IMT - Frequently Asked Questions

Created on: 18 Sep 2011 | Last modified: 23 Apr 2020

If you are a new Instrumental Music Teacher (IMT) ensure that you have made contact with your local IMT Network Member she/he can help you with all of your initial questions about the Service locally.

On your first visit to a new school you should be introduced to colleagues and shown around the school and the room(s) where you will be teaching.

As part of your induction to the school you should also be informed of relevant school policies (for example the school’s policy on discipline) and essential health and safety information (for example, the arrangements for first aid and the fire/emergency procedures). 

Arrangements and practices vary across schools so it is important that you ask for any information or support required if it is not provided on induction to the school. 

Most schools will have an EIS Representative. Most secondary schools and some primary schools will also have an EIS Safety Representative. 

The EIS Representative is the first point of contact for raising concerns about issues at school level.  

Each council area has an EIS Local Association and the EIS Local Association Secretary who can be contacted when a school network member is unable to provide support or the issue is beyond school level (click here for contact details of Local Association Secretaries). 

IMTs are encouraged to become involved in EIS Local Associations and a good way to start is to attend your Local Association’s meetings. 

EIS/IMT Network Members should make regular contact with their local association secretary. 

If they are contacted by a member with a contractual problem or another issue which is beyond school level this should always be referred to your local association secretary for guidance on how it should be taken forward.

Employment Issues

Who is my line manager?

The management of Instrumental Music Teachers (IMTs) is determined at council level. A common model is for a shared line management system: line management being shared between a manager at council level and teachers given line management responsibility for IMTs within each school. The school level line managers are usually responsible for general direction and support of IMTs. 

In primary schools the line management function may be undertaken by a Depute Headteacher or the Headteacher. 

In secondary schools the line manager is usually a Principal Teacher of Music but in some schools it could be another promoted post holder, depending on the management structure in the school. 

IMTs should be informed of the arrangements for line management and should be clear on the role of their line manager(s).

No one has issued me with a contract. Should I ask for one?

Yes you should ask for a contract to be provided. A contract of employment should be issued either before or on employment. You should ask your line manager (at council level) to pursue this for you. If you experience problems with this or any other contractual issues you should contact your EIS Local Association Secretary for advice.

The conditions of service for IMTs which are nationally determined are contained within the SNCT Handbook of Conditions of Service for Teachers and Associated Professionals. IMTs are classified as a group of ‘Associated Professionals’ and are referred to in the Handbook as ‘Music Instructors’.

What are the maximum working hours for IMTs?

IMTs have a working week of 35 hours; maximum pupil contact of 27.5 hours and a minimum of 2.5 hours for preparation, instrument maintenance, transposition and orchestration. The remaining five hours each week are for activities at council and school level, ranging from staff meetings to school/pupil performances (see SNCT Handbook for further details: Link to Section 3.11 to 3.17). 

There is also a contractual requirement for 35 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) per annum. 

Working hours are on a pro rata basis for IMTs on part-time contracts.

I have been asked to change my hours without my agreement. How do I raise my concern? Do I have to agree?

Changes to contractual hours of work should not be made without an employee’s agreement. You do not have to agree and should raise your concern with your line manager. Where an employer is seeking to impose a change to hours advice should be sought from the EIS Local Association Secretary.

I have eight schools on my timetable, when others have only one or two, is this fair?

Unfair workload demands should be raised with your line manager and EIS advice sought if the issue is not resolved. It is not covered by any specific legislation.

If you believe you are being subjected to less favourable treatment for example, because of your age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief or as a result of you being a temporary or part-time employee, this is likely to be covered by the terms of the Equality Act. In this event you should seek advice from the EIS Local Association Secretary. Advice on equality issues can be found on the EIS website.

School Issues

With whom, in the school, should I raise problems or issues of concern?

Issues of concern should be raised with your school based line manager in the first instance. If the matter is not resolved it may be appropriate to refer this to your council based manager or/and to seek EIS advice and support.

What should I know about the pupils I am teaching?

In general, it is helpful to find out a little bit about the background to each pupil you will be teaching. Ensure that you ask as many questions as you need about the pupils you will be teaching and it is a good idea to seek input from the class teacher. You should be provided with information on additional support needs of the pupils you will be teaching.

I have a disruptive pupil in my class, what do I do in the first instance?

The school’s discipline policy should be followed and support sought from your school based line manager.

I have been accused of speaking inappropriately to a pupil, what do I do?

The first step would be to discuss this with your line manager and then, depending on the nature of the accusations, to seek advice from either the EIS Representative or Local Association Secretary. 

A teacher does not want to release a child from class or the child is on a school trip what should I do?

You should refer this to your line manager in the school. It will be the line manager’s responsibility to schedule lessons and to take into account school trips or other activities that are taking place.

What happens if a pupil becomes ill or has an accident during the lesson?

You should follow the schools accident/emergency procedures to contact a first aider.

The room I have been asked to teach in is; the size of a cupboard, too hot/too cold, has no window etc.

You should raise concerns relating to teaching space, conditions and environment with your line manager(s) and through reporting mechanisms at school level, for example health and safety reporting systems. Advice can also be sought from the EIS Representative/Safety Representative. 

All rooms used for work activities are required to comply with health and safety legislation. The requirements for workplaces (of all types) are contained in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Details of these regulations and general health and safety information and advice are provided in the EIS Health and Safety Handbook.