Q: We have to be in school for an 8.35am briefing. In theory (and often in practice), a member of staff can be teaching lessons one and two, have a 15-minute break duty, teach period three, then have a 10-minute first lunch duty, taking them up to 12.20pm. This makes 3hrs 45mins without a toilet or drink break. Is this legal?
A: For a start, lunch duty is an optional activity. Even so, that only reduces the time to around three and a half hours. So long as it isn't every day, and everyone is treated the same, you may not be able to complain. However, if you have a medical reason to need a toilet break you should discuss the issue with the staff member responsible for drawing up the duty rota. As a newly qualified teacher with a 10 per cent non-contact time plus 10 per cent planning, preparation and assessment allowance, I am surprised that you would face this situation more than occasionally. Have you told your mentor, especially if your timetable has all your non-contact time in the afternoons?
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