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Poland:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

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Overview Poland

Contents

Poland:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Poland:Historical Development

Poland:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Poland:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Poland:Political and Economic Situation

Poland:Organisation and Governance

Poland:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Poland:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Poland:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Poland:Organisation of Private Education

Poland:National Qualifications Framework

Poland:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Poland:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Poland:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Poland:Funding in Education

Poland:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Poland:Higher Education Funding

Poland:Adult Education and Training Funding

Poland:Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:Primary Education

Poland:Organisation of Primary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Poland:Assessment in Primary Education

Poland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Poland:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Higher Education

Poland:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Poland:First Cycle Programmes

Poland:Bachelor

Poland:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Poland:Second Cycle Programmes

Poland:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Poland:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Poland:Adult Education and Training

Poland:Distribution of Responsibilities

Poland:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Poland:Main Providers

Poland:Main Types of Provision

Poland:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Poland:Teachers and Education Staff

Poland:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Poland:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Management and Other Education Staff

Poland:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Poland:Management Staff for Higher Education

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Quality Assurance

Poland:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Poland:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Educational Support and Guidance

Poland:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Poland:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Poland:Mobility and Internationalisation

Poland:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Mobility in Higher Education

Poland:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Poland:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Poland:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:National Reforms in School Education

Poland:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Poland:National Reforms in Higher Education

Poland:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Poland:European Perspective

Poland:Legislation

Poland:Institutions

Poland:Glossary

Planning policy

The responsibility for teaching staff policies and planning for the school education sector (recruitment, promotion and remuneration of teachers) rests with the Ministry of National Education, established on 5 May 2006, following the division of the former Ministry of Education and Science into the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Monitoring of teaching staff at the central level is based on the School Education Information System (System Informacji Oświatowej, SIO). A systematic analysis of SIO data enables the education authorities to identify and forecast long-term changes in the employment structure in the teaching service (forward planning), forecast demand for new teachers and plan rationally the work of teachers currently in service.

The Act of 15 April 2011 on the School Education Information System (SIO), as subsequently amended, (which repealed the Act of 19 February 2004), requires that school managing bodies should monitor teacher demand at the school level and gather data on schools, pupils and teachers in the area of their supervision (to create local databases) and then to transfer them on a yearly basis to regional education authorities and to the central database managed by the Ministry of National Education.

Data on teachers collected in the SIO are arranged according to different parameters (e.g. age, employment status, education completed, work experience, responsibilities and functions, salary) and, thus, enable the monitoring of the teachers’ employment structure. Ongoing monitoring is necessary for the distribution of the school education part of the State budget subsidy and the preparation of the annual Budgetary Act.

The SIO aims to gather data which is necessary to:

  • pursue the national education policy at the national, regional and local levels, including support for the management of the school education sector;
  • ensure effective functioning of the financing system for school education tasks at the national, regional and local levels;
  • analyse the effectiveness of public funds allocated for school education tasks;
  • supervise and coordinate activities undertaken as part of pedagogical supervision across the country, and improve the quality of education.

Entry to the profession

The position of teacher may be taken by a person who:

  • has a higher education diploma (degree) and a teaching qualification (has completed teacher training) or completed a programme in an initial teacher training institution and takes up a position for which he/she has sufficient qualifications;
  • respects fundamental moral principles, and fulfils health requirements for practising the profession (confirmed by a medical certificate).

A higher education graduate who has completed teacher training (i.e. holds a teaching qualification) is recognised as a qualified teacher in the specialisation area of the programme completed. Entrants to the profession obtain the grade of trainee teacher (the first of the four grades in the professional promotion system) and undertake an induction programme (staż zawodowy) of 9 months’ duration in order to be promoted to the grade of contract teacher.

Academic teachers who have at least three years of work experience in a higher education institution (HEI) and persons who have at least five years of work experience and significant professional achievements obtain the grade of contract teacher on the date of entering into an employment relationship with a school.

As from 1 October 2016, academic teachers who have a doctoral or post-doctoral degree and at least three years of work experience in an HEI obtain the grade of appointed teacher on the date of entering into an employment relationship with a college of social work. (See also the section ‘Promotion, advancement’ below).

Teachers are employed by the head of the (nursery) school or other educational institution (further on referred to as the school head) through an open recruitment procedure. There are no detailed regulations on staff policy in schools. All changes are based on a so-called organisational sheet, drawn up by the school head and approved by the body managing a given school.

Teachers are employed on the basis of an employment contract (umowa o pracę) or appointment (mianowanie), the latter providing greater legal protection.

In the case of a trainee teacher, an employment contract is concluded for a definite period of time (one school year required to complete the induction period before the promotion to the next grade of contract teacher).

