding of your timetable with a colleague in a similar role to yours to see if there are any discrepancies.

You may be able to talk to your head of department if you are unhappy about teaching a specific lesson and you may be able to negotiate to swap with another member of staff if it is a practical change which can be made.

If you believe you are working in excess of your directed time you can contact us for further advice and support.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.