Where it is in place, the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document still offers protection on working time issues. Many teachers, including NQTs and even some school leaders, may not be fully aware of its provisions on directed time, PPA time, cover and administrative tasks. Where teachers are being short-changed in any of these areas, a simple reminder in the first instance may be all that is needed to bring about the necessary compliance. Consult the NUT’s full guidance here for answers to common questions.
Teachers are also covered by the EU Working Time Directive and by the UK Working Time Regulations 1998. The STPCD states explicitly that governing bodies and head teachers must have regard to the working limits set out in the Working Time Regulations 1998 when allocating work to teachers. Working time should not exceed on average 48 hours a week over a 17 week period. The requirement on teachers to ‘work such reasonable additional hours as may be necessary to enable the effective discharge of the teacher’s professional duties’ does not displace this protection. Teachers are not included in the list of ‘exceptions’ to whom the 48 hour limit does not apply and the employers of those teachers have a duty to ensure that the working time limit is complied with.
Click here to access the 2016 School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document and DfE guidance on this area.
Stress risk assessments are a legal requirement upon school management. NUT members can push school leaders to act on stress using the NUT’s guidance here on undertaking risk assessments in order to tackle stress and prevent work-related mental health conditions. Undertaking a stress risk assessment will help meet the employer’s duty to ensure employee’s health and safety at work. Doing nothing is not an option. See here for joint guidance from HSE and TUC on undertaking risk assessments.
The DfE’s Independent Teacher Workload Review Group Reports make strong recommendations to the Government, Ofsted, school leaders and governing bodies. You can find the reports and NUT guidance and resources on their use here. You can find a DfE poster and leaflet here setting out how to use the Workload Review Group reports to reduce workload in your school.
The Ofsted guidance for English schools, now known as the Ofsted Myths, published following NUT pressure and now part of the Ofsted school inspection handbook, clarifies what Ofsted does not expect from schools during or before inspections.
It dispels some of the myths that lead to excessive workload, for example by making clear that Ofsted does not expect to see deep or extended marking or written records of oral feedback. Use it to reach agreement about what teachers do and do not need to do at school. Make sure your colleagues and managers are aware of its contents.
The DfE has issued a Protocol on how it makes policy changes. It pledges the introduction of minimum lead in times for significant changes to accountability, the curriculum and qualifications; and to do more to consider the impact on schools when introducing such changes.