For reference - Setting up your timetable for the 8th March to align with Covid-19 regulations

Your timetable from March 8th

The DfE has advised in this update that all schools will be open again from 8th March. You can see below what this means for your timetable in Arbor.

Bubble groups

Schools should continue to group students together into classes (recommended for primaries) or year groups (recommended for secondaries and larger schools). However, these should not run alongside another timetable. Students should return to standard timetable classes without separate bubble class registers.

If you are a secondary or all-through and usually use mixed-year registration forms you may want to consider changing this so students attend registration only with other students within their year group. You can see how to do this in this articleSupport structures may be easier to set up within year groups, and if further social distancing and school closures are required again in the future, this structure will minimise the admin required to amend your setup.

Staggered timetables

Schools should continue to stagger start and end times and break times and lunchtimes where possible if required to keep children separate, without reducing the amount of overall teaching time.

Childcare and clubs

Wraparound childcare for primary and secondary pupils should resume from Monday 8 March. You can see how to set up and manage Breakfast and Afterschool clubs here, or other clubs here.


With kitchens reopening, you may wish to make some changes to how you have meals set up on your site - see how to edit your meal sittings in line with your timetable in the sections below, or for common questions view all our meals resources.

If you haven’t used meals in Arbor before you can see how to set them up here.


How to make changes to your timetable

What you'll need to do to ensure your timetable is correct from 8th March will depend on how you've previously managed your timetable in Arbor (check this from School > Programmes > Courses or with your team if you're unsure).

  • If you had your bubble classes running alongside your standard timetable, you'll just need to end your timetable slots for your bubble classes and move back to using your standard timetable. You can see how to do this below.
  • If you only have bubble classes set up on your site and no standard timetable, you'll need to end your timetable slots for your bubble classes and set up new classes. Please get in touch with us via email if you need to do this. 
How to end your bubble classes for 8th March

Go to School > Timetable > Timetable Administration > Timetable Slots. Use the filters or sort using the column headers to look at your bubble classes.



Tick the boxes next to the classes to select, then click the blue pencil icon and choose Bulk End Timetable Slots.



Add in an End date of the 5th March, the last day your bubble classes should run.



Check to confirm that you would like to change all the listed timetabled lessons, then click Save Changes.



Top Tip: You can check which classes will be running on the 8th March by going to Students > Attendance > Registers By Date and changing the date to the 8th.



Making changes to your standard timetable

Editing your existing timetable in Arbor

You can easily make changes to the timetable slots you've already set up or imported from TimeTabler in Arbor from School > Timetable > Timetable Administration > Timetable Slots.

  • To edit timetable slot rooms, staff, times and dates and delete unneeded slots: Editing timetable slots and lesson times. For large schools, we recommend making changes in batches and waiting until the changes have taken effect to begin on the next batch.
  • To add new timetable slots just go to School > Programmes > Courses and click the lesson, then click +Add in the Classes & Lessons section.


Importing a new timetable from TimeTabler

You may wish to create a timetable with staggered start times, breaks and lunches in TimeTabler and import this into Arbor. You can see how to import your timetable in this article.

However, to make changes in TimeTabler to stagger start and end times and breaks, you would need to set up additional periods to place lessons into, which could take some time. Therefore it may be easier and quicker, in this case, to simply to edit the slots directly in Arbor as shown in the section above.

Staggered start times - setting your Roll Call times

You may have staggered start times at your school to enable student groups to practise distancing.  For instance, Year 7s registration time at 8:00 - 8:30, Year 8s at 8.15 - 8:45,  and Year 9s at 8:30 - 9:00.

To make sure all student's registration marks are pulled into their Statutory attendance, you may need to extend your roll call times. So for my example, my roll call times would need to be extended to between 8.00 and 9.00. If you do not extend your roll call times, and registration periods that do not overlap with your roll call times will not contribute to your students' and school's attendance.

If you need to change your Roll Call times, we recommend adding a new roll call time by clicking the green button rather than editing your existing one. This means the roll call times will only apply to registers from that date onwards and won't recalculate any past attendance.



