This advice note tackles a FAQ relating to first line guidance and teachers being asked to undertake additional duties.   It examines the contractual position (taken from the SNCT handbook) and offers advice on how to deal with unreasonable demands.

Advice notes are not a suitable method of answering every query.   If you have a specific problem please contact the office for advice from our Professional Officers.     Emails should be addressed to


I have been asked to undertake additional duties related to 1st line guidance.   What should I do?

The Contractual Position

Subject to the policies of the school and the council, the duties of teachers are to perform such tasks as the Head-teacher shall direct.   These should give reasonable regard to overall teacher workload associated with:

e.       providing advice and guidance to pupils on issues related to their education;

f.       promoting and safeguarding the health, welfare and safety of pupils;

g.       working in partnership with parents, support staff and other professionals.

The duties of principal teachers include:

I.       Implementation of whole school policies dealing with guidance issues, pastoral care, assessment and pupil welfare

j.       working in partnership with colleagues, parents, other specialist agencies and staff in other schools as appropriate.

The SSTA view

The contractual position is quite clear, your HT can instruct you to undertake the duties described above.   However there are limits and these will protect you from an excessive workload, and from duties you are not qualified to undertake.

  1. You are contracted to work a 35 hr week and any work you are instructed to undertake has to be capable of being done within that 35 hours, as listed in the working time agreement.
  2. If you are instructed to undertake new duties for which you are not trained or qualified you are entitled to training (and time for this training) before undertaking the duties.

SSTA Advice

If you are instructed to undertake an additional duty:

  • Work out how many hours implementation of the task will realistically need
  • Ask which duty you should remove from your workload to free up sufficient time to allow you to undertake the new task.
  • Formally request adequate training for the new duty, particularly if you are asked to communicate with parents or outside agencies.
  • Again formally request additional time to allow you to successfully undertake the training required before you undertake any of the assigned duties.
  • If you are instructed to accept these duties without appropriate time or training contact us for advice.