Out in the Field – the timetabling edition
What does a timetable policy cover?
A timetable policy should cover non-contact time, class size, multi-level classes, compensation, part time considerations, beginning teachers, units, and matters such as assemblies and duties.
A full consultation process can allow for a full discussion of all aspects that might impact on timetable and teacher workload.
What is contact time?
Contact time is defined as total period of time when teachers are teaching or supervising timetabled learning activities. A full time teacher has 20 hours of contact and five hours of non-contact in a standard 25 hour week.
Is form-time contact time?
Where teachers are performing administrative duties such as taking the roll and reading the notices in form-time, this doesn't count as contact time or non-contact time but as "other duties". Where teachers are being required to deliver or supervise some form of learning programme, including mentoring, during form-time then it counts as contact time whenever it is scheduled, and whatever those times are called.
Resolving contact time issues
Kiwi High School runs a standard five day, five period (one hour) timetable. All permanent full-time teachers receive their five guaranteed non-contact hours and do not have more than 20 contact hours. Teachers who work part-time also receive pro-rata non-contact time.
A new student mentoring school-wide initiative is introduced and is to occur during form-time on a Monday for 30 minutes. The mentoring programme constitutes contact time. This had not been factored into the timetable. The branch draws this to management’s attention. After some discussion a timetable audit is performed where mentoring is included in the teacher’s contact time.
Adjustments are made as necessary to the timetable to ensure that no full-time teacher has more than 20 hours contact time and teachers who work part-time maintain their non-contact ratio.
Please note: PPTA has produced a contact time audit tool in the form of a booklet entitled It’s about Time. There are also sample timetable policies, FAQ’s, and calculators available. We encourage you to take some time and review your branch’s timetable and its policy to ensure that your entitlements are being maintained and if you have any questions to contact your field officer.