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How much undirected time is reasonable?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Cantwaittogo, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Cantwaittogo

    Cantwaittogo New commenter

    My caseload as a peripatetic SEN teacher is so high for next term that I know I will have to work on all of my non working days to get through the work. I'm on a 0.5 contract. My manager is unsympathetic despite to the fact that working twice my contracted hours can't be reasonable.
    Any thoughts welcome please.
  2. bonxie

    bonxie Senior commenter

    Expecting you to work full time for 0.5 pay is not reasonable. If you've already explained this to your manager and they are unsympathetic, it's time to start looking for another job.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Everyone works more than their directed time, so expecting to work only for 2.5 days of 9-5 is probably a bit much.
    However, you do need a reasonable workload.
    If you have directed time of Mon, Tues, Weds am, for example, let your manager know you are happy to do paperwork on Thursdays, but Weds afternoon and Friday are your own. And weekends are clearly not for work!

    Peripatetic SEN work is massively underfunded and understaffed...could you say that as you will be working full time, perhaps you could have a full time contract?
  4. Cantwaittogo

    Cantwaittogo New commenter

    I don't expect to just work my contracted hours! But I do object to working another 2.5 days unpaid. I applied for a 0.5 post for health reasons to cut down my working time so I certainly don't want a full time contract.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    If 0.5 were to constitute 15 hours? You'd be entitled to an hour and a half PPA (minimum). I'd then ask to be paid 0.6.

    Calculate the contact-with-kids hours. Divide by 10. Add that to the 0.5. Any HR/payroll department can do the sums. I could do the sums if I had the exact figures! It's hardly rocket-science!

    But, if they're to pay you 0.5 and only 0.5, you should not be teaching pupils for 10% of those sessions.

    Let's imagine your half week is comprised of 20 lessons. You can be paid as 0.5 but 2 of those lessons should be for your personal PPA.
    agathamorse and bonxie like this.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    This isn't quite correct.
    Directed time also includes meetings and the like. Anything that you don't have a choice about attending.
    Directed time also includes 'trapped time', which for you could well be the time you travel between pupils.
    PPA also counts as directed time if you are employed under STPCD, so your directed time should be half of 1265 hours.
    Do not just add actual lessons, you will sell yourself short.

    However, undirected time tends to be whatever it takes to get the job done...which is presumably what your manager is going with. You will need to be clear about your actual working hours and be firm about only working for those.

    No teacher manages to get everything done within 1265 hours, so it isn't reasonable to expect no undirected time.
  7. Cantwaittogo

    Cantwaittogo New commenter

    Hi thanks again. Like I said I am NOT trying to say I shouldn't work undirected time. I'm just trying to gather views on how much is reasonable.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I apologise, I never meant to suggest anything wrong or bad about your question or your views on working.
    I agree with you completely that working full time is not reasonable if you have chosen part time.

    'Reasonable' is always a tricky word and causes an awful lot of casework for unions when leaders/managers disagree with staff on what constitutes reasonable.

    Maybe have a chat with your union and work out a way forward that negotiates with your manager, yet allows you a proper work life balance. I honestly think that a day at most over and above the two and half of directed time is the most that can reasonably be expected. But that's my opinion of reasonable, yours may be different and your managers may be different again.
    Cantwaittogo likes this.
  9. Cantwaittogo

    Cantwaittogo New commenter

    I'm thinking along the same lines of getting informal union advice so I'll.get on with that today.
    Piranha likes this.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    10% is both reasonable AND your entitlement.

    If you don't wish to be on the premises for more than 5 sessions then 10% of the time you are present on-site needs to be non-contact.

    If you are to teach for 5 sessions then you'll be on-site for 6.
  11. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    I am sick of this, if you cannot complete the work on the days you are contracted to work Inc a couple of hours in the evening of those days then walk away.

    Why do we put up with this ridiculous situation?

    Teaching;- the only profession that you go part time in order to go full time.
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I'm trying to come up with some scenarios. So how much time would I need beyond the hour and a half PPA?

    0.5 teaching a YR4 class. Monday morning to Wednesday lunch-time. Just an example. I'd have (probably) 3 Maths and 3 English to prepare and mark. For a class of 30. That takes a while. There might be a PE lesson in there. Maybe RE. Art one afternoon? I don't think I could do it all in the hour and a half. So how much extra seems fair?

