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Teachers voluntary work in Malahide Community School

Secondary teachers teach 22 hour week. In addition, they prepare lessons, gather resources, set and mark exams, and deal with the various issues that arise on a daily basis with students, parents and colleagues.  This is only part of the picture. There are hours of time given to schools by teachers which are not measured and not taken into account in any discussions about working hours.  Schools in Ireland have a considerable range of curricular and extra-curricular activities made possible by the hours that teachers and staff volunteer outside of the normal teaching day. The benefit to the students of these activities is enormous.

In most schools, this extra work is not being captured or measured.  It can therefore get lost and forgotten in the debates and discussions about the job of teaching and all it entails.  To address this, my colleague, Catherine Duffy, and I embarked on a pilot project to measure the time spent on these extracurricular activities in our school over one year, the academic year 2010/11.  To ensure that the data was gathered in a uniform way, we developed a template for staff to complete which captured: details of the activity; number of students and teachers involved; number of hours. Not surprisingly, the final document collating the information is lengthy and detailed.  We present here a shorter edited version. The full document can be viewed on the Malahide Community School website. 

Some points to note: Staff were reporting after the event so in some cases the time had to be estimated.  Where this applied, an under- estimation the amount of time was recorded. In the case of school trips, we allowed 12 hours per day although in reality teachers are on duty 24 hours during trips.

All of the teachers concerned in these activities gave of their time willingly and with a good heart. The intention and motivation was to enhance the school life of our students. We would encourage other schools to do a similar measure of the time volunteered by teachers and staff to their school. It is illuminating to see the variety and scale of the different activities.

In the U.K. in the 1980s there was a very bitter dispute between the teaching unions and the government. Teachers were vilified by the Education Secretary. The unions imposed  a work to rule. All extra-curricular activities stopped. The conflict was protracted and messy. When the dispute ended, many teachers did not return to their former activities. School sport was particularly badly hit. John Major is on record as saying that English cricket went into decline after this action. At a time when there is an explosion in childhood obesity, the authorities in the U.K. are desperately trying to encourage more physical activity among young people, particularly in school.


”... schools are now encouraged to offer more physical education where possible. This will include the usual syllabus but can also include after school activities-where possible-such as swimming, cross-country running.....”

“How Schools Tackle Childhood Obesity”       www.gettherightschool.co.uk

They had after - school sport in large amounts for free up to the 1980s.

 In Ireland there is still a considerable amount of sport provided in schools. Teams are run on a voluntary basis by teachers with a passion for their sport. If we discourage this by short-sighted measures to “increase productivity”, or fail to acknowledge the time and effort required to run these activities there is a very real danger that they will disappear over time.

Sport is just one activity that can provide measurable beneficial effects. There are other important benefits that students gain from acting, music, cultural and academic activities, including building confidence and self esteem, personal development and growth.

Our results show number of hours spent.  Unfortunately, they cannot show the energy, enthusiasm, passion, dedication and commitment that also went into each and every activity. This is the truly immeasurable and invaluable input that must be maintained and nurtured.

                                    Pat Duff and Catherine Duffy

                                    Malahide Community School. Feb. 2012

For more information email:   duffp@malahidecs.ie







Sports Fixtures

24 teachers training 37 teams.

Preparation, games, etc. Each team has an average of six weeks playing.

37 X 10 X 6 =   2220 hours

10 hours per teacher per week, per team.


Total: 2220 hours


Ardeche Trip

8 teachers


8 days in August 2012

Planning meetings

15  hours in phone calls and planning etc.


64 hours

15 hours

Total 79


11 teachers

170 students

Friday to Sunday 7pm.

36 Hours per teacher

Total: 396 hours

Ski Trip to Norway

12 teachers

150 students

7 day trip

84 hours per teacher

Total: 1008 hours

Cycling Trip to Killarney

11 teachers and 140 students for 6 days.

Planning, organisation and trip.

792 hours for trip

20 hours organising

Total: 812 hours

Walking Trip to Wicklow

8 teachers and 140 students

3 overnights in September plus planning and organising

36 hours per teacher

Total: 288 hours


7 teachers and 12 students for 10 days.

