Timetabling - classroom teachers - primary and special schools : a basic guide

October 2016 | Download as PDF

Rostered duty time

A full-time teacher will have 25 hours (1,500 minutes) of rostered duty time per week.

The standard hours of instruction in schools fall between 8.30am and 3.30pm. Any changes to these hours of instruction must occur in accordance with the provisions of clause 15.8 of the Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016

Non-contact time

A full-time primary teacher will be provided a minimum of two hours (120 minutes) of non-contact time per week.

This must be provided in usable blocks of time of no less than 30 minutes.

Non-contact time is provided for the purpose of undertaking the planning, preparation and correction necessary to perform the role of a teacher.

The 120 minutes (award) entitlement to NCT can be used at the teacher’s discretion. The use of NCT in excess of the award entitlement is determined by the school principal.

Non-contact time can be aggregated by agreement so that a minimum amount of non-contact time can occur in one week with the balance banked – however this balance must be provided to teachers prior to the end of each term, e.g. a 0.4 teacher may agree to receive 30 mins non-contact time a week and bank the remaining 18 minutes of non-contact time per week – meaning that at the end of 10 weeks they would receive 180 minutes of non-contact time, either in one day or split over two.

Where a teacher has a split fraction, e.g. 0.6 primary specialist and 0.4 primary classroom teacher, the teacher will receive the relevant entitlements of each fraction for each sector.

Full-time primary and special school teachers have a maximum 22 hours and 10 minutes (1330 minutes) rostered face-to-face teaching and associated professional duties per week.
Associated professional duties include times when teachers have contact with students in forums such as assembly, form class, pastoral care, sport etc.

NCT foregone as a consequence of planned school activities should be replaced. How this is achieved is subject to consultation with the relevant teacher.

Meal breaks and rest pauses

The 10 minute rest pause must be provided each day – it cannot be accrued over the week and should be in a separate break from that designated as the meal break.

There should be a 45 minute uninterrupted meal break per day – this can be modified through consultative arrangements to provide a minimum 30 minute uninterrupted meal break per day provided that teachers access 225 minutes of uninterrupted meal breaks per week.

The meal break should fall between the hours of 11.00am and 2.00pm as per clause 16.1 (a) of the Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016.

Any changes should be made following consultation with the local consultative committee, in accordance with clause 16.1 (c) of the Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016.

Alterations to the length of the meal break can be achieved through consultation at the local consultative committee, taking into account the requisite continuous 30 minute uninterrupted break per day with a minimum of 225 minutes of meal break per teacher per week.

More information for members : 

QTU Advice Brochure : Meal breaks and bus and playground supervision

Bus and playground duty

The provision of meal breaks and non-contact time should be read as a minimum requirement.

It is important to be cognisant of clause 16.3 Bus and playground supervision – Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016

16.3 Bus and playground supervision

Subject to clauses 16.3(b) and (c), teachers will be relieved of bus supervision duties and supervision of students in the playground as far as possible and where appropriate.

Teachers are still required to undertake some part of those duties. The appropriate mix of teachers and teacher aides will be determined by the principal of the school, having regard to local circumstances in accordance with the applicable local consultative arrangements.

Teachers shall not be required to undertake bus supervision duties for more than 30 minutes after the completion of the daily program of instruction.

Subsequently all efforts should be made to minimise the playground duty undertaken by teachers in a school.

A bus and playground duty roster will be developed in each school in consultation with the staff and the local consultative committee

More information for members : 

QTU Advice Brochure : Meal breaks and bus and playground supervision


Basic Guides provide QTU members with information on their entitlements and can be used by school administration to help in timetabling

Basic Guides are issued for general guidance only and do not constitute professional advice. The issues with which they deal are complex and the Basic Guide necessarily deals only with general principles. No reader should rely on the Basic Guides for the purpose of making a decision as to action but should seek the appropriate advice from the Union on the particular circumstances of that reader. The Union accepts no responsibility for the consequences should any person act in reliance on these Basic Guides without obtaining the appropriate advice from the Union.

More information

The QTU produces a number of documents to help members understand their working conditions and entitlements

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