Timetabling: achieving value for money

Read advice from experts and school leaders on ways to achieve cost-effective timetabling, including how MATs and federations can improve efficiency.

Last reviewed on 5 April 2022
School types: AllSchool phases: SecondaryRef: 13146
  1. Conduct a timetable review
  2. Reduce spare capacity
  3. Efficient timetabling across a MAT or federation
  4. Timetabling services: commercial organisations

Conduct a timetable review

Start by thinking about:

  • Whether you're using your staff to full capacity
  • How many pupils are enrolled in courses and whether the courses are financially viable
  • Whether your curriculum offer is coherent, and whether it allows for efficient use of staff

Use staff to full capacity

The contact ratio in a timetable can have a big effect on cost. In order to calculate the contact ratio:

  1. Calculate the total possible teaching periods by multiplying the number of possible teaching periods in the timetable by the number of full-time equivalent teachers
  2. Divide the total number of actual teaching periods timetabled for all teachers by the figure calculated in step 1

Timetables that have low contact ratios are more expensive to run, and thus, deliver less value for money.

You should aim for a contact ratio of 0.78. A representative from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) told us this.