As education continues to be impacted by coronavirus, ensuring all National Education Union members have agreed and negotiated directed time calendars becomes even more important. Using our resources below work with other NEU members in your workplace to make sure you’re not working above your #DirectedTime.

What is directed time?

Directed time is when teachers are directed by their head teacher to be at work and available for work. This is a maximum of 1,265 hours per academic year, spread over 195 days, and schools are advised to allow a contingency to cover unexpected events (though these should be rare and subject to consultation with staff). Directed Time has not been removed or suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pupil year is a maximum of 190 days, but there are 5 inset days. The hours for those inset days count towards the 1265.

The following must be part of directed time: 

  • Teaching time,
  • PPA time,
  • Break times (but not lunchtimes, when teachers can’t be required to do this),
  • Cover,
  • Parents evenings,
  • After school meetings,
  • Anything else which teachers are “directed” to do and which requires their professional skills. 

The full list is in sections 51 & 52 of the 2019 School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD).

All schools should have a calendar of the activities which make up teachers’ directed time – published in the summer term for the next academic year and consulted on with staff via trade unions.

NEU reps/members should ask their head or leadership team for the directed time calendars for both individuals and departments. The school’s calculation of directed time during the summer term if it has not been provided and ensure staff are consulted before it is implemented.

Act now to win a directed time calendar in your workplace

  1. Organise a meeting of members to discuss directed time.
  2. Use the Excel pro forma to calculate the hours you and others are working.
  3. If members’ hours exceed 1,265 over the year, ask your head teacher for a meeting to discuss directed time.
  4. Meet again with members to discuss your head’s response and decide your next steps.
  5. If you need any support, contact your branch secretary.

Let's stop the clock

The aim of our bargaining calendar is to support you to work together with members at your school to improve working conditions, identifying one key issue per term.

A directed time calendar is important to ensure teachers’ hours are reasonable and is standard practice within the profession. Head teachers also find directed time calendars help with resourcing and ensuring staff wellbeing.

We hope this booklet is useful to you and your members and that together you can use this to help you Winning at Work. You can share your stories with us via . Use the poster when you call a meeting.

Want more help or advice on how to win on directed time in your workplace?

Your first point of contact for advice and support from the union should be your National Education Union workplace representative.

If you don't know who that is, contact your branch or district. You can get contact details by telling us which local authority you work in:

I work in: 

Enter your local authority here.