In the case of a contract teacher, an employment contract is concluded for an indefinite period of time (unless the organisation of the teaching process requires fixed-term employment); an employment contract with a contract teacher is transformed into appointment once the requirements for appointment have been fulfilled.

Appointed and chartered teachers are employed on the basis of appointment if they meet the requirements laid down in the Teachers’ Charter. Requirements for appointment concern, among other things, Polish citizenship, legal capacity and no criminal record, and qualifications necessary to hold a given position.

Employment contracts are also concluded with teachers who are not Polish nationals and do not meet the requirements for appointment, and teachers taking up additional employment in another school or educational institution.

As an exception, EU nationals may be employed on the basis of appointment if they are not Polish nationals but fulfil all other requirements for appointment. Their qualifications are recognised on the basis of the Act of 26 April 2001 on the Rules for Recognition of Qualifications to Practise Regulated Professions acquired in the EU Member States.

All teachers should meet the requirement of no criminal record, and all are subject to the regulations on disciplinary liability (pursuant to the Act of 18 March 2016 amending the Teachers’ Charter and some other Acts; Journal of Law, item 668). Thus, a register of teachers with disciplinary penalties will be established.

A disciplinary penalty entry in the register will include identification data of the teacher concerned, data concerning the disciplinary committee involved, and information on the penalty imposed.

Information will be made available according to the rules similar to those for the National Criminal Register.

In practice, before being employed in an educational institution, teachers will have to provide to the head of the institution, among other things, an excerpt from the central disciplinary penalty register, and a certificate confirming no criminal record based on the information in the National Criminal Register.

However, the Police, Prosecutor’s Offices, disciplinary committees and courts will also have access to the disciplinary penalty register.

1 October 2017 is the date of entry into force of the Act of 13 May 2016 on Measures to Prevent Sexual Offences (Journal of Law, item 862) which establishes a public register of individuals convicted of sexual assaults. The database will be accessible to educational institutions which will be required to check whether an employee is registered there.

The new regulations are intended to prevent employing in a nursery school, school or other educational institution a teacher who does not have full legal capacity and public rights.

At present, the regulations concerning disciplinary liability and the no-criminal-record requirement do not apply to teachers employed on a part-time basis, with less than a half of the compulsory teaching load, in public nursery schools, schools and educational institutions managed by natural persons and legal entities other than local government units and non-public nursery schools, schools and educational institutions.

Induction

An induction period refers in Poland to the first stage of work for a fully qualified teacher who is given the grade of trainee teacher upon employment.

The trainee teacher’s employment contract covers a period of 9 months.

Applying for the contract teacher grade, a trainee teacher submits a plan of professional development to the school head for approval within 20 days of the commencement of classes, i.e. until 20 September. The trainee teacher carries out activities according to the approved plan and submits a report on its implementation to the school head at the end of the induction period.

There is no template for a professional development plan. Each teacher develops his/her own structure for the document (plan) or seeks advice from the school head, his/her induction period mentor (supervising teacher) or another person.

The key persons responsible for the induction period of a new entrant to the teaching profession are the school head and the mentor (supervising teacher).

A trainee teacher carries out his/her professional development plan under the supervision of his/her mentor, i.e. an experienced teacher appointed by the school head.

The mentor’s tasks are to support the trainee teacher, in particular in the development and implementation of a professional development plan, and to prepare a draft assessment of the trainee teacher’s professional development during the induction period. 

After the end of the induction period of a trainee teacher and with opinions provided by the mentor and the parents’ council, the school head assesses the teacher’s actual achievements and his/her development during the induction period.

The requirements for the promotion to the higher grade of contract teacher include:

  • knowledge about the organisation, tasks and rules governing the activities of the school where the induction programme takes place;
  • the ability to conduct classes in a way that ensures proper performance of the school’s statutory tasks;
  • familiarity with the pupils’ community and their problems, and the ability to work with them;
  • the ability to discuss lessons taught and observed.

Trainee teachers carry out almost all tasks assigned to experienced teachers and receive a salary for their work. (See also section “Supporting measures for teachers” below).

A contract teacher may begin a ‘probation period’ for the promotion to the grade of appointed teacher after at least two years of work in a school.

The requirements for the promotion to the higher grade of contract teacher include:

  • knowledge about the organisation, tasks and rules governing the activities of the school where the teacher has worked;
  • the ability to conduct classes in a way that ensures proper performance of the school’s statutory tasks;
  • familiarity with the pupils’ community and their problems, and the ability to work with them;
  • the ability to discuss lessons taught and observed.

An appointed teacher may begin a ‘probation period’ for the grade of chartered teacher when he/she has worked in a school for at least one year since the date of awarding the previous professional grade.

