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Any teachers know the 'rules' about break times?

(28 Posts)
Moomin Thu 15-Jul-04 23:23:37

Have just got my teaching timetable for next year and it's a real stinker (wots new?)
One thing that is bothering me is that I have a full teaching day on the day I'm down to do playground duty. Because I work p/t (3 days) I only have to do morning break while f/t teachers have to do a stint before and after school on their days. But it does mean that on my duty day I'll teach 2 hours before my break-duty then 2 hours after. What are the 'rules' about toilet and drink breaks, does anyone know?
When I first started at this school, the bloke who did the t/t always made sure you had a free before or after your break duty but that seems to have gone by the wayside since other people have been doing the t/t. I can't even swap to another day to do my break as all my days have full mornings with no frees.

carla Thu 15-Jul-04 23:27:04

Moomin, can't help at all, but good luck. XXX

Hulababy Thu 15-Jul-04 23:29:17

Not sure but sounds like bad planning on the part of the person in charge. I suspect it is legal, but not in the best interests of staff Our person in charge tries to keep duty on days where you have frees but it doesn't always work that way. Not sure on the actual law - have you tried the union website?

hercules Thu 15-Jul-04 23:30:52

Fraid there's little you can do. I've had full days and been on duty during break time before. I've gone to the toilet anyway although fully aware I am responsible if anything happens. I dont have a drink.

hercules Thu 15-Jul-04 23:32:00

My school have never tried to plan it this way. It's always been pot luck when you have duty.

Moomin Thu 15-Jul-04 23:36:36

Happy days
I think i've got endoftermitis.

mears Fri 16-Jul-04 16:10:29

Moomin - which union are you in? Is there a rep in the school you can ask? If not, can't you phone for advice? Having been a union rep at work myself, sometimes it is just that someone needs to discuss it as an issue and seek a solution which is often relatively easy. Quoting Health & Safety legislation usually works....

SueW Fri 16-Jul-04 16:50:40

Isn't there a general work rule about breaks? Something like if you work six hours you must have a 30 minute break and this can't be added on to the end of the time. Would this be different for teachers?

mears Fri 16-Jul-04 17:10:15

This makes interesting reading here

There is a link to a report which may be of use to you Moomin in relation to non-teaching duties.

mummysurfer Fri 16-Jul-04 18:20:13

moomin, are you in secondary?
ime [primary] this is pretty much the norm. staff in small schools particularly have a free period every few weeks but playground duty has to be done more than once a week.
a friend works in a very small school, 3 staff, so i don't know how they manage.
one school i've been at the teacher on duty the previous day goes out immediately and covers until the current teacher on duty comes out, thus giving her time to go to the loo, but no hot drink of course. i normally take a carton of fruit juice altho' I know some schools allow teachers to have a hot drink on the yard brought out by someone else.

Lara2 Mon 19-Jul-04 19:33:07

Moomin - sorry honey, no sympathy here. In all infant, junior and primary schools, we all have to teach all day and do our playground duties. The loo break happens when it does - and the cup of tea is dependent on somebody remembering to bring it out to you! I do playground duty Monday morning and afternoon and go straight into a staff meeting until 5pm after school. It's just the way the system works.

Moomin Mon 19-Jul-04 23:15:57

Wasn't after sympathy, or a competition to see who's the hardest done-to.

Moomin Mon 19-Jul-04 23:21:53

V Interesting article, mears - thanks.

Hulababy Tue 20-Jul-04 19:26:53

Lara - as of next year ALL school teachers will be entitled to a set percentage of time off timetable, including primary. This is agreed by the Government and ALL schools have to abide by it. So things should improve next year. I can't remember the exact %age time right now though.

Lara2 Wed 21-Jul-04 18:51:31

Moomin, sorry if I offended you - didn't mean to. Just find it surprising that teachers don't expect to teach all day. Hulababy, we might get PPA time, but it's not going to co-incide beautifully with break duties - and it won't be happening every week either.

mears Wed 21-Jul-04 19:11:34

Is this an English thing? I asked my mum about it (used to teach) but she said it is not a teachers job to do playground duty. Classroom assistants and other support staff do it in Scottish primary schools.

