Understanding non-contact time
Non-contact time is for the teacher to prepare, plan, assessment and correction without the need to supervise children. It can also be referred to as release time.
How much NCT do I get?
Pre-school teachers with a full teaching load are entitled to one session a week, which should equate to 3 hours.
Primary school teachers with a full teaching load receive a minimum of 3 hours per week. This includes teachers in settings such as special schools, units and annexes, intensive English units, gifted units as well as specific purpose units and classes.
Secondary teachers with a full teaching load in colleges, high schools and area schools received a minimum 5 hours and 20 minutes.
Senior Teachers are allocated non-contact time on a pro-rata basis according to their teaching load.
Teaching Principals are entitled to 5 hours and 20 minutes non-contact time.
Teachers in a remote school with classes of mixed stages of schooling are to get the higher minimum of 5 hours and 20 minutes.
What if I am part time?
Classroom Teachers employed on a part-time basis will receive non-contact time pro-rata to their teaching load. If you are employed in a part time capacity to facilitate the provision of non-contact time for other classroom teachers then no entitlement applies.
How is NCT allocated?
This will be allocated to you on the school timetable and may be different between schools. When it is being allocated, it should be in useable blocks of time, for example not less than 30 mins.
What if I am a casual or relief teacher?
Casual teachers are not entitled to NCT.
What about supervised eating time?
Supervised eating time is considered instructional time and not part of NCT.
What if my NCT time is being overridden with other school demands?
Teachers have flexibility to use their non-contact time to achieve required outcomes and this time is generally for the administrative activities associated with teaching. If you are being allocated work to do in this time, have a discussion with your line manager. If people are setting meetings for you to attend in that time, respectfully ask them to consult with you first.
What about personal appointments?
When planning personal commitments teachers are expected to take account of their professional obligations. Similarly, principals are also expected to consider professional and personal obligations in scheduling meetings and other activities at which teacher attendance is required.
What if I am not getting my NCT?
Non-contact time can be averaged over a 2 week period. Keep a record of the amount of non-contact time that you receive each fortnight. If this continually shows that you are not being allocated your minimum amount of non-contact time and your principal has not planned with you to remedy the situation, then call the office and ask for advice.
Your NCT is important and an entitlement. It exists to help balance your workload and personal responsibility. You should not accept anything less than the minimum time as set out in the Teacher Responsibilities Guide. If you do, you are potentially masking an issue to do with understaffing and placing greater pressure on yourself and your colleagues.