The requirements for the promotion to the higher grade of contract teacher include:

  • positive outcomes of teaching, educational and care-related activities;
  • use of ICT in work;
  • the ability to share one’s knowledge and experience with other teachers;
  • at least three of the following tasks successfully carried out:
  • developing and implementing a programme of educational, care-related or other activities related to school education, social service or proceedings involving juveniles;
  • performing tasks of a methodological adviser; a regional examination board examiner; an expert of a qualification or examination board for teachers applying for professional promotion; an expert for curricula, preschool education programmes, textbooks or teaching and learning resources; and in the case of art school teachers, also a consultant collaborating with the Artistic Education Centre;
  • extending the range of school activities, in particular related to teaching, educational or care-related tasks of the school;
  • acquiring knowledge of a foreign language at an advanced level; and in the case of foreign language teachers, knowledge of a second foreign language at an advanced level;
  • performing tasks related to school education, social service or proceedings involving juveniles in collaboration with other people, local government institutions or other bodies;
  • other significant professional achievements;
  • the ability to identify and solve educational, learning or other problems, taking into consideration the specific type of the school where the teacher is employed.

During the ‘probation period’, the teacher implements his/her own professional development plan approved by the school head.

After the end of the ‘probation period’, the teacher submits a report on the implementation of the plan to the school head.

In order to be promoted to the next professional grade, the teacher should fulfil the qualification requirements, complete the ‘probation period’ with a positive assessment of his/her professional achievements, and:

  • in the case of a trainee teacher: receive approval from a qualification board after an interview;
  • in the case of a contract teacher: pass an examination before an examination board;
  • in the case of an appointed teacher: receive approval from a qualification board after an analysis of his/her professional achievements and an interview.

Professional status

Trainee teachers and contract teachers are employed on the basis of an employment contract in accordance with the provisions of the Teachers’ Charter.

Appointed teachers and chartered teachers are employed on the basis of appointment in accordance with the provisions of the Teachers’ Charter.

The school head is the employer for all teachers working in a given school.

Teachers employed on the basis of appointment are not subject to the civil service legislation. However, in performing their duties, they are entitled to protection provided for civil servants (their status is close to that of a career civil servant).

The body managing the school is ex officio obliged to defend the teacher when the rights which he/she has been granted are infringed.

Replacement measures

In the case of replacement of an absent teacher, an employment contract for a definite period of time (the period of envisaged absence) is concluded with a contract, appointed or chartered teacher.

The absent teacher's duties can also be assigned to another full-time teacher working in the same school. In this case, the following limits should be respected:

  • without the teacher's consent, the number of additional / overtime teaching hours cannot exceed ¼ of the weekly teaching load (4.5 teaching hours per week in most cases);
  • with the teacher's consent, the number of additional / overtime teaching hours cannot exceed ½ of the weekly teaching load (9 hours a week in most cases).

An overtime / additional teaching hour is understood as an hour of classes or other educational and/or care-related activities assigned on the top of the compulsory weekly teaching load.

A teacher with a weekly teaching load of 27 hours may not take any overtime teaching hours, except for ad hoc replacements.

Pregnant women, persons raising children up to 4 years and teachers in their induction-probation period may not be assigned additional hours without their consent.

Teachers receive remuneration for all additional teaching hours related to the replacement of absent teachers, including both overtime hours and ad hoc replacement hours. The Minister of National Education lays down, by regulation, the procedure for the remuneration of teachers for overtime hours and ad hoc replacement hours.

Supporting measures for teachers

Teachers-pedagogues and teachers-psychologists

In implementing the school's education and care programme, teachers are entitled to support from a teacher-education specialist (referred to as 'teacher-pedagogue' (nauczyciel-pedagog/) and teacher-psychologist (nauczyciel-psycholog) in the school.

The tasks of teachers-pedagogues and teachers-psychologists include in particular:

  • supporting teachers, class / group teachers / tutors and other specialists in providing counselling and guidance (psychological and pedagogical support);
  • conducting diagnostic research and activities for pupils/students, including the assessment of their individual developmental and educational needs and psychological and physical abilities in order to identify reasons behind academic failure and support pupils;/students’ strengths;
  • assessing educational situations in a nursery school, school or educational institution in order to solve educational problems and support the development of pupils/students;
  • providing counselling and guidance (psychological and pedagogical support) in forms suited to the needs identified;
  • taking measures to prevent addiction and other problems of children and young people;
  • minimising consequences of developmental disorders; preventing behaviour disorders; and initiating various forms of support in pupils’/students’ school and out-of-school environment;
  • initiating and carrying out mediation and intervention activities in emergency / crisis situations;
  • supporting parents and teachers in the identification and development of pupils’/students’ individual potential, predispositions and talents.

Teachers-methodological advisers

In implementing the curriculum, the teacher can receive support from teachers-methodological advisers (nauczyciel-doradca metodyczny) (either in the school or in a regional or local in-service teacher training centre).

