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“What should I do if…” The Head wants to change the time of my PPA this week?

Take advice from your Local Association Secretary.

She can’t. Once your PPA time has been timetabled—as it MUST be according to the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) - then that is when you are entitled to take it. Heads cannot move it around for their convenience. However, if you wanted to, you could negotiate and agree a change if it was beneficial to you personally.

 

“What should I do if…” I am told I must attend a Prospective Parents’ Evening and show people around the site? 

Contact your Local Association Secretary immediately.

The School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD)—which is in effect our contract of employment—is clear that you can only be required to meet parents of pupils. As these evenings are for people who are not yet your pupils, you cannot be compelled to attend meetings with their parents (STPCD Section 2 Para 73.2). And in this era of workload reduction and work/life balance alternative methods of ‘showing off’ the school should be employed: many schools invite prospective parents and their children to visit during the school day, enabling them to see the school as it really is. Pupils show groups around and SMT talk to the visitors. This results in NO EXTRA WORK for any teacher and an improvement in work/life balance. Why can’t your school do it that way?

 

“What should I do if…” My classroom is too cold?

Complain to your Head and inform the school’s Health and Safety Representative (or, if your school doesn’t have one, your Local Association Secretary).

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state indoor temperature ‘should provide reasonable comfort without the need for special clothing. It should be at least 16°C unless much of the work requires severe physical effort, in which case [it] should be at least 13°C’. So, classrooms, offices, staffrooms etc. should be 16° and gyms 13°C. It goes on to say if ‘workers are exposed to temperatures which do not give reasonable comfort, the employer should provide suitable protective clothing’, so if the gym is below 13°C, your employer should give you a warm track suit in which you can keep warm (this doesn’t apply to the children as they are deemed visitors to the school). Finally, the LEA says that ‘Thermometers must be available to enable temperatures to be measured throughout the workplace’. DON’T PUT UP WITH A COLD CLASSROOM – if it’s not sorted out rapidly after you’ve drawn it to the Head’s attention, contact your Local Association Secretary or Federation Secretary.

 

“What should I do if…” My classroom is too hot? 

Complain to your Head and inform the school’s Health and Safety Representative (or, if your school doesn’t have one, your Local Association Secretary). Although there is no maximum temperature specified in law, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 say that all reasonable steps should be taken to achieve a reasonably comfortable temperature. The World Health Organisation recommends 24°C as a maximum temperature for comfortable working. The Chartered Institute of Building Services suggests 22.8°C.

 

“What should I do if…” I am told I must do an ‘after school club’ because there’s enough time in my directed time budget? 

Contact your Local Association Secretary.

Again, you can’t be made to do clubs or activities outside the timetabled day, i.e the time when all pupils are required to be present. Once pupils are free to go home or stay, further contact with them is entirely voluntary. The School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) does allow for Additional Payments for ‘participation in out-of-school learning activities agreed between the teacher and the headteacher’. If the head wants you to do such activities, how much is she willing to pay you for them? If nothing, that tells you what value is really placed on them.

 

“What should I do if…” My head gives me work to do in the holidays or at weekends?

Refuse! (unless you are on the Leadership spine). All teachers, other than those on the Leadership spine, have protections built into their contracts in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document’ (STPCD). Whilst we have to work ‘at the reasonable direction of the headteacher’, we can only be directed to work for a maximum of 1265 hours within 195 days—190 school days and 5 INSET/Baker Days. The Head therefore has no right to direct you to work in holidays or at weekends. Don’t let them do it! Contact your local secretary if you need help with this.

 

“What should I do if…” I have a management responsibility but am given no time during the school day in which to carry it out?

Contact your Local Secretary for advice.

Under the STPCD, ‘A teacher with leadership or management responsibilities shall be entitled, as far as is reasonably practicable, to a reasonable amount of time during school sessions for the purpose of discharging those responsibilities’. The amount of time and the frequency with which it is given will depend upon factors such as the size of the school and the amount of curriculum time for which you have responsibility. But you should get some time on a regular basis.

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