Do Teachers Still have to do Croke Park Hours?

During the financial crisis there was an agreement to cut costs and increase efficiency in public service. This was known as the Croke Park Agreement. The Department of Education, the INTO and school management bodies agreed that primary teachers would work an additional 36 hours per year to complete tasks that schools would usually take a half day for, such as staff meetings and Staff CPD. This was outlined in Circular 0008/2011. The usage of Croke Park hours was reviewed under the Haddington Road Agreement and a new circular issued (0052/2014), and again under the Lansdowne Road Agreement (Circular 0042/2016).

As things currently stand, teachers still have to do 36 Croke Park hours per year, however 10 of them can now be dedicated to “planning and development work other than on a whole-school basis”. This means that 10 hours can now be used by teachers at their own discretion as approved by management.

The remaining 26 Croke Park Hours should be used for some or all of the following:

  • school planning
  • continuous professional development
  • induction
  • pre and post school supervision
  • policy development
  • staff meetings
  • nationally planned inservice
  • school arranged inservice

As per the original circular 0008/2011, CP hours should be scheduled outside of normal tuition time over the course of the 183 days that the school is open for tuition, and can take place in 1, 2, or 3 hour blocks.

Alternatively, if there is consensus among the school staff, some of the hours can be combined into a maximum of 2 full days outside of the 183 days that the school is normally open for.

The circular also sets out how “…it is expected that there will be consultation at school level as to the optimum usage of this block of hours in order to meet the requirements of the school…”. This means that there should be agreement amongst the staff about how the remaining 26 hours can be best used.

11 thoughts on “Do Teachers Still have to do Croke Park Hours?

  1. Claire Rogers says:

    I hope you don’t mind me asking?
    Where does it say that 10 of the 36 croke park hours can be used by teachers at their own discretion? This would really help us, and I just want to have the facts right.
    Thanks so much in advance.

  2. Lena says:

    Hi Claire,

    Can you tell me is there still a requirement to complete croke park hours if not part of INTO?

    Thanks in advance

    • Teaching Plans says:

      They are required as part of the Public Service Stability Agreement which applies to all teachers regardless of union membership, so I would imagine the answer is yes. For instance, all teachers were subjected to the same changes to pay under the various agreements, so the other terms shouldn’t be any different. There is an email address provided in circular 0042/2016 that you can email queries to, so it might be worth clarifying with them to be sure.

  3. Julie says:

    I am part-time (16 hrs a week) and do learner support. Do I have to do Croke Park hours and if so how many? What happens if you don’t do them all

    • Teaching Plans says:

      Hi Catherine, yes, but it depends on the context. Some schools have traditionally had a period of time before school where teachers are asked to supervise and in this case it wouldn’t be considered Croke Park hours. In fact, the Rules for National Schools specifies that teachers should be in attendance 10minutes before the school day begins. But if you are coming in for a meeting for say an hour before school, then this would be Croke Park hours.
      All the best,

  4. Maria says:

    Hi there,

    Is a teacher who secures a fixed term post under route 4 have to do Croke Park hours and planning obligations such as SSPs in SET please?
    Many thanks

    • Teaching Plans says:

      Hi Maria, all teachers are required to complete written preparation for their students. This has been the case since the Rules for National Schools were published in 1965!
      I am not an expert on Croke Park Hours, I have just read the circulars, so I would advise you contact the INTO for clarification on this, or email the address given for queries in the circular (
      Kind regards,

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