The support provided by teachers-methodological advisers is particularly useful to entrants to the teaching profession.

The tasks of teachers-methodological advisers include:

  • providing direct subject-related and methodological support;
  • assisting teachers in their professional development;
  • providing conditions for collaboration and exchange of experience among teachers in a given area/region;
  • organising methodological conferences, seminars and workshops;
  • identifying teachers’ needs in the areas of guidance and professional development;
  • keeping documentation (documenting one’s own activities; information on the needs of teachers in a given area/region);
  • participating actively in a given centre’s activities for teachers and schools;
  • undertaking activities supporting schools, and in particular the school where the methodological adviser is based.

Teachers-mentors/supervisors (supervising induction / probation periods)

Trainee and contract teachers are supported during their induction or probation period (a period preceding an application for promotion) by a mentor/supervisor (opiekun stażu) appointed by the school head. Mentors are experienced teachers with the appointed or chartered teacher grade who are employed in a given school.

Support teachers

As of 1 January 2016, support teachers (nauczyciel wspomagajacy) should be employed in nursery schools and schools attended by pupils/students with autism, Asperger’s syndrome or multiple disabilities who hold a certificate recommending special education

A support teacher is a support pedagogue who contributes to classes conducted by a subject teacher in an integration or mainstream class, and is employed to help organise teaching for pupils with disabilities, socially maladjusted pupils and those at risk of social maladjustment.

A support teacher holds a qualification in special education.

There are special limits concerning the number of pupils in integration classes: the number of children with special educational needs (SEN) should range from 3 to 5, with the total number of children in such a class ranging from 15 to 20.

Teacher assistants and after-school club tutor assistants

Starting from 1 September 2014, heads of primary schools (including special and integration schools) can employ teacher assistants (asystent nauczyciela), who conduct classes in grades 1 to 3, and after-school club tutor assistants (asystent wychowawcy świetlicy).

Assistants support teachers in teaching, education and care-related activities or tutors in after-school club activities.

Assistants are required to have a Master’s degree (magister) or a Bachelor’s degree (licencjat or inżynier), or a diploma of an initial teacher training institution and a teaching qualification.

Assistants are employed in accordance with the rules laid down in the Labour Code, but their salary may not be higher than that for a chartered teacher. Assistants should also meet the requirement of no criminal record, as confirmed by a certificate from the National Criminal Register, and may not be subject to criminal or disciplinary proceedings, or incapacitation proceedings.

Teacher assistants should not be confused with support teachers.

Salaries

The Minister of National Education lays down the minimum rates of the basic pay for teachers on an annual basis, even if the reference amount determining the basic pay in schools has not changed.

Remuneration arrangements for teachers are laid down in the Act of 26 January 1982, the Teachers' Charter (as subsequently amended), and the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 18 July 2011 on the minimum rates of the basic pay for teachers, other work-related benefits and allowances, and remuneration for working overtime (as subsequently amended; the latest amendment of 4 July 2016).

The Regulation covers teachers of all levels and types of schools and institutions in the school education sector (from nursery schools to colleges and in-service teacher training institutions), as well as staff in the regional education authorities (kuratorium oświaty) and departments of the Ministry of National Education who hold teaching positions.

The salary of a teacher consists of the basic pay, a number of allowances, including the length of service, motivation, function-related and conditions-of-service allowances, and the pay for overtime hours and ad hoc replacement hours, as well as awards and other benefits envisaged in the employment relationship (except for benefits from the institutional welfare fund and additional welfare benefits, i.e. accommodation and so-called rural allowances).

The level of the basic salary depends on the teacher’s professional promotion grade, qualifications and compulsory teaching load. The level of allowances depends on the length of service, the quality of teaching, additional tasks or activities, the position held and difficult or hazardous employment conditions.

The Teachers’ Charter amendments of 18 March 2016 facilitate the planning and payment of a one-off financial benefit for teachers who have been awarded the title of honorary school education professor (honorowy profesor oświaty) by the minister responsible for school education. The title may be awarded by the minister, at the request of the Committee of School Education Professors, to a chartered teacher who has at least 20 years’ experience in the teaching profession, including at least 10 years as a chartered teacher, and significant and recognised professional achievements.

An amount of 450,000 PLN (ca 104,000 euro) is annually set aside for such financial benefits / awards in the budget managed by the minister responsible for school education.

The average salary of teachers with individual professional promotion grades should be equal to the following percentage of the reference amount defined annually for teachers in the Budgetary Act:

  • for a trainee teacher: 100%
  • for a contract teacher: 111%
  • for appointed teacher: 144%
  • for a chartered teacher: 184%

of the reference amount for public sector employees, determined annually in the Budgetary Act.

