Bradford NUT Guidance for Primary Schools on:
Planning, Preparation and Assessment – PPA time
Key points of the entitlement
- Minimum 10% of the individual teacher’s timetabled teaching time for guaranteed PPA from September 2005
- Provided within the school timetabled teaching day – i.e. not in registration, assembly, breaks, or before or after school
- Applies to all teachers, including head, with timetabled teaching commitments
- PPA time is sacrosanct and the teacher must not be asked to cover or perform other directed duties during this time – which has to be timetabled as PPA time
- It is for the teacher to decide the particular PPA priorities for each block of time – the head cannot direct the teacher’s activity during this time
- It must be allocated in blocks of no less than 30 minutes – many Primary schools have allocated either a morning or afternoon session
- NQTs already have a 90% maximum timetable – in addition they receive a further 10% of timetabled teaching time as PPA
- The 10% is a minimum figure – any teacher who already has more than 10% PPA should not have this reduced to 10% - the “no-detriment” clause
- The entitlement can be weekly or fortnightly depending on whether the school has a weekly or fortnightly timetable or where a part-timer would get less than 30 minutes on a weekly basis
- Teachers with leadership and management responsibilities are entitled to a reasonable allocation of time “to support the discharge of their responsibilities” in addition to PPA time. This is allocated within school sessions(ie could be within registration/assembly time as well as timetabled teaching time)– there is a no-detriment provision with regard to any existing allocation of this time
- Headteachers will be identifying teachers’ individual entitlement using a toolkit provided by the DfES
- They have had training from Education Bradford and visits from a remodelling consultant detailing the Government’s remodelling agenda
- They have had innumerable case studies provided by the National Remodelling Team (NRT) of strategies for implementing PPA time
- They may have involved staff in “change team” meetings in pursuit of the remodelling agenda
- Gradings and job descriptions for teaching assistants have recently been negotiated with UNISON
- Consultation on the implementation should take place with staff and trade union reps
The NUT position
The NUT has campaigned for years to achieve non-contact time for all teachers, particularly in Primary, and was in the process of moving towards industrial action to achieve it before the Government agreed to talks on workload reduction .
Unfortunately, the Government’s agenda is something called “ workforce remodelling” .
The rationale behind this is cost-cutting and introducing PPA on the cheap. It also in the process short changes children and poses problems for teachers both professionally and in terms of potential workload- the very problem it should be addressing. Last but not least, it poses a threat to teachers’ jobs as funding issues may determine whether a teacher is employed or not to teach children in whole classes.
Our concerns have now been belatedly recognised by the largest headteachers’ union, the NAHT, who have withdrawn from the Workforce Agreement. This means that the largest teachers’ union and the largest headteachers’ union are now united in opposition to workload reduction on the cheap.
The issues members will face
- A large proportion of the case studies on the website deal with implementing PPA by the cheapest route – i.e. using teaching assistants –sometimes paired up initially- but with a view to solo teaching. This is deliberate and is in line with the Government’s remodelling agenda which has involved legislation allowing literally anybody to teach whole classes as long as the headteacher is satisfied that “the support member of staff has the skills, expertise and experience.” In the case of HLTAs, the qualifications required are 2 A-C s in English and Maths or the equivalent
- Headteachers may attempt to direct what occurs in PPA time – e.g. releasing KS1 teachers at the same time for joint planning – this cannot be prescribed!
- Teachers may come under pressure to plan lessons for support staff or to respond to calls for help from the support staff member during this time or to pick up problems from the lesson – hardly workload reduction!
- The Government line involves a lot of emotional blackmail about existing staff knowing the pupils and staff development etc – nothing about getting teaching on the cheap or the long term sustainability of a system that is set up to rely on outside specialist instructors, theatre groups, outside speakers, combined classes, presentation assemblies, rotating enrichment activities, and of course cheaper staff – all the above are also potential workload issues to organise and oversee.
- Many of the activities that teachers value and make the job worthwhile could be taken away leaving the drudgery of testing, testing, testing…..
- Funding will vary from school to school and some schools will have pressure on their budgets in implementing PPA time - basically it is a lottery, as the NAHT has just recognised. In Bradford , almost all Primary budgets this year have risen sufficiently to employ teachers to implement PPA time
NUT advice to members
- The NUT has committed itself to do all it can to assist UNISON’s efforts to establish proper rates of pay, conditions of service, training and career development for support staff. We are not in conflict with our support staff colleagues when we take the position that whole classes should be taught by qualified teachers and that the introduction of PPA should lead to new employment opportunities for teachers. Both Unions agree that the introduction of the new grades should not be used to undermine the role, pay, conditions and employment of teachers
- Members should encourage heads and governing bodies to employ/use additional teachers including supply teachers to implement PPA – this could be a floating teacher, a teacher employed at more than one school e.g a Languages specialist; co-operating between feeder schools; cluster supply teachers; additional hours for part-timers etc
- The question that must be asked of every management proposal for implementing PPA is whether this actually reduces teacher workload? Picking up problems of organisation, planning, referral, supervision, fall-out and increased stress is not workload reduction. The PPA time must not be compromised at all by any of the above. For instance if teachers are asked to combine classes one afternoon a week in KS1 to allow colleagues freed to take PPA time, how is this reducing workload over the year?
- Members should resist prescription of what happens during PPA time – the Union will back them in resisting heads who try to direct particular activities – it is YOUR time!
- Members with an existing allocation for leadership and management time should expect the same allocation from September in addition to PPA time. If members have a management responsibility at the moment but no allocation then LMT should be considered by their school as part of the timetabling for September. The Union will support members in putting the case for recognition of these responsibilities.
One headteacher on the National Remodelling Team website complained “that staff resistance to change was disappointing.” She was reporting feedback from NQTs in her school who questioned why they had spent 4 years qualifying to teach when the workforce reform agenda assumed that a teaching assistant was qualified to teach on a regular basis. The Government propaganda agenda is overwhelming aimed at crushing that resistance and making it seem outdated –witness the latest letter to parents sent out by Education Bradford trumpeting that children would not lose out in the remodelling agenda. How do they know? Who can trust them?
The NUT fought for an all graduate profession and parity of Nursery, Primary and Secondary. The remodelling agenda puts these at risk.
PPA: WHAT IS IT AND HOW SHOULD IT WORK?