Q: What advice can you give me re: directed time in schools?

Can teachers be required to work on a Saturday/Sunday or public holiday? 

No teacher, including members of the leadership group, can be required to work on these days unless their contract of employment expressly provides for this (STPCD). 


Are the leadership group subject to directed time? 

No. The leadership group (head teachers, deputy and assistant heads) and leading practitioners do not have any set working hours. However, their working hours should be reasonable and until all European legislation is repealed, they are covered by the working time regulations 1998: a maximum 48 hour working week over a 17 week reference period. 


My head/governing body/LA is suggesting that I must be available for the entire summer holidays. Is this right? 

You should note that the school ‘holidays’ are school closure periods when the school is closed to pupils. Therefore you may, as a leadership group member, be asked to attend meetings but this should not be onerous. As stated in the question/answer above, the leadership group do not have any contracted hours, but their hours should be reasonable. “Reasonableness” is the key. If you are asked to attend a meeting during the closure period, there should be consultation with you over dates and times to find a mutually convenient time for such a meeting.The working time regulations set out your statutory holiday entitlement during which you have a statutory right to be away and to have left the mobile/telephone/email behind. In addition, school leaders and governors may find it useful to have arrangements in place so that there is a point of contact (which could be a governor) should there be an emergency at school, such as a fire or break-in.


What about teachers’ working time/days? 

Full-time teachers are required to be available for work on 195 days in each academic year: 190 days on which they are required to teach and perform other duties and five days on which they are only required to perform other duties. The five days are commonly known as ‘training days’ or ‘INSET’ days. 


What is directed time and how much can you direct a full-time teacher? 

A head teacher can direct a full-time teacher to perform such duties at such times and such places for 1,265 hours and these hours should be reasonably allocated throughout the 195 days. They can direct the teacher according to their “professional responsibilities”.


Does this mean that teachers don’t have to do anything above and beyond the 1,265 hours, e.g. - all their planning, etc, should be directed within the 1,265 hours? 


The STPCD expressly states that, in addition to the 1,265 hours, a teacher must work such reasonable additional hours as may be necessary to enable the effective discharge of their professional duties, including in particular, planning and preparing courses and lessons; and assessing, monitoring, recording and reporting on the learning needs, progress and achievements of assigned pupils. 


Can a HT use directed time to direct a teacher to undertake voluntary clubs or attend the school disco/fete? 

No, since these do not form part of their ‘professional responsibilities’. 


Can a HT direct a teacher to undertake midday supervision? 

No. The STPCD prohibits this. 


What about school breaks? 

The STPCD states that a teacher who is required to be available for work for more than one school session on any school day must be allowed one break of reasonable length either between school sessions or between the hours of 12pm and 2pm. A HT cannot direct a teacher during this break and therefore it does not form part of ‘directed time’. 

However, there is no contractual entitlement to morning/afternoon breaks, so a HT could direct a teacher during this time and they would be included within the calculation of directed time. This would have to be equally apportioned amongst all teaching staff.


What about part-time teachers: can a HT direct them? 

Yes. There is a national formula for the determination of part-time teachers’ pay, from which their directed time allocation can be derived. A HT can then direct the part-time teacher in the same way as a full-time teacher is directed, but only on days they are normally contracted to work


What happens if the school’s five training days fall on a Monday and the part-time teacher doesn’t work on a Monday; can a HT require them to attend? 

No, a HT cannot require them to attend any of those training days, since they are not days they are normally contracted to work. 

However, a HT can mutually agree with them that they will attend; BUT should then pay them for those extra days according to the national part-time teachers’ pay formula 


What happens if the teacher works Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning only? Can a HT ask the teacher to attend a parents evening on the Wednesday night? 

Yes, a HT can direct the teacher to attend the parents evening since this is a day the teacher is normally contracted to work. However, the HT should try to keep ‘trapped time’ (ie the Wednesday afternoon in this example) to a minimum. Any trapped time should count towards a part-time teachers directed time allocation.


Can you give me a quick list of what might be included within directed time?

  • Timetabled teaching time
  • PPA time
  • Assemblies
  • Registration
  • Morning and afternoon break (but not lunch break)
  • Staffing meetings
  • Parents evenings
  • Management time
  • Appraisal meetings
  • Five training days
  • Supervising children on entry/exit for a short period of time on health and safety grounds.