As of 1 September 2015, the minimum salary for teachers is as follows (in PLN):


Level of qualifications held
Professional promotion grades
Trainee teacher
Contract teacher
Appointed teacher
Chartered teacher
Master’s degree with a teaching qualification
2 265
2 331
2 647
3 109
Master’s degree, without a teaching qualification

Bachelor’s degree with a teaching qualification

1 993
2 042
2 306
2 707
Bachelor’s degree without a teaching qualification, or a teaching training college or foreign language teacher training college diploma
1 759
1 802
2 024
2 366
Other qualifications
1 513
1 548
1 724
2 006

The minimum rate of the basic pay is calculated on the basis of the highest-level qualification held by the teacher concerned.


Annual statutory salary for qualified teachers employed on a full-time basis in public schools in the school year 2014/2015
Minimum
Maximum
Nursery school teachers
29 015
6 790
38 054
8 905
Primary school teachers
29 015
6 790
38 054
8 905
Lower secondary school teachers
32 910
7 701
43 390
10 154
Upper and post-secondary school teachers
37 606
8 800
49 666
11 623

(Information on teachers’ salaries is available in the publication „Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe”, annually updated by the Eurydice National Units.)

Working time and holidays

Teachers’ working time

The following three components are usually distinguished in the description of teachers’ working time:

  • total working time
  • teaching time (teaching load)
  • time for availability at school.

In Poland two components are regulated in the legislation: (1) total working time and (2) teaching time / teaching load.

Total working time

The working time of teachers may not exceed 40 hours per week, spread over 5 working days.

Teachers are required to teach classes and undertake education- and care-related activities directly with pupils/students; the number of hours ranges from 18 to 30, depending on the type of educational institution, or is determined by the head / managing body of a given institution.

Teachers are also required to undertake activities related to preparing for classes, self-education and continuing professional development (CPD).

As of 1 September 2016, so-called ‘Teachers’ Charter hours’ or ‘Charter hours’ are no longer included on a mandatory basis in the 40-hour weekly working time (for full-time teachers) (Act of 18 March 2016 amending the Teachers’ Charter and some other Acts).

‘Charter hours’ were hours that each teacher was required to devote to extra-curricular activities. They included two hours per week in the case of primary and lower secondary school teachers and one hour in the case of teachers in schools above the lower secondary level. Teachers did not receive any additional payment for ‘Charter hours’.

As of the school year 2016/2017, the school head, in consultation with teachers, should plan an additional number of hours for classes/activities based on real needs and interests of pupils / students in a given school.

In the transition period, until a systemic arrangement is put in place for the organisation of classes / activities as part of ‘Charter hours’, school heads may motivate teachers to conduct classes / activities as part of their weekly working time by using a so-called motivation (incentive) allowance.

Other classes and activities provided for in the school statutes are assigned and organised in accordance with the same rules as until now. As before, the school head may assign to teachers other classes and activities which are provided for in the school statutes.

As of 1 September 2016, teachers are required to:

  • conduct classes / activities based on the school’s statutory tasks, including care- and education-related classes / activities which respond to pupils’ / students’ needs and interests;
  • participate in conducting the test in the final year of the primary school, the examination in the final year of the lower secondary school, the exam confirming vocational qualifications, and the maturity exam, except the oral part.

Teaching time (teaching load)

The compulsory weekly load, including teaching, educational or care-related activities undertaken directly with pupils, varies according to the type of school or institution and activities.

The weekly teaching load for full-time teachers is determined according to the following norms:


Position – type of the school


Weekly teaching load



Nursery school teachers, except teachers working with groups of 6-year-olds 25
Nursery school teachers and teachers in other institutions working with groups of 6-year-olds 22
Teachers in special nursery schools, primary schools, lower secondary schools, special schools, general upper secondary schools; teachers teaching theoretical subjects in schools providing vocational education, incl. special schools and craftsman schools in youth detention centres and young offenders’ centres, and theoretical subjects in vocational qualification courses, artistic subjects and general education subjects in arts schools and other institutions providing art education 18
Practical training teachers in all types of schools and vocational qualification courses 22
Tutors in after-school clubs and semi-boarding schools (except after-school clubs in special schools), community-based clubs and centres, incl. those organising problem prevention, educational and therapeutic activities; tutors in youth social therapy centres 26
Tutors in boarding schools, playgrounds / game parks, youth after-school centres, school-based youth hostels operating on a permanent basis 30
Tutors in:
a) care and therapy institutions for children 26
b) leisure / holiday centres for children; 26
incl. the number of hours for teaching 10
c) special school-and-education centres, young offenders; centres, youth detention centres, after-school clubs in special schools, youth education centres, extra-curricular activity clubs in health institutions 24
Teachers in youth recreation centres, youth culture centres, after-school centres, specialised out-of-school centres, inter-school sport centres 18
Teachers-librarians in school libraries 30
Teachers in counselling and guidance centres 20

Teachers with 18 teaching hours (one teaching hour lasting 45 minutes) per week can have their weekly teaching load increased to 27 teaching hours upon the consent of the school managing body, at the request of the school head and after consultation with the school's teaching council.

