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Unfair hours in an APC?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by vitogio2, Feb 23, 2020.


is this unreasonable?

  1. legally

    1 vote(s)
  2. ppa

    0 vote(s)
  1. vitogio2

    vitogio2 New commenter

    I started working in an APC (PRU) which I really enjoy, 3 months ago and teach food. It isn't taught in the normal way - all students have double lessons and they have to prepare and cook lunch for the whole school - about 35 - every day. If they don't then there is no lunch. I have said I am not a dinner lady and will not be making the food if the students decide they don't want to cook. My dilemma is I am teaching practical lessons non stop, (the students are too disruptive to have a theory lesson and if they weren't there would be no lunch!). I rarely have time to go to the wc at break time. I then have to serve the lunch 12.10-12.40 (2 courses) and clean up everything (I get about 10 minutes of help with a ta putting plates in the d/w). All staff except me, sit down to eat between 1210-1240. I finally eat at 1.40 after I've cleaned the kitchen. The job was changed from f/t to 0.8 and I have asked for it to be changed back. Our new timetable does not take into account that I have no break until 1.40pm. I am down to teach from 12.40 to 2pm. I have 2 free single lessons totalling 1 hour 10 mins on Thursday afternoon.
    My question is - am I being given enough free time as it doesn't feel like I am?
  2. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I don't really understand what you job is, and what hours you are working. Please can you clarify
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    1 hour and 10 mins is not enough PPA if you are a full time teacher.
    Presumably when you applied for and accepted the post, you knew how food was taught in the school?
    If the pupils who are cooking, presumably a different group each day, don't want to cook, then sandwiches it is for that day. Or certainly something raw that the others can serve from platters and so still eat.
    If you are serving lunch, I assume the other staff are sat with the pupils to eat? Can you ask that things are changed to family style dining, so you can have a short break while staff serve their own tables?
    Can you also ask that some children have a lesson to clean the kitchen? Or that whoever cleans the school also cleans the kitchen?
    If you get your break at 1.40, after cleaning the kitchen, how can you teach from 12.40 - 2.00? What do you teach then, presumably not food?
    I'm assuming that the children can't have a theory lesson because they have got lunch to cook. If you did a theory lesson, there would be no lunch!

    If it was me, I'd be objecting to:
    PPA of 1hr 10mins
    No break at all until 1.40 (Not that this is illegal, but it isn't normal in a teaching role)
    Cleaning the kitchen and washing up

    BUT you must carefully object to whatever annoys you most. Try and suggest alternatives though.
    agathamorse and phlogiston like this.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    The plus side is that you enjoy your job.

    It sounds like the main problem is that you have no respite until too late in the day, and it sounds like it would be reasonable to raise this as an issue. Whether or not the lateness of your break contradicts regulations, I'm sure your colleagues would understand if you asked whether anything could be done. If you can come up with a suggested solution, that might help. Perhaps you could sit down to eat at 12.10, and someone else (perhaps a rota?) could take charge of the serving up.
    If clearing/cleaning up is not being allowed for in your contract, perhaps that needs looking at. Maybe your hours do need to be longer, or maybe it would be more sensible to get the cleaner to come earlier to do it.

    We'd need more detail on the timetable to work out whether you are entitled to changes, but it's certainly not unreasonable for you to ask whether any changes are possible.

    Incidentally, do they have a contingency plan for if you are ill (remembering the additional importance of not being involved in food preparation)? (SMT having to step in might be one way to convince them that it's rather a demanding role!)
  5. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    That just sounds dystopian,and it's not a place I'd like to send my own child!
    How on earth do you meet the most basic hygiene requirements for serving up an institutional meal?!
    it sounds like some sort of prison in a 1950s American novel...
    jlishman2158 and agathamorse like this.
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    Is your contract and role that for a 'qualified teacher? Have you raised your concerns with your line manager ?
  7. GreenTrees123

    GreenTrees123 Occasional commenter

    This sounds like an excellent opportunity for the students, as well as an efficient way of providing auxiliary services.

    It is great to see so many schools now looking at innovative methods of dealing with necessary evils such as catering and cleaning, to maximise the resources available for our core business of teaching.

    It is ludicrous to waste millions of pounds on auxiliary staff when you have a fantastic resource already in the building. Teachers' dead time can be used in a way that is both productive for them and efficient for the school.
  8. DexterDexter

    DexterDexter Occasional commenter

    Don’t feed the troll...
  9. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    I thought about it, but then realised it’s so obviously ludicrous that it can’t be taken seriously.

    OP, are the single lessons your PPA time and do you use them for planning meals or lessons? It’s a bit difficult to work out what is happening, because you say you don’t have any theory work as the students are disruptive, so what happens after lunch? Are there other groups you teach?
  10. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    It sounds wrong to me, and if you were under STPCD, which I would guess you are not, then the lack off PPA is a problem. If not, then I don't think you could do anything about that unless there is something in your contract.

    You might be able to argue that you are not getting a 20 minute break "somewhere in the middle of the day (not at the beginning or end)" as the law says, but how exactly this is defined legally I cannot say. Your union might be able to help. See https://www.gov.uk/rest-breaks-work/taking-breaks
    jlishman2158 and agathamorse like this.

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