Constructing the Timetable for a School

Over the years I have constructed the timetable for numerous schools and numerous types of school. All have been different but there are some things that are common to many of these projects. The reasons for my involvement are many but again a number of schools have needed me for similar reasons such as unexpected circumstances arising.

From the outset it is important to have a key person at the school with whom to work. Ideally this will be a member of the Leadership Group. Such a person will be able to liaise with Subject Leaders and others during the construction of the timetable.

With most schools the process will start with a preliminary visit to the school. This is for me to get a clear understanding of the precise curricular requirements. In many cases the school will not have a curriculum plan or diagram. In these cases the preliminary day is focussed on getting an agreed precise curriculum plan on paper. At the same time it is necessary to record all the constraints that will affect the timetable.

If the school has not already done so, stringent testing of the data will then take place in order to eliminate any inconsistencies in the data or any logistical impossibilities. This I can (and usually do) carry out back in the office.

I will then enter the data into TimeTabler and at that stage further issues may be brought to light which need resolution by the school before construction can begin.

At this stage I should explain that I use TimeTabler for two main reasons. It is the most sophisticated program available for the task and it is so straightforward to use I am able to construct a number of timetables concurrently. My usual load is about 5 timetables per ‘season'. Once the timetable is complete in TimeTabler it can be exported electronically to the school's MIS.

From that point on, the timetable is constructed in the office (with frequent updates sent to the school). The process is timed (for costing purposes) and when the timetable is complete (to the school's satisfaction) an invoice is raised based on the number of hours taken.

The cost of the whole exercise varies (depending on the length of time taken) but an idea of the cost for your school can be given if you contact me by email ( merv@merv.co ) or phone (landline 01228 594040, mobile 07721 323 403 or Skype).

Mervyn Wakefield   

Sept 2013