Principles of Timetable Construction Day 1: An Introduction to the Principles of Timetabling

09:00 - 16:00, 1 October 2019 London Book now

Fee £280 + VAT

This is Day 1 of our two-day course, developed primarily for staff new to or with limited experience of timetabling. Details of alternative dates and venues for Day 1, Day 2 (Scheduling the timetable), and our two-day residential courses can be accessed via the Alternative dates tab. Delegates may attend Days 1 and 2 separately or concurrently. 

Day one 
Delegates focus on the basic principles underpinning planning and scheduling. A variety of practical activities introduce a range of tools and strategies, including feasibility tests and staff deployment modelling, essential for the successful completion of a timetable. The key to successful scheduling is the planning and preparation that takes place in advance - view the timeline.

Day two
Explore each step of scheduling an imaginary school using paper resources and spreadsheet exercises. Practical activities enable delegates to appreciate issues encountered during scheduling and to explore solutions. References will be made to functions and tools in timetabling software, however, the emphasis is on exploring an effective sequence of scheduling activities.

Delegates will:

  • be introduced to a systematic approach to planning and scheduling a secondary school timetable

  • explore the basic principles of timetabling through presentation, discussion and practical paper exercises

  • learn to use a range of tools and techniques to plan and schedule a timetable, and understand the role of software in completing the task effectively

  • place the process of timetabling within the context of the school’s curriculum planning, and the need for cost effectiveness

  • develop skills to interpret and analyse their own timetable, lead discussion and begin the timetabling process themselves

Roger Woollen
Timetable Consultant, former deputy headteacher, The Snaith School, East Riding of Yorkshire


Registration and refreshments


Introduction: general principles


Refreshment break


Developing and refining the timetable model

  • The impact of constraints on the timetable structure

  • Feasibility testing: schematic planning, costing the curriculum and timetable model




Feasibility testing: staff deployment modelling, coming charts and clash charts


Refreshment break



  • The use and limitations of the computer

  • A strategy for scheduling

  • Advice, shortcuts, and pitfalls

  • Adapting your plans to improve the timetable

  • Timelines


Final plenary discussion and evaluation