The weekly teaching load of 18 hours provides the basis for a full-time teacher’s salary. Teachers receive an overtime pay for teaching hours extending beyond the 18-hour weekly teaching load.

In special cases justified by the necessity to implement a curriculum, teachers may be required to work overtime for a payment; the overtime hours may not, however, exceed 1/2 of the compulsory weekly teaching load (except for teachers who have an increased teaching load, and those who have a reduced weekly teaching load).

Moreover, with the consent of the school managing body, the school head can reduce the teaching load for full-time teachers, for a definite period of time or until further notice, to enable them to undertake in-service training or retraining, to carry out research or other tasks assigned by the body responsible for pedagogical supervision over the school or the school managing body.

Other regulations on working time

The weekly teaching load is reduced for school heads and other teachers performing management functions in schools and other institutions, depending on the size and type of the school or institution and working conditions.

Teachers working in administration bodies are required to work for 40 hours per week.

Teachers in in-service teacher training institutions and educational resources centres are required to work 35 hours per week; those in schools providing extramural courses and in distance education institutions: 648 hours per year (including the time for correcting and marking written assignments and the time for conducting examinations).

Working time records

New arrangements for recording working time were introduced when the above-mentioned ‘Charter hours’ were abolished.

As from 31 August 2016, classes and other activities undertaken as part of the teaching load are recorded and accounted for on a weekly basis in a class register or activity register, respectively.

Holidays

Teachers are entitled to paid holiday leave during school holidays and public and religious holidays. Summer holidays last around 2 months. A teacher may be requested by the school head to hold examinations during the holiday time or to carry out tasks related to the end of the school year or the preparations for a new school year, the development of a school curriculum, or the participation in a specific in-service training session, but these activities may not last longer than 7 days.

Teachers employed in schools which have no school holidays are entitled to 35 days’ leave at the time defined in the school holiday timetable.

A teacher who has worked in school for at least 7 years may take a paid health leave of up to 1 year in order to undertake prescribed treatment, if a medical board considers it is justified by the teacher’s health condition. The leave is granted by the school head.

A female teacher is entitled to paid maternity leave of 20 weeks, additional leave of six weeks and parental leave of 26 weeks – altogether with the birth of a child a female teacher/parents have the right to 52 weeks of paid leave.

One of the parents may take non-paid childcare leave of up to 3 years per child.

Practising teachers who upgrade their qualifications by taking part-time degree programmes have the statutory right to take paid training leaves in order to attend compulsory classes, prepare for examinations and write a Master’s thesis (they are normally granted 21 days off to take part in classes and examination sessions and 21 days to write their thesis).

They may also be granted shorter leave to participate in conferences, seminars and training workshops.

Promotion, advancement

Professional promotion

Teachers can obtain the following professional promotion grades:

    • trainee teacher (nauczyciel stażysta)
    • contract teacher (nauczyciel kontraktowy)
    • appointed teacher (nauczyciel mianowany)
    • chartered teacher (nauczyciel dyplomowany)

Chartered teachers who have outstanding professional achievements may be awarded an honorary title of education professor. The title is awarded by the Minister of National Education. Applications to award the title are submitted by the bodies exercising pedagogical supervision to the Committee for School Education Professors. The Committee assesses the content of applications.

In order to be promoted to the next grade, the teacher should:

  • hold the required qualifications;
  • complete a 'probation period' and receive a positive assessment of his/her professional achievements during this period (the teacher follows an individual professional development plan during the probation period);
  • have his/her application for promotion approved by a qualifying board after an interview in the case of a trainee teacher;
  • pass an exam conducted by an examination board in the case of a contract teacher;
  • have his/her application approved by a qualifying board after an assessment of his/her professional achievements and an interview in the case of an appointed teacher.

School teachers in all types of schools and educational institutions by professional promotion grade, 30 September 2015


Trainee teachers Contract teachers Appointed teachers Chartered teachers Total
Number of teachers 59 784 106 424 168 536 345 071 679 815
Full-time teachers 30 113 77 952 135 850 315 631 559 546
Part-time teachers 29 671 28 472 32 686 29 440 120 269
Full Time Equivalents /FTEs/ 45 157.79 102 058.85 165 723.52 353 401.22 666 341.38

The data includes all types of employment relationships, regardless of their legal basis, except for teachers working in schools other than their home schools in order to meet the teaching load requirement. Professional promotion grades determined for individual teachers.

