Restrictions in a teacher's availability, their maximum teaching hours and their preferred room are applied in Screen 3 of Timetable Construction - Teacher Data. This is a very important screen in the planning stage of the timetable as this screen sets the availability parameters for the teaching staff.
This screen allows you to set the specific or general periods of unavailability for any teacher. This can be done in a number of different way and we will outline these below.
This screen allows you to set the maximum hours and minutes that a teacher can be scheduled for. To change the maximum time, you click on the time and manually enter the desired time limit in hours and minutes.
We can also specify the preferred room for a teacher in this screen. This is sometimes referred to as a teacher's home room. Please see the full article on Preferred Rooms
Please Note: Restrictions in the availability of a teacher reduces the chances of scheduling your lessons with the desired spread and excessive use of this screen could prevent you from completing your timetable. Because of its simplicity, it can be very easy to overuse this screen and we advise that you to keep restrictions to a minimum. When a teacher is granted a day(s) or 'half day(s) off, it is less restrictive to allow the solver to select these days or 'half days'. The solver will factor in all of the requests for unavailability and will select periods which will allow for less restrictive scheduling.
We should point out that these settings will allow a teachers to be restricted. A Teaching Group can also be restricted under the Construction Screen. A combination of Teacher & Teaching Group restrictions can seriously hinder the scheduling of your timetable.
In the screenshot above please note the following:
- John Barry has been marked as unavailable until after the morning break on Monday. This was applied by clicking twice on each of the specific periods of unavailability. The periods turn red. The solver will not allow a lesson in which John is the assigned teacher to take place at these precise times. This is a hard rule for the solver.
- Patricia Darby will not be scheduled for class for the 1st period on any of the five days.
- Nicola Dillon has been entered as 'desired unavailable' until after the morning break on Monday. This was applied by clicking once on the specific periods. The periods turn cream. The solver will try not schedule Nicola during these periods but will do so if required. Unlike John Barry, this will not be a hard rule for the solver.
- Mark Flaherty's hours have been set to 18 hours 0 min. This was done by clicking on the numbers and manually entering the desired time. If additional lesson are assigned to Mark's curriculum, a warning notice will appear on the screen and you will not be allowed to schedule until this warning has been addressed by removing lessons from Mark or by increasing his maximum hours accordingly.
- Mark Flynn has requested a 'day off' and this day will be decided by the solver.
- A teacher called 'New French' has been made unavailable for all of Monday's lessons.
There is no reference to a 'Job Share' teacher on this screen. For the purpose of September Returns, a teacher can be marked as a Job Share teacher in their personal profile as in the screenshot below.
Joe English is a 'Job Share' teacher teaching 11 hours (max) and has been allowed 5 'half days' off. The solver will decide which 'half' of each day that he will teach. The school must define at what point the 'Half Day' commences. This is done by dragging and dropping the Red lines on the grid screen (step 2). These can be set the same or different for each day. These are shown in the screenshot below.
As you can see from the above screenshot, 12.05 is the time set for the 'Half Day' from Monday to Thursday and it has been set for 11.10 on Friday as the school finish lessons at 13.25 on Friday. Joe's lessons will be condensed into either 'half' of each day. He will not teach in both 'halves' of any day.