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Classroom Teachers

  • How many written pupil reports must I write each year?
    Teachers are required to write one pupil report per year. The time to write the reports must be provided to teachers within their individual time budgets.
  • My principal has said that the ETI will want to see my daily notes. Do I have to share them with the ETI?
    Teachers are only required to prepare annual schemes of work and termly or six weekly planners. Weekly/daily or other notes are the teachers own and cannot be required by anyone, including ETI.
  • Do I have to complete weekly planners?

    No. Teachers are required to undertake long term (yearly) and mid-term (6-weekly or half-termly) planning and evaluation. This planning is made available to SMT, ETI etc.

    Many teachers, in addition, will undertake short term planning. Some do daily notes, others prefer weekly plans. These plans are personal, professional notes and the teacher is not required to share them with others.

  • A classroom assistant will not follow my directions to work with a group of pupils. She says she must only work with the Statemented pupil. Can I insist she works with a group?

    The deployment of a classroom assistant within the classroom is the responsibility of the class teacher, in line with the school policies. The role of the classroom assistant is to support the teacher in fulfilling her statutory duty of educating the pupil.

    This may involve the Classroom assistant:

    1. Working with the Statemented pupil on a 1/1 basis;
    2. Working with the Statemented pupil as part of a group;
    3. Working with another group while the teacher works with the Statemented pupil;
    4. Compiling or individualising additional resources.
  • Can my classroom assistant cover my class while I take the choir?
    A classroom assistant should only be used to cover a class in an emergency. An emergency situation would be one when it is unforeseen that the assigned teacher would not be available. A timetabled activity, such as a choir, would not fall into that category. Such cover should only be for the purposes of supervision. Classroom assistants should not be permitted to undertake any teaching activity while the teacher is absent. The teacher is responsible for the conduct of his or her class and any issues arising while a classroom assistant is “in charge” could have repercussions for the teacher if an issue arises or a complaint was received.
  • Am I entitled to time to carry out my role as Head of Department?
    The principal must discuss with each teacher the hours that he/she requires for the particular duties/responsibilities that they have to carry out, including Head of Department duties. During this discussion the parties should discuss the detail of the post and should seek to agree a time allocation for these duties to be performed. This would be the teacher’s individual time budget. Although Preparation Planning and Assessment time is not a statutory right here (yet), the Workload Agreement encourages principals to make every effort to allocate PPA time to teachers (Section 5.1 & 5.2)
  • The SENCO is to observe my classroom teaching in the area of SEN in addition to the PRSD observations. I do not think this is beneficial to my teaching. What should I do?
    Formal Classroom observation should occur within the process of school self-evaluation. It should always be underpinned by professionalism, integrity and courtesy. Arrangements should normally be agreed with both parties and when agreement is not reached then the observation should not occur. Any period of observation should not exceed half an hour. The focus of the observation should be the objectives of the lesson. The teacher should be given feedback which should be supportive and developmental. Peer Observation, Mentoring, coaching and Curriculum coordinator visits should be for the purpose of professional development. These visits should be by agreement and should not involve judgments of teacher performance.
  • Can a principal issue me with a verbal warning?
    A verbal warning is a formal disciplinary penalty and can only be issued by a principal following the clear use of the disciplinary procedure. A verbal warning cannot be issued ‘off the cuff’. The teacher must be informed what the disciplinary issue is, in writing, and given an opportunity to respond, including time to seek advice /representation from their union. A principal can only issue a verbal warning with the authority of the governors. The verbal warning should be communicated to the individual in accordance with the disciplinary procedure stating what it was issued for and when it will expire.
  • My principal wants to move me to P7. Can he do that?
    The Principal of a school is responsible for the allocation of teaching duties including class allocations based upon the needs of the school. In accordance with the Jordanstown Agreement, a Principal is required at least once a year to consult with a teacher regarding the nature and types of activities which they wish them to carry out in the incoming year. Best practice would indicate that any changes follow professional dialogue with those affected. The changes should reflect the skills and aptitudes of staff and that appropriate time, resources and support are provided to any member of staff who is required to change curricular provision or classroom. The teacher should also feel that their views on classroom allocation are being actively considered in any discussions with the Principal and that alternatives where possible are discussed.
  • The Principal has published the holiday list for next year without consulting the staff. Do I have a right to be consulted?
    A principal should consult with staff about the holiday arrangements. The Principal should consider the results of these consultations when drawing up a final holiday list. The final decision on the holiday list will rest with the Board of Governors. The lists should be confirmed as early as possible to allow staff to make arrangements.
  • My Principal wants to open the school to pupils in August. Can she do this without consulting staff?

    School closures should be arranged in consultation with staff. This will require sufficient notice to allow staff with Caring Duties to make suitable arrangements.

    Schools must be open for 195 days. 5 of these days are Baker days when pupils do not attend.

    In recent years, the Department of Education has allowed up to 5 further days to be taken as Exceptional Closure days, for the purpose of staff development , in relation to the Curriculum and Assessment changes.

  • What is the statutory content of pupil reports?

    Pupil reports must contain:

    Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1&2

    Key Stage 3

    1 The assessment of the pupil’s progress in

    relation to Communication (taking account of achievement in the Language and Literacy Area of Learning) and Using Mathematics (taking account of achievement in the Mathematics and Numeracy Area of Learning).


    1 The assessment of the pupil’s progress in

    relation to Communication (taking account of

    achievement in the Language and Literacy Area of

    Learning) and Using Mathematics (taking account

    of achievement in the Mathematics and Numeracy

    Area of Learning).


    2 Brief particulars of the pupil’s achievement in any other Area of Learning or activity which forms part of his/her curriculum, including:

    • using ICT
    • Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities
    • Areas of Learning         

    -The Arts

    -The World Around Us


    -Physical Development and Movement (FS) or Physical Education (KS 1&2)

    -Religious Education (optional);

    • Interests and Strengths
    • Focus for Development
    • Additional Optional Content


    2 Brief particulars of the pupil’s achievement in any

    other Area of Learning or activity which forms part of his/her curriculum, including:

    • Using ICT
    • Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities
    • Areas of Learning

    – Modern Languages;

    – The Arts;

    – Environment and Society;

    – Science and Technology;

    – Learning for Life and Work;

    – Physical Education;

    – Religious Education (optional);

    • Interests and Strengths
    • Focus for development
    • Additional Optional Content

    Schools are free to design a format that suits their needs. Some schools have a comment box for every area, others have merged the areas into collective boxes. Others have designed a checklist with a single box for commentary.