Rest breaks for teachers

Find out what breaks your teachers are entitled to, and read guidance from the DfE, ASCL and expert HR providers.

Last reviewed on 31 October 2023
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 3890
  1. Teachers must get 1 break of "reasonable length" each day
  2. Daily breaks don't automatically count as directed time
  3. Make adjustments for staff who need them
  4. Keep teacher wellbeing in mind too

Teachers must get 1 break of "reasonable length" each day

This applies to the following staff in maintained schools: 

  • Teachers, as long as they work for more than 1 school session. They can take their break either between school sessions or between 12pm and 2pm. It does not count as directed time 
  • Deputy headteachers, assistant headteachers and teachers on the leading practitioners pay range. They should take this as close to the middle of the school day as possible
  • Headteachers, but they must arrange for someone to cover for them while they're on break

This is set out in the STPCD (pages 45 and 50).

20 minutes is the minimum length, but it tends to be longer

In practice, unions will