Source: School Education Information System (SIO, System Informacji Oświatowej)

Advancement in the school education administration

The path to promotion is relatively difficult for teachers. Apart from the promotion to a higher professional grade and pay rises tied to the level of qualifications acquired, the promotion grade and the length of service which are guaranteed by the law, modest opportunities for promotion are available to teachers inside the school because the range of functions and positions is very limited in the present structure.

Teachers with the required qualifications, promotion grade and length of service may apply for the post of a school head, the head of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty) or an inspector in the school education administration.

Teachers with relevant qualifications may also move from a primary school to a secondary school or take up a post of an advisor or teacher-consultant in an in-service teacher training institution. However, it is often the case that such promotions take place as a result of an external offer and are not built into the teaching career.

Some posts (e.g. the school head or the head of the regional education authorities) may be taken only through a competitive procedure and held for a term fixed by the law. Thus, this is not a permanent promotion, and teachers may lose their post in the subsequent competition and, consequently, end up back in the group of their former peers.

Although teachers may take courses and obtain higher promotion grades, those who have completed a course or obtained a higher promotion grade will not necessarily gain a management position.

The following positions exist in schools and institutions of the school education sector:

  • Teacher,
  • Teacher-Methodological Adviser,
  • Teacher-Consultant,
  • Head (of, for example, a laboratory, school workshop, teacher practical placement programme, dormitory),
  • Deputy Head and Head of a school.

Teachers in the regional education authorities may take up the following positions:

  • Inspector,
  • Senior Inspector,
  • Head of Unit,
  • Director of Unit,
  • Head of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty) and Deputy Head of the regional education authorities (wicekurator oświaty).

Positions in the Ministry of National Education:

  • Inspector,
  • Senior Inspector
  • Chief Inspector.

Teacher appraisal

The legislation distinguishes between teacher performance assessment which is an element of internal quality assurance, and assessment of the teacher’s professional achievements which is related to professional promotion.

Teacher performance assessment covers all teachers, except trainee teachers as they apply for promotion to the second professional grade at the end of their first school year, and thus are subject to the assessment of professional achievements.

Teacher performance assessment at all levels of the school education system is carried out by the school head (on their own initiative or at the request of the head of the regional education authorities (kurator oświaty), the school managing body, the school or the parents' council). As part of the assessment procedure, the school head can also consult the pupil self-government body.

The time between two assessments (including the assessment of professional achievements required for professional promotion) may not be shorter than one year.

The school head is obliged to initiate the assessment process within 3 months of the date of receipt of the request.

Performance assessment is made in writing and concluded with one of the following general descriptive grades:

  • outstanding,
  • positive,
  • negative. 

The assessment of professional achievements is carried out only when the teacher applies for the promotion to a higher professional grade. The assessment of professional achievements covers a period of employment defined in the legislation (called “probation period”); it precedes the promotion procedure, and takes into account the extent to which the teacher concerned has implemented a professional development plan, approved earlier by the school head. Assessment is carried out by the school head:

  • in the case of trainee and contract teachers (the first and second professional promotion grades), it is based on the assessment proposed by a mentor and involves consultations with the parents' council,
  • in the case of appointed teachers (the third professional grade), it involves consultations with the parents’ council.

Teachers can receive a positive or negative assessment of their professional achievements. In the case of a negative assessment, the teacher concerned has 14 days to appeal against the decision to the body exercising pedagogical supervision over the school. The assessment given by the pedagogical supervision body is final. If the final assessment is negative, the subsequent assessment of the teacher’s professional achievements can be carried out, at the request of the teacher concerned and with the school head's consent, when the teacher has completed another ‘probation period’.

See also the information about teacher appraisal in Chapter 11 Quality Assurance.

Transfers

Teachers look for a job on an individual basis, directly in schools and educational institutions.

Teachers are free to change their job or give up work in the school education sector and undertake employment in other sectors of the national economy.

A teacher may be transferred – at his/her own request or ex-officio upon his/her agreement – to a different post in the same or another school, in the same or another place, or to the same post in another school in the same or another place.

The ex-officio transfer of a teacher to another place, as defined in the Teachers’ Charter, may take place only when he/she is provided with accommodation in the new place and his/her spouse is offered a job, if the latter is a teacher. Furthermore, the teacher who has been transferred is reimbursed for expenses related to the transport of his/her property and receives a settlement allowance equal to his/her two monthly salaries.

A teacher who is moving due to his/her professional transfer can receive additional days off (maximum 7 days).

A teacher is formally transferred to another school by the school head of the new school with the consent of the head of the school where he/she has been employed so far.

An appointed teacher may be transferred to another school by the school managing body only when a vacancy should be filled by a teacher with required qualifications. In these cases, the period of transfer may not be longer than 3 years, and the teacher retains the right to return to his/her former school.