    Let me look at it in the light of a 40-hour week scaled down to 20. I'm teaching for 15. I suppose 5 hours is reasonable. It certainly ought to be doable.
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    The rule is that 10% of the time you are teaching is non-contact time during the usual teaching day when you are not allowed to be directed to do anything other than PPA. If you happen to be in a school with 5 1 hour teaching periods per day, then you could expect to teach for 11 hours a week and have 1.1 hours minimum PPA. Directed time averages close to 6.5 hours per working day, so should include significantly more than 10% non-contact time.

    By the way, the hours you are being asked to do are clearly unfair. If you can't agree a way of doing less, you do need to think about a new job, I am afraid.
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    @Piranha is right, of course.

    It's 10% of the time you are directed to be on-site. So one day when you are expected to be there no later than half eight and can't physically leave until half four? That's 8 hours. That's 480 minutes. So a 0.2 could expect 48 minutes PPA minimum. But most of us would need to spend a little more time than that to get everything done. Obviously. And that's right and proper as we also get 13 weeks holiday etc etc. But a 50 hour week isn't sustainable.

    You do your best and if the burden is too great, for whatever reason, then you have to work smarter or work less or find another job or complain or .....
  15. averagedan

    averagedan Occasional commenter

    You need to keep a log of what you're doing and how long it is taking.
    You need a log of your communications regarding workload with your line manager and any outcomes.
    Raise your workload complaints in a way that leaves a paper trail, i.e. via e-mail.
    Contact your union, inform them and ask for advice. Do not leave informing the union until later, requesting informal advice means that they will already know the background if they do need to intervene.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. Cantwaittogo

    Cantwaittogo New commenter

    Thanks Dan
    I've already started a file and put a call into the union
    averagedan and agathamorse like this.
  17. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Sorry, no, it is 10% of the time you are actually timetabled to teach. But I like your suggestion about a 40 hour week. That is eight hours a day, so if you are directed for 6.5 of them, then it would be reasonable to work for 1.5 hours a day on top of that.

    Unfortunately, STPCD says nothing about what is reasonable.
    Pomza likes this.
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    PPA is 10% of teaching time...not directed time. And not necessarily time on site, nor lesson time, nor even 'teaching time'. Assemblies, meetings, parents evening, etc all count as directed time. PPA itself counts as directed time.For a peripatetic teacher, such as the OP, then 'on site' is meaningless and time to travel between sites should form part of directed time.

    Half of 1265 hours is what can be reasonably directed, but the OP is asking about undirected time and how much is reasonable. Clearly adding on so much it equates to full time is not.
    I would...especially given some of the erroneous advice here. You need to negotiate something better than you have now.
    ATL have this to say (which is out of date in the sense they have now merged with NUT, but the advice hasn't changed.)
    Other additional hours
    In addition to the hours for which you can be directed, a teacher may work such reasonable additional hours as necessary. This can include time for planning and preparing lessons and assessing pupils’ work.

    However, the number of additional hours cannot be specified by your school. As a consequence, it does not count towards your hours of directed time.

    All work undertaken during non-directed time is determined by the individual teacher and it is up to you to exercise your professional judgement in how you manage this.

    Work/life balance
    Your school should ensure that you are able to achieve a satisfactory balance between the time required to do your job and time to pursue interests outside work.

    In maintained schools in England and Wales, the directed time budget and calendar are essential for you to achieve the work/life balance to which you are entitled.
    agathamorse and Piranha like this.
  19. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    I'm wondering if what you say is "your caseload" involves contact time above 0.5. If so, they CANNOT do this. Your contact time must be half that of a full time teacher. If you are saying that the work you have to do on top, paper work etc. is unreasonably heavy then this is a different matter and much harder to fight. I've never heard of a peripatetic SEN teacher, is your travel time included? Is there a typical contract for a full time peripatetic SEN? Hard to give advice without the full details, but you are best off out of it.
  20. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    One query I have is how does your caseload compare to that of a full time teacher doing the same job? If you can show that your caseload is more than half of a full time teacher's load you would strengthen your case.

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