What is the Working Time Agreement?

The Working Time Agreement (WTA) is an allocation of hours for the devoted tasks which lie outwith the class contact time and the associated preparation and correction time for teachers, tasks such as report writing, whole staff meetings, parents’ meetings, departmental meetings and forward planning.

Fundamentally, this is an agreement localised down to school level as the spirit of the agreement is that it meets the needs of the particular school and staff for that workplace.

As such, it has to be negotiated and agreed at school level and no outside individual, for example the Local Association Secretary or National Official, is normally allowed to attend.

This is why it is most important and in members’ best interests that there be a named Workplace Representative in the school to take forward the views of the membership on this matter.

Working hours, working week and working year

Whilst it might seem very basic to come back to the working week and year as a starting point, it is a useful place to begin and, in our experience, the following outline and breakdown is helpful to Workplace Representatives.

Teachers’ hours are broken down as follows:

Thirty-five-hour working week made up of:

  1. 22.5 hours maximum class contact time;

  2. 7.5 hours preparation and correction time. This is directly linked to class contact time and appears in the SNCT provision as ‘An allowance of no less than one third of the teacher’s actual class contact commitment is provided for preparation and correction’.;

  3. 5 hours per week ‘Collegiate Time’ negotiated in the WTA.

Some confusion can arise between Non-Class Contact Time, often referred to by the abbreviation NCCT, and WTA tasks.

Once a teacher has reached their 22.5 hours maximum class contact time, or pro rata equivalent for part-time staff, the remaining time they have on site during school hours is usually referred to as Non-Class Contact Time and it is often used for preparation and/or correction.

However, a teacher can be asked to undertake a WTA task in their NCCT time, e.g. attending a meeting, Committee or Working Group. That would have the consequence of reducing the five hours they have available for any other WTA tasks that week - which is why an agreement on what these WTA tasks are and when they will be undertaken is vitally important.

NASUWT support

Whilst there is a wealth of information on these pages, our Scotland Centre staff are always there in the background and, though we cannot negotiate directly, we can offer advice and experiences from negotiations in other schools/local authorities.

We also have some very experienced Representatives who have extensive knowledge of the WTA negotiation process and would be willing to share their expertise.


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