Advice to members

Following the reduction in the maximum pupil contact week and in the light of experience gained since the introduction of Working Time Agreements, the Association now commends the following as a model for a school Working Time Agreement.

Total Annual Hours 38 x 35hrs 1330
Less Class Contact Hours   38 x 22.5hrs = 855hrs  475
Less preparation/Correction Allowance 38 x 7.5 hrs = 285hrs  190


190 hours therefore remain to be allocated to the list of activities specified on page 6 of the Agreement and repeated in Annex D. These might be allocated as follows:

Additional Preparation/Correction  40
Parents Meetings 30
Formal Assessments (prelims,NAB's etc) 40
Pupil Reports 40
Staff/Departmental Meetings 25
Professional review and Development 3
Additional Supervised Pupil Activity 5
Curriculum Development *
Continuing Professional Development *


* The amount of time available for these items is clearly limited. The items should however be considered and allowed for. An annualised approach should be seen as still operating within the 35 hour week, with the possible exception of "peak" periods such as Parents' Meetings, prelim exams, etc. In these cases, teachers may opt to make some variation in the working week. The above calculation is based on a 38 week working year to allow for 5 days of In-Service.

Management Time

The Agreement clearly states that those in promoted posts require additional time to undertake their management functions. There must therefore be provision for management time. The only reasonable mechanism which allows for the granting of management time is the traditional approach of giving promoted staff less class contact time.

Pupil Contact Time

This is a maximum of 22.5 hours including any absence cover undertaken and registration. Any pupil contact must be included in the pupil contact time.

Departmental Meetings

As the current pattern of operation varies across the country, no prescriptive advice can be given. Schools will wish to consider their current provision and determine whether it requires to be changed in light of the 35 hour week. Departmental Meetings cannot be part of the preparation/correction allowance for individual teachers. If departmental meetings are scheduled outwith the 22.5 hours of pupil contact time, the meetings must be allowed for in the WTA. It is recommended that meetings are not held at lunchtimes. Such arrangements could constitute a breach in the Working Time Regulations.

School Negotiating Committees

Such Committees are a requirement of the post- McCrone agreement. The Committee must be established and must meet to negotiate the terms of the school's Working Time Agreement and to review its operation.

Unspecified Time

The Association has noted that certain schools have adopted the approach of combining several of the contractual categories to give a large figure which is unspecified or is identified as "flexibility time". The Association does not accept that this approach meets the terms of the post McCrone agreement. It soon becomes impossible to keep track of large blocks of time (approaching 100 hours in a number of instances). Such an approach is strongly discouraged.

Review of WTAs

The School Negotiating Committee is required to meet to review the operation of the WTA and should do so at least twice a year. Problems relating to the WTA should be referred initially to the SNC.

Further Advice

More extensive advice relating to the drawing up of WTAs is available from the General Secretary