In teaching you can never work hard enough, there are never enough hours in the day. No matter how many non-contact periods you have there are never enough, right?

But is that strictly true? In an educational context the amount of non-contact a teacher has looks odd when put against other professions. The concept of PPA makes colleagues in the law or medicine give a hollow laugh. Giving someone 5 hours a week off just so they can do their job makes Junior Doctors actively fume.

In Middle Management the issue increases with ‘Management Time’ on top of the 5 hours free a fortnight that a main scale teacher gets. Each school is different but the management time allocation is an area where significant cost savings can be made.

Student Facing VS School Facing

Middle Management has time to manage their departments. How much time they are given is often a formula based on how many staff they have under their umbrella.

Instead the formula should take into account how many students they have under their oversight. This is because it is not the staff that should need the management but the students. This is the difference between student facing resources and school facing resources.

How much of your school’s Middle Management time is spent actively on student attainment, improvement and intervention? 

Most middle management functions can be dealt with by a competent HR department.

Decreasing management time would also allow a decrease in class sizes, the creation of small intervention groups in Year 11, allow team-teaching, or one-to-one learning or many other teaching activities.

This is surely a better use of management time than re-formatting data into endless reports to be filed away somewhere.

Hours VS Days

One of the problems with PPA and Management Time is that it is often discussed in hours. A more useful measure is to look at it in days. 5 non-contact periods a fortnight for a main scale teacher then becomes a whole day off every two weeks. 5 non-contact periods and 10 management periods a fortnight, then becomes three days off a fortnight. 

Think of another profession that would allow one of it’s staff that amount of time off just to perform their basic duties. Can you? If so, let me know in the comments.

There is no doubt that middle management in schools is a hard job. And there is not doubt that middle managers are often overloaded with work, and that they are the back bone of the school.

But, in a time of falling funding, and budgetary pressures, then simple financial savings can be had by looking more carefully at the amount of non-contact hours they have, and asking how much of that time is spent on non-student facing tasks.


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