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Compliance with the National Agreement

The National Agreement between Government, employers and school workforce unions was signed on 15th January 2003. It now forms part of the statutory Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document which regulates the employment of teachers in England and Wales. The Agreement is focused upon reducing teachers’ workload and as such forms a key part of the Schools Remodelling Strategy, although the remodelling agenda is much broader and inclusive of all staff than the National Agreement.

Remodelling and the National Agreement have been driven from a context of concerns about teachers’ workload, use of teachers’ time and the future sustainability of education provision.

Key elements of the agreement

The agreement introduced statutory changes to teachers’ terms and conditions over a phased period:

  • Phase 1: Sept 2003 - Routine delegation of admin and clerical tasks. Entitlement to reasonable work/life balance. Introduction of reasonable release time for leadership and management duties.
  • Phase 2: Sept 2004 - Introduction of limit on cover for absent teachers – maximum of 38 hours per year.
  • Phase 3: Sept 2005 - Introduction of Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA) time for all teachers – minimum of 10% of teaching timetable. Introduction of new invigilation arrangements. Introduction of dedicated headship time.
  • Phase 4: Sept 2009 - Introduction of Rarely Cover. Schools should be considering the implications of Rarely Cover.

The agreement has been incorporated within Section 4 of the Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.


The past year has seen focused attention on compliance with the national agreement with some professional associations undertaking surveys of their members and the TDA asking questions of local authorities. It is crucial for schools to understand that the National Agreement is a statutory entitlement for teachers and school must ensure that they comply with the requirements.  Hampshire has set up a sub-group of TLP to focus on National Agreement compliance and the introduction of rarely cover. Support staff trade union representatives have also been invited into this group which provides a forum for concerns about compliance to be discussed and county-wide strategies and solutions proposed.

The Local Authority is required to gather intelligence on compliance and is using various mechanisms to gather data or evidence of concerns:

  • Verbal or written reports from HIAS staff or SIPs
  • NQT survey
  • Relevant and supported information from HR staff
  • Relevant and supported information from professional associations or trade unions

Support is available for schools who are struggling to comply with the requirements of the National Agreement. Please see the contacts section for details of who to contact.

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