Planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time: tips for reps

Six important tips for workplace reps on negotiating planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time

In addition to the existing timetabled, guaranteed PPA and non-contact time, NEU groups should seek to negotiate additional time to meet the extra demands of remote learning, in order to make it as educationally beneficial as possible.

  1. Make sure PPA time is guaranteed and timetabled : All teachers who teach pupils are entitled to PPA time, set as a minimum of ten per cent of their timetabled teaching time. This should be in blocks of time of at least 30 minutes’ duration.
  2. Consider asking for an increase in PPA during the pandemic : The figure of 10% PPA is a minimum. Some members will have more than this either from contractual rights, or where NEU has negotiated more. Planning and designing remote learning for students, managing communication about remote learning with parents/carers and adapting learning for different home environments takes longer and is much more complex than planning and assessing learning when all students are in school. Some NEU groups have negotiated changes in the school day to permit additional PPA to take account of these.
  3. Do not let PPA Time be used for cover : You should only rarely, eg in emergency situations, be asked to cover for absent colleagues.  Absences during a pandemic are foreseeable.  As such they should be planned for, with staff not routinely required to provide cover.
  4. PPA Time should NOT be for any directed activity : Remember that how you use your PPA time is at your discretion. You cannot be directed to use PPA time for any particular purpose. It should be used exclusively for the planning, preparation and assessment that you, as a professional, deem necessary for your work.
  5. If it is given up, ensure it is rescheduled : If for any exceptional circumstance or one-off event, any or all of your PPA time is given up, you should immediately seek a timetabled reimbursement for all of the time given up. Your minimum entitlement must be maintained. Loss of PPA time through sickness absence or leave of absence should be rescheduled if it would amount to unlawful discrimination not to do so, for example if the absence is related to a disability or to pregnancy.  
  6. Also applies to those with leadership and management responsibilities : Colleagues with leadership and management responsibilities are also entitled to separate and additional time to perform these. For those with a Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR) allowance or who are on the leadership spine, there should be adequate time allocated that is commensurate with their responsibilities.

Minimum PPA 

We think that a minimum 10% PPA is essential. Here are a few reasons why :

The impact it will have on teaching and learning

  • We want the best possible remote learning, so need adequate time – the most precious resource
  • We are going through a period of massive upheaval; we need time to plan and prepare appropriately
  • More time to plan, review and evaluate will lead to a better system for all

The impact it will have on workload

  • Educating in a range of modes – online, in class and remote – add to workload pressures
  • Reducing contact time and allocating protected PPA will allow us to balance our workload and produce better quality work
  • Increased demands on marking and feedback necessitate an increase in PPA to accommodate these.
  • We’re already over worked.
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