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No time to eat!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Abitofeverything, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    This year, we were told we have to do a lunch duty once a week - this is for half an hour of the lunch hour. Some teachers, including myself, have to do a break duty on the same day. During the remaining half of the lunch hour, it takes me about 20 mins to get ready for the afternoon, leaving me 10 mins to eat, drink and use the loo. Are we meant to do lunch duty? Is there a minimum break that we should be getting? Thanks!
  2. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    If you aren't paid for your lunch break you should not be doing a duty during it.
    FolkFan likes this.
  3. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    @Purdster. If you are a main scale or UPS teacher working under STPCD 2015 (School Teacher's Pay and Conditions Document) then your head teacher should not be requesting that you provide lunchtime cover AT ALL. However, if you work in an academy lunchtime cover could be included in your contract, but any one who works more than six hours a day is entitled (under employment law) to a break of 20 minutes - which could be taken off site if you wish.
    emerald52, midnight_angel and FolkFan like this.
  4. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    And another example of how badly run some places are.

    My old employer [for all its faults] employed staff for lunchtimes... paid staff.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    20 mins to get ready for the afternoon??? Seriously?
    I know this isn't the point of the thread, but you may need a better reason for not doing the duty.
    midnight_angel likes this.
  7. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I thought the same thing really. I am not excusing schools bending the rules or being unreasonable. If they have done wrong then push them on it and don't do it. In the meantime though look at your planning. What are you spending 20 mins getting ready for? I would be doing simple, easy to organise tasks in the afternoon. If they moan, tell them that it is because you are on duty in the afternoon!

    With regards to minimum breaks, If you are not part of STPCD then you are getting the minimum amount of break. I think it is 20 mins for 6 hours of work, but don't quote me on that.
  8. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Any reasonable school management should be able to arrange it so that staff do not have to do break & lunch duty on the same day, as well. (When, as part of SLT, I had to arrange the Break Duty rota I always made sure those staff were 'free' either the lesson before or after break. This was, of course, a secondary school).
  9. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    If @Purdster is a primary teacher then using some of the lunch time to set up for afternoon lessons is commonplace, particularly as afternoons are usually timetabled for science, art, D&T etc ie practical subjects that need a certain amount of setting up. Most primary schools have to share resources amongst year groups so there can be quite a bit of 'gathering' involved: not all primary teachers have the luxury of access to a TA morning and afternoon to do the gathering of resources for them.
  10. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    It should be relatively easy to write a rota which prevents people doing break and lunch duties on the same day?

    I'd set some work and eat my lunch in front of the class.
    FolkFan likes this.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    Snowyhead is quite correct - many primary teachers will spend a chunk of their lunchtime getting things ready for the afternoon.

    The main point is that under STPCD teachers cannot be compelled to do lunchtime duties. If you're not under STPCD then it depends on your contract
    cissy3 likes this.
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I've been a primary teacher , with no TA, and so understand spending some of lunchtime getting ready. But 20 mins????!!!
    I'm now in an independent school and we do duties at lunchtime, either first half or second half.

    If your school is under STPCD, then kick up a fuss. If not then get organised.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  13. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I'm quoting you because that is correct! But I would hope that people get more than that minimum . . .

    Best wishes

  14. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    10 minutes? Almost time for a 3 course meal!

    I am sure you have noticed that many people (wrongly perhaps) 'eat on the go.' Sandwiches are relatively easy to eat whilst working/planning and a school where all staff spend all of their 30 minutes on their break not working is as easy to find as rocking horse ****!

    You have an HOUR 4 days out of 5! VERY few schools do have that long nowadays! As others have said, if you value the 30 minutes to eat that much (maybe you are a slow eater?) plan something less labour intensive for after lunch!

    Bottom line - many teachers/workers in other industries have 30 min lunches and many have to work through part or all of them, so I don't have much sympathy TBH!
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  15. jomaimai

    jomaimai Established commenter

    Hei Theo,
    Tell them what they do ;)where, I suspect from your comments, you volunteer
  16. JRiley1

    JRiley1 Established commenter

    I agree with snowy head, you use the time to gather resources; atlases, ipads, science equipment etc. Also I use the time to talk to my ta, discuss work from maths, English & then I make changes to planning for next day. If I can I try get bit of marking done too! But we need a bit of a break at lunch, even if we're not eating just a sit down with a cuppa for 10 mins to recharge! Of course I've had days when I've worked through my lunch, sandwich in 1 hand & typing or whatever with the other but it's not healthy is it?
    lindenlea and cissy3 like this.
  17. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    You need to know if all of the lunch break is unpaid or only part of it.
    In Primary and Special schools, for instance, there tends to be a longer lunch break to allow for younger children and those with special needs to eat and have some play time. For the teachers in those schools part of the lunch break is paid and part of Directed Time and part is unpaid. The teachers cane be required to do supervision in the dining room or playground in the paid part.

    For most teacher the lunch break is unpaid and they are free to use the time as they wish, even leaving the premises.
    If they agree to do a lunch duty in their own time, they can insist on payment and a free school meal.
    cissy3 likes this.
  18. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    Just a quick note re needing time to get ready for afternoon lessons.
    Just try teaching a subject like art and or DT etc (I'm not going to count science, as they usually have technicians! :D)

    I take exception to those who've commented that 20 mins is a long time to prepare for an afternoon, and I could give you detailed step by step info on what is often required to be done (but I wouldn't want to bore you)

    If all you have to do is collect some text books, then good for you, but don't have a go at the OP for requiring a decent lunch break.

    No wonder teaching is in the sorry state its in, if teachers can criticise other teachers in this petty way.

    (Well, that quick note turned into a rant, didn't it. Oh well)
  19. Alf58

    Alf58 Established commenter

    Excellent post cissy
  20. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I shall quote from my union. So - if the kids at your school get 50 minutes to eat and chillax then so do you. If an hour? Likewise. NO duties. No supervision. A break is a break is a break.

    Instructions for 'national action short of strike action' were issued to members of NASUWT and the NUT in May 2013.

    In the context of instructing members to refuse to undertake supervision during the lunch break, the NASUWT document says that a break of 'reasonable length' (as allowed by the STPCD) is the current lunch break at the school.

    Other unions may have other views.
    Kartoshka, silkywave and snowyhead like this.

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