The NUT has campaigned tirelessly over the years to establish effective limits to teachers' workload and working time. Our aim is to reduce working hours, remove excessive workload and achieve a better work/life balance for teachers generally.
Remember since 2003, there has been a list of tasks that you cannot legally be asked to do. Also remember that your head teacher should produce a directed time calendar at the start of each academic year. This should be being produced in your school now for next year.
You must get at least 10% of timetabled teaching time for PPA.
From September 2009, the provisions on cover, as set out in the school teachers' pay and conditions document, will change. From that date, the expectation is that teachers should rarely cover. If a lower limit than the current 38 hour maximum is set for 2008/09, schools should be more easily able to eliminate routine cover altogether by the 2009 deadline. The NUT expects qualified teachers to cover for absent colleagues.
NUT policy on meetings is that meetings should last no more than 60 minutes, be held on no more than an average of one evening per week, with a maximum of two evenings in any week. This applies to all classroom teachers, including those with TLR responsibilities.
Plans should not be very long or complex. Plans should not need to be updated more than once a year. Teachers should not be asked to plan according to prescribed formats. Short term plans such as weekly and daily lesson plans are not necessary.
Teachers cannot be required to undertake midday supervision and are entitled to a break of reasonable length between school sessions or between the hours of 12 noon and 2.00pm.
There are lots of campaign materials on the union's national website.
Mental ill health is the second largest cause of sickness absence in the UK. Stress, depression and anxiety account for more than 50 per cent of all mental health problems.
Between 15 and 25 per cent of the general population has a common mental health problem at any one time. Teaching is recognised as one of the most stressful professions in which to work in the UK. Working as a member of the support staff can be similarly stressful.
The NUT has recently joined forces with UNISON, UNITE and the GMB to publish a comprehensive guidance document aimed at helping head teachers provide a healthy working environment which will minimise the risk of work-related mental health conditions.
In order to ensure that the document reaches its target audience of head teachers, whether they are NUT members or not, you are requested to download a copy from the Health and Safety ‘Briefings by Subject' section of the NUT website at www.teachers.org.uk and pass a copy to your head teacher. You should also download a copy of a letter to head teachers, which introduces the guidance.
Once your head teacher has had the opportunity to read the document, which they could also download from the Union's website, reference above, it would be helpful if you could arrange to meet with him or her to discuss how the guidance might be applied in your school. A joint approach on behalf of the teaching and support staff would be most effective in this respect. UNISON, UNITE and GMB will be alerting their school representatives to this guidance and making it available on their own websites.
Placing the document on the agenda of your school's Safety Committee is another effective way of bringing this topic into the open and encouraging a debate.
With thanks for your support.
Acting General Secretary
National Union of Teachers