Adding new roll call times

If you have the General Admin: Administer permission, you'll be able to extend your roll call times between 2 pm and 5 pm from Students > Attendance > Admin > Roll Call Setup.

To prevent recalculation of past statutory Roll Call attendance, do not edit your current Roll Call times. Instead, click +Add to add a new one moving forwards. 




This will automatically add an end date for your current Roll Call times as the day before. Then click into your PM Roll Call time and repeat the process.


Timetable Periods 

Some schools define timetable periods in Arbor to help align attendance marks together.

We recommend you do not use timetable periods if you'll be staggering registration and break times. This is because it's likely your classes across different year groups will not align into set timetable periods. Setting up timetable periods will make it more difficult to manage attendance, such as distinguishing when a mark was taken on the Bulk Edit Marks pages.

If you have already defined timetable periods, you may wish to delete them. To do so, go to School > Timetable > Timetable Administration > Timetable Settings. Make sure you have the right academic year, then click the box next to the blue pencil icon to select all your periods. Click the blue pencil icon to select to Delete timetable periods.



Moving students to different classes and registers

If you need to move students into different class groups, you'll need to end their enrolment in their current classes and move them to their new classes once you've set them up using the methods above.

Take a look at the Enrolment section of the help centre to see how to enrol students, and use these resources:

Making sure the right staff can take attendance

You'll need to make sure staff are assigned to the right classes to be able to take attendance. Follow the instructions in this article to check staff are assigned correctly and give them access ready for the 8th March: Changing class teachers, academic leads and staff assigned to registers and timetable slots

You can also see our resource on giving other staff access to registers: Giving permission for other staff or teaching assistants to take attendance registers

If you find teachers can't access a register, follow these troubleshooting tips: Why can't the teacher or teaching assistant access the register? Please note that you cannot access the register until up to an hour before the session.

Editing your Meal Sittings

If you use the Meals module in Arbor you may wish to create different meal times for different student groups. You might need to edit your meal sitting times, or create more meal sittings from School > Meals > Setup > Meal > Meal Sittings Scheduled.

Click into a slot to edit the time of the sitting, or click the green button at the top to add a new sitting.



Here's an example second meal sitting I've set up, leaving room in between for cleaning.



To move students to a different meal sitting, return back to the Setup page and click into the Attendees section and go to the Automatic Group Attendees tab. Here you'll see your student groups in each sitting.



To move a group into a different sitting, click the group and click Remove Automatic Attendees.



Then click +Add in the section for your other sitting and select that student group to add them.




Checking your timetable works for everyone


You can check for clashes in student or staff timetables from School > Timetable > School Timetable > Clashes.

  • If you have many clashes for the same lesson, you might want to edit the time of the lesson to a better slot, shown in the section above on editing your timetable.
  • If you have just a few clashes, here's how to resolve them: I can see that Aaron has a clash as his Maths and English lessons are scheduled to be at the same time. 



To fix this, I can go to the Enrolment section of his Student Profile and transfer him to a different class that takes place at a time that doesn't clash.



For some enrolments, these will have been done automatically from a teaching group and you won't be able to edit from here.



You'll need to click into the enrolment into the teaching group and edit that instead.


Timetable gaps

If a student is missing from a register you might need to fill in any timetable gaps for them. Take a look at their Calendar on their Student Profile. In this example, I can see a gap at 11 am on Thursdays.



To add them into the class they should be in at that time, go to the Enrolment section on their Student Profile and click +Add to add them to the right course.

In the slide over, choose the date they should have been enrolled in the class, and choose the classes and top-level courses to enrol them into, then click Enrol in Courses & Classes.



The student will then no longer have a gap in their calendar.


Room clashes and free rooms

Check if there are any room clashes and ensure there is adequate spacing of classes to allow for cleaning from School > Timetable > Sites & Rooms > Room Timetable.



Find free rooms to move classes into from the Free Room Finder page.


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