Preparation, planning and trip.

80 hours preparation per teacher Plus  120 hours for trip per teacher

Total: 1,400 hours

French Trip

9 Teachers

90 Students


French trip for 3rd years. 2 hour meeting with Parents before French Trip

2 hours per teacher


Total: 18 hours

Ice Skating

7 teachers

 Ice Skating Trip with Tutor Group

9am to 2pm

7x5 hours = 35

Total: 35 hours

Agricultural Science Trip


I teacher

30 students

6th years. Lyons Estate Agricultural College

7 hours

Total: 7 hours

Causey Farm

1 teacher

24 students

5th Year Agricultural Science Trip Causey Farm in Trim


7 hours

Total: 7 hours

Golf outings

1 teacher

50 students

Four golf outings

16 hours per teacher

Total: 16 hours


Space camp

5 staff


Minimum of 10 hours admin

4 day trip

58 hours per teacher

Total: 58 hours


Theatre Trip

1 Teacher

6th year trip to a Whistle in the Dark

3 hours

Total: 3 hours


Spanish Trip

2 teachers

15 students

4th and 5th year students to Salamanca Spain for 2 weeks in July

30 hours planning +

168 hours on trip  per teacher

Total: 396 hours

Study/ Revision  


2 teacher

Practicals for Junior Cert and Leaving Cert

10 hours

Total 10 hours


Ongoing Counselling on demand

1-3 Guidance Counsellors

Extra Counselling required by students outside of Contracted Hours

3hours per teacher

Total: 3 hours


Home Economics

One teacher

Extra classes in preparation for state practical exams

25 hours per teacher

Total: 25 Hours



4 teachers

Mock oral exams and trip to Gaeltacht

 in preparation for state oral exam

61 hours              

Total: 61 hours



1 teacher

Extra classes in preparation for state practical exams

4 hours per teacher

Total: 4 hours



1 teacher

Interview recording and portfolio work

75 hours

Total: 75 hours


Oral Exams

180 students

Mock exams of 20 to 30 minutes per student

90 hours

Total: 90 hours



1 teacher. 10 students per session

Geography revision classes for 6th Years who don't do Irish.


5 hours

Total: 5 hours



2 teachers

Extra classes on Wednesdays for exam years.

Preparation of sets for the show for 4th years

5 hours x 10 x 2 teachers


Total: 100 hours


Agricultural  Science


30 students

Extra exam classes

20 hours

Total: 20 hours




Extra classes, revision days

 Total :29 hours



1 teacher. 400 students

Students are given the opportunity to repeat the exams regularly throughout the year after school



Total:20 hours



1 teacher

60 students

4 Extra exam classes

6.5 hours

Total : 6.5 hours



1 teacher

20 extra hours

20 hours

Total: 20 hours


LC English

I teacher

Three 2-hour sessions 

6 hours

Total:6 hours



2 teachers

Practical projects for Junior Cert and Leaving cert

252 hours per teacher

Total: 504 hours




Buying of costumes and make up plus show time. 2 teachers

Total:23 hours



3 teachers

2.5  weeks rehearsals

4 days at weekends Dress Rehearsals

4 Evening Shows


50 hours per teacher

Total: 150 hours


Carol Service

2 teachers

30 hours rehearsals

3 hours evening of carol service

33 hours per teacher

Total: 66 hours



3 teachers

Alice in Wonderland

Production, auditions, rehearsals and show time.

93 hours per teacher

Total: 279 hours



Sponsored Sleepover

18 students and 20 staff 

Sleepover to raise money for 3 charities: 

20 hours planning, 14 hours for actual Sleepover

Total:160  hours


Mini Marathon Charity Run

1 teacher

Organising a group of students to take part in the run.


Total: 2 hours

Extra Curricular Programmes


1 teacher

50 -60 students entered

30 -35 students completed

1 hours per week for 28 weeks

28 hours

Total: 28 hours


Young Scientist

1 teacher

Lunchtime meetings

10 hours

Total: 10 hours


DEFIB and CPR Training

20 Teachers

3 hours

60 hours

Total: 60 hours





8499.5  hours