If the school to which the teacher has been transferred is situated in another place, he/she is entitled to have a four-day working week, to receive a benefit equal to 20% of his/her salary and to be provided with accommodation in the place of temporary employment.

Dismissal

A dismissal of an appointed or chartered teacher involves a procedure defined by the law.

A teacher may be dismissed in the case of the total or partial liquidation of a school. Where a teacher may no longer be employed in the school, the school head either grants to him/her the status of 'inactivity' or, at the teacher‘s own request, terminates their employment.

A teacher who has the 'inactivity' status retains the right to receive his/her basic salary for a period of 6 months, and the teacher with whom the employment relationship has been terminated is entitled to receive a compensation equal to his/her six-month basic salary. The school head is required first to re-employ a teacher with the 'inactivity' status, whenever such a possibility arises.

In the case of teachers employed for a definite period of time, Article 36 of the Labour Code applies, which specifies timeframes for giving a notice of termination; this issue is not regulated by the Teachers’ Charter.

In the case of employment contracts concluded for a definite period of time, the termination notice period depends on the length of the period of employment by a given employer. It is 2 weeks if a person has been employed for a period shorter than 6 months; 1 month if a person has been employed for at least 6 months; and 3 months where the period of employment is at least 3 years.

The employment of an appointed or chartered teacher may be terminated in the following cases:

  • at the teacher’s own request;
  • in the case of an illness lasting longer than 2 years (where the teacher may be on a sick leave for one year and be granted a health leave to recover for the following year, after which he/she receives a pension for the disabled);
  • when the teacher has reached the retirement age; if the teacher has reached the retirement age, but has not obtained his/her pension rights, the school head extends his/her employment period, but for a period not longer than 2 years after reaching his/her retirement age;
  • when the teacher has been given a negative assessment for his/her performance (a procedure defined by law should be followed; additionally, the teacher may appeal against such a decision to the body exercising the pedagogical supervision which should establish an evaluation team composed of several members; these include inter alia specialists – inspectors, methodological advisors as well as a representative of the school council, the parents’ council and teachers’ trade unions).

The teacher's employment relationship expires by virtue of law in the following cases (applicable to all categories of teachers):

  • the teacher's dismissal on a disciplinary basis, including cases of teachers being banned from teaching for three years since the dismissal and cases of permanent ban from teaching;
  • a valid court sentence whereby the teacher loses his/her public rights or the rights to practise the teaching profession, or in the case of the teacher losing entirely his/her legal capacity;
  • a valid court sentence for an intentional crime;
  • upon completion of a 3-month period in prison;
  • where it has been established that the teacher was employed on the basis of false or invalid documents or against the rules of teachers' employment defined in the Teachers' Charter.

Retirement and pensions

Teachers are entitled to pensions as defined in the legislation on retirement pensions and pensions for the disabled from the Social Security Fund. However, teachers are considered to be practising a special-status profession.

Before 2013, the general regulations stipulated that the regular retirement age in Poland was 65 years for men and 60 years for women. Pursuant to the amendment to the Act of 17 December 1998 on retirement pensions, and pensions for the disabled from the Social Security Fund, which came into force on the 1st of January 2013, the official retirement age for both men and women was raised to 67. The process is introduced gradually – gradual increase by 1 month every 4 months.

Teachers with a period of service of 30 years, including 20 years of working at a special-status position (i.e. as a teacher, educator, tutor or inspector), are entitled, at their own request, to a retirement pension or a pension for the disabled.

Teachers who have worked 20 years in special education could retire after 25 years of service. These regulations applied to people born after 31 December 1948 and before 1 January 1969 , allowing teachers to retire before 2008 upon meeting the requirements concerning the length of service, regardless of their age.

As from 2009, teachers born after 31 December 1948 but before 1 January 1969 are allowed to receive a so-called teacher compensation allowance / benefit if they meet the same conditions related to the length of service, but also when they reach the age stipulated in the Act of 22 May 2009 on Teacher Compensation Allowances. The provisions of the Act are formulated in such a way that the required age between 2009 and 2014 will be 55 years for women and men, and it will increase gradually in order to achieve the level of 59 years for women and 64 years for men between 2013 and 2032.

As from 2033, it will no longer be possible to receive a teacher compensation allowance / benefit, and teachers will be able to retire only when reaching the age of 60 years for women and 65 for men. (No change regarding the increase of the teachers’ retirement age has been introduced yet.)

The basis for a retirement pension or a pension for the disabled is determined according to the general rules. The basis also includes overtime payments, allowances and in-kind benefits, where the teacher will not receive them when retired, and all awards for professional achievements received during the years which are taken as the reference period to calculate the amount of the pension.