The School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) recognises that an excess of meetings can be detrimental to a teacher’s work/life balance.
The days when meetings are to be held at the end of school sessions should be identified in advance so that teachers can plan their personal activities.
All after-school meetings should appear on the year’s calendar of events, planned before the commencement of each academic year and no new meetings should be called except in a genuine emergency.
This is particularly critical for teachers with carer responsibilities.
Class teachers should not be called upon to attend more than one management-organised meeting a week.
All meetings should be justifiable and where there is insufficient business, meetings should be cancelled.
Once published, the days and dates for meetings should not be changed unless there are exceptional circumstances and then only in consultation with staff and the NASUWT.
The number of meetings per week
The NASUWT recommends that teachers not paid on the leadership pay range should attend only one meeting per week outside pupil session times.
Those teachers paid on the leadership pay range should also seek to agree a limit on the number of meetings they attend per week outside school session times.
No after-school meetings should take place in a week during which there is a parent consultation meeting planned.
Timing of meetings
The time spent in meetings counts as directed time.
Scheduled meetings, such as staff meetings and year group/departmental meetings, should normally:
- be no more than one hour in length;
- have a published agenda with start and finish times, circulated in sufficient time to enable teachers to participate effectively in the business;
- be effectively chaired;
- have clear outcomes.
Meetings should be confined to school business. For example, no staff or department meeting should be engaged in determining teachers’ conditions of service, including matters such as redundancy.
Teachers should not provide ‘secretarial support’ at meetings by taking formal minutes or verbatim notes.
Meetings during the lunch break
All teachers are entitled to a reasonable lunch break during the day.
Teachers cannot be directed to attend meetings during the lunch break and meetings should not be arranged during the lunch break.
Teachers should not be encouraged to attend such meetings or volunteer to do so.
Particular attention should be paid to the STPCD provisions and guidance relating to part-time teachers in respect of the requirement for a reasonable balance to be struck between the need to attend meetings and other professional and domestic commitments.
Part-time teachers should not have a greater proportion of their directed time allocated outside of their normal sessions than full-time teachers.
NB These conditions of service provisions are now subject to NASUWT national action instructions.