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How to get organised for school with an efficient timetable

Thursday, 26 October 2023 by Weduc

The importance of efficient school timetables

As every school knows, a well-constructed timetable is vital to the organisation and seamless running of day-to-day school life. Not only is it pivotal for teaching staff but most efficient school systems are also extremely important for student success.

However, there’s an art to carefully crafting an efficient school timetable – it’s not as simple as ensuring rooms aren’t double booked. A good school timetable shouldn’t overcrowd a teacher’s schedule, and it should strike the right balance between more difficult subjects and less mentally taxing ones so that pupils don’t end up overworked.

Unfortunately, though, too often school timetables can end up being scrambled together, resulting in errors and a lack of consideration for the needs of the people it is organising. But how can schools get the art of timetabling right? Keep reading to find out.


How to use your timetable to maximise learning time

An efficient school timetable should not simply tell pupils where to be and when. It should actively work to maximise their learning time. How? By scheduling classes around the body’s natural circadian rhythm.

For instance, there are several reasons why learning tends to be maximised first thing in the morning. For starters, that’s when your suprachiasmatic nucleus (which controls your body’s internal clock), triggered by the arrival of daylight, is releasing the hormones, such as cortisol, that help wake you up. As the day goes on and the light starts to dim, the suprachiasmatic nucleus sends messages to the pineal gland which triggers the release of melatonin, which helps you fall asleep.

The power of understanding this is that it means you can use your pupils’ internal clock to their advantage by scheduling the toughest subjects, such as Maths, Science, and English, in the morning. This is when the brain is at its most organised and least distracted. In fact, research from Royal Holloway, University of London even found that when teenagers had maths in the morning rather than the afternoon, their exam results improved by 7%.


How to use your timetable to enhance teacher productivity

As the shortage of teaching staff continues, finding ways to lessen the pressure on teachers and make their work life more enjoyable and more manageable is an ongoing priority. The good news is, having a smartly designed timetable can do just that, by helping teachers to stay on top of their workload, save time, and do more in the time they have available.

To start with, teachers’ timetables should provide enough time for teachers to plan, prepare, and assess and complete professional development requirements. Without this time, teachers are likely to get burnt-out. However, in order to give pupils the quality of lessons they deserve, teachers need to be motivated and energised – and burnt-out teachers are neither of those things.

Teachers’ timetables also need to take flexible working requests into account – mostly importantly, part time teachers should not need to cram in the same number of lessons as full-time teachers, with less time to plan, prepare, and assess. Teachers’ timetables therefore need to be built around their requirements with their wellbeing front and centre.

By creating a timetable that gives them the space they need to do the admin and paperwork required outside of lessons, they can go into their lessons focused and well rested. Meaning they get the chance to do their best work, and their pupils benefit from a motivated, effective teacher.


How to use your timetable to meet diverse student needs

Over 13 million registered disabled people currently live in the U.K., and 800,000 of those are children under the age of 16. Inclusive education, then, is as important now as it has ever been. However, schools cannot practice inclusive education if their timetables exclude disabled people.

For instance, if a disabled pupil’s timetable does not take into account their disability, they are effectively being discriminated against. This means, if your school’s timetable allows 5 minutes to travel between lessons, a disabled pupil’s classes need to be close enough to each other that they can make it from one to the other in those 5 minutes. Giving them grace to be late isn’t good enough – being forced to be late singles them out and means they will consistently miss valuable lesson time.

Similarly, if a disabled pupil’s timetable includes lessons that are not on the ground floor, there should be a working lift at all times to ensure they can access the classroom. Inaccessible classrooms are an access violation and again a form of discrimination.

However, having a timetable that does not meet access needs is not just about discrimination, though that is important – it’s about education. According to UNICEF, inclusive education refers to the right of every child to access quality education. An efficient school timetable should be constructed to support that aim.


Discover efficient timetabling with timetable software from ReachMoreParents

Want to know how to be more organised for school? The School Timetable Software from ReachMoreParents is designed to make your life easier. Not only is manual timetabling time consuming, but it’s also notoriously prone to errors. With the School Timetable Software from ReachMoreParents, you can:

  • Improve organisation
  • Save time
  • Save money
  • Enable transparent communication
  • Store data effectively

To find out more about how you can construct an efficient timetable that supports both your teachers and pupils, click here to book a discovery call at a time that suits you, drop us a line via our enquiry form, or give us a call on 01509 221 349.

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