SSTA Guidance to Schools to Manage Workload 

Working Time Agreements (WTA); must be adhered to and any changes can only be made to reduce teacher workload. All changes must be negotiated with the recognised trade union representatives.

Staff, Department and Working Group Meetings; the school should ensure that all meetings of staff must be allocated on the school calendar, have an agenda circulated in good time, action points recorded and are time constrained. Meetings should not go beyond the allocated time.

Formal assessments; schools should ensure sufficient time is allocated for teachers to carryout formal assessments (including work required for National Qualifications). All subject teachers should be encouraged to quantify the workload demanded by SQA early on in the school year and the school should make arrangements to identify measures and adequate time required to manage this workload within the WTA.

Monitoring and Tracking; the school should ensure that tracking and monitoring systems prevent the duplication of teacher input and should be capable of generating a report to parents. It is sufficient for teachers to track and monitor all pupils twice a year. Recording systems that collect information but do not add to teaching and learning should be discontinued.

Parent meetings; the school should ensure there is only one meeting per year group in the course of the year. The parent meeting should be managed not to coincide with the reporting process as parent teacher dialogue is crucial in supporting learning.

Reporting to Parents; schools should ensure that all reports are meaningful and do not include educational jargon. Where schools provide computer generated reports it is not necessary to produce any other report to parents. Where teachers are required to produce subject reports the time allocated within the WTA will determine the length of the report (after monitoring and tracking time has been accounted for). If a teacher teaches a number of classes within a year group the report submitted will be far less than another colleague with a limited number or a single class. The school needs to manage the parental expectation in terms of engagement within the school.

Administrative and non-teaching duties; schools should ensure that tasks that do not require the skill and expertise of a teacher should be undertaken by support staff. This includes bulk photocopying, filing, ordering of materials and equipment, arranging meetings, and duplication required in completing risk assessments and accident report forms. Tasks which do not require the professional expertise of a teacher should not be undertaken.

IT Systems; schools should ensure IT systems are ‘fit for purpose’ and are a good use of teacher time. Teachers should be encouraged to use statement banks and other time saving systems to complete reports.

E-mail Communication; schools should ensure that an email communication policy is in place that focuses on the passing of essential information and requires limited responses. It is unreasonable to expect teachers to send, read and respond to emails with unrealistically tight deadlines, or during evenings, weekends and holiday periods. The email system cannot replace professional dialogue and should not be seen as a substitute.

School Improvement Plans; all development work should have an allocated time resource within the WTA. All new initiatives or policies must have a workload impact-assessment and agreed with the recognised unions within the school before implementation.

Temporary Responsibilities; teachers undertaking temporary responsibilities are entitled to be paid after undertaking the responsibility after 20 days (backdated to day 1). However, teachers who take additional responsibilities without payment are doing so on a voluntary basis and should be taken only on a limited basis. All offers of additional voluntary responsibilities can be declined.


Published on 11 March 2019 - Information for Members