There have been suggestions from certain authorities that they are entitled to suspend the terms of the Handbook of Conditions in relation to "Time and Place" (T&P) on a day when pupils are not in school because of industrial action by non-teaching unions. The Association rejects this view and advises members as follows.

The right to T&P is contained in paragraph 3.7 of Part 2 of the Handbook. It is not subject to suspension at the whim of the employer.

Any teacher who might have been able to make use of the T&P arrangement on a normal teaching day may continue to do so (but subject to the caveats below). It is not the case that the teacher can maintain that the whole day is subject to T&P in such circumstances. It is only the time that the teacher would normally have T&P available which can be used. This point is most important: the Association makes use of the "normal day" argument in other cases to the benefit of members (and hence must accept the concept in this instance).

However, there is an important caveat. We are party to an agreement that we work in a collegiate environment. The pattern of a working day when pupils do not attend is well established. There are additional Departmental Meetings, whole staff meetings, work in departments, development work etc. If a teacher were to use the T&P arrangement during the time which might otherwise be used for a whole staff meeting, the point of having the meeting is lost: some teachers might not attend. In such circumstances, a negotiated agreement as to the use of the day is quite permissible. It might be noted that on such days staff very generally leave early by agreement (which might be regarded as a transferred T&P arrangement).

It is essential that any such arrangement is agreed and not imposed. The agreement might be at LNCT, JCC or at appropriate meeting at school level (SNC etc).

If there is any attempt to impose a "suspension" of T&P, members should immediately submit a grievance (which might be collective). The General Secretary would advise on this. In such cases, we maintain the status quo arrangement viz we revert to the conditions applying prior to the dispute and hence members can use T&P subject to the above advice. It is all the more important therefore for any authority or headteacher to negotiate on the matter well before the day in question. The Association notes that anything else (including an attempt to impose a suspension) would be a significant violation of the collegiality concept which would rightly cause members to withdraw co-operation in a significant number of areas.

Further advice on this matter is available from the General Secretary.