Hulababy Wed 21-Jul-04 19:47:04

According to unions duty is not a teacher's job and is infact one of the things listed as a thing to get rid of. But it takes time.

I agree that non-contact (don't know PPA) isn't guaranteed every week or to coincide with break duties - mine rarely does. However it should improve and the amount of gurranteed time should be improving too. It is aiming for an hour a week but can't remember exactly when that comes in - maybe September 2005???

I don't think many teachers do expect to not teach all day. I know that I generally have to do a full day as my non-contact is not yet guearanteed (%age is next year) so even if I have NCT I know I'd generally get a cover lesson anyway. BUT I do think teacher's should be sticking together more and standing up for better conditions regarding time out fromt he kids occasionally. Unless that is a united front it'll never happen.

hana Wed 21-Jul-04 20:04:47

at our special school (secondary) no teachers do playground duty before school, but do have to do one during the morning break. The deputy who does timetabling always tries to give the break duty to a teacher with a non-contact before or after the morning there any way you can make a trade with someone else? There might be other teachers in the same situation who also want to switch?
Hope you can

Hulababy Wed 21-Jul-04 20:06:26

That's a good idea. We sometimes swap ours about at the start of each year where possible.

SofiaAmes Wed 21-Jul-04 23:33:02

Lara2, I'm a little confused. Are you saying that it's normal to work a full day (8-5) straight without a break? Maybe I've understood this incorrectly. But isn't moomin saying that she has to teach/work for 5 hours straight without any official time to go to the toilet or eat? And that she has to rely on somone doing her a favor by covering for her in order to pee. I didn't think any job was allowed to make you do that. If that's what's required of teachers, it's no wonder there is a shortage of capable people going into the profession. Not to mention the poor pay for the caretakers of the future of our children. (sorry pet peeve of mine)

Moomin Thu 22-Jul-04 19:51:13

Thanks sofiaames, that was my point. As soon as break starts you are 'legally' responsible for what goes on in your area of the playground (or so our head bangs on when he finds that staff are late for duty). So if two or more kids decide to knock ten tonnes of **** out of each other and I'm in the loo, I'M in trouble.
Secondary teachers are sposed to get non-contact periods which are in proportion to the hours they teach, so if someone teaches f/t, they teach 21 out of 25 periods (and one of those periods is a scheduled cover period anyway, so 9 times out of 10 it's used).
What I was saying about our previous deputy was that he always tried to ensure you had one of your non-contact periods before or after your duty break time so that you could go to the loo and have a cup of tea or whatever, i.e. a break. Builders get breaks, office workers get breaks, even my dh who's a nurse, makes sure he gets his breaks - so why should I feel guilty about asking for a break just because I'm a teacher?!
Thanks for the suggestions about swapping with others - it's a good idea but for all of my 3 days, I'm timetabled to teach 4 periods every morning, so it doesn't make any difference which day it is.
All I want is a wee break!!!!!!!!! I might go and have a look at the whole staff timetable now and see if anyone else is in the same boat. As hulababy said, there's strength in numbers!

hercules Thu 22-Jul-04 19:56:10

Think it's 22 out of 25.

Moomin Thu 22-Jul-04 20:09:01

yeh, sorry you're right. Some of our staff get extra non-contact periods for being heads of dept / heads of year or other stuff like that. When I was 2nd in dept i was on 21.

SueW Fri 23-Jul-04 00:09:26

Here's an article which talks about toilets, toilet breaks and other rest periods and what workers are entitled to.

It looks from this, Moomin, as though what your school requires you to do is perfectly within the law.

Hulababy Fri 23-Jul-04 08:26:53

IT *is* within the law, but IMO (and many others, including unions) break duty is not a good use of teacher time. I would rather have those few minutes to prepare for my next classes, nip to the toilet, maybe talk to a pupil about his/her work, etc. Not stood arouns a playground come rain or shine checking children are staying within the rules - any non qualified staff could do that.

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