RB: Timetables and Periods

Jan 23, 2018

Calendar maintenance in Sobs includes a time table or plan facility for configuring period times.  This is required in the Room and Resource Booking application and is optional in the Student Attendance Register, otherwise generally not required.


A ‘Plan’ is the configuration of periods within any particular timetable day.  A very simple time table might use the same Plan for every school day, and hence every day the periods all start and finish at the same time.  Alternatively schools often utilise a special plan for a day with an assembly or some other regular occasion.  In this case the school might configure a default Plan for normal school days and an ‘Assembly’ Plan for the day the assembly takes place.

The first time you use Sobs to configure Plans you will have an option to copy an existing Plan – these are simply popular Plans that are being used by other schools.  You won’t necessarily find a Plan that matches your time table exactly, but you may find one that is close to your default time table and you will have the option to copy this Plan for your own school.  This potentially saves a lot of typing defining all your own Periods.

Length of the Plan

Sobs allows the school to vary the number of days within a timetable.  Many schools use a 5 day timetable which fits comfortably within a calendar week.  Some schools use a 10 day timetable which fits in a two week period.  Occasionally a school will configure a timetable with 7 days or some other value.  Sobs supports all of these time table configurations.  Simply specify the number of days in the Plan record.  If you have multiple Plans you should have the same length specified on each Plan.

With the length stored on the Plan record, a series of checkboxes will then appear allowing you to apply each Plan to a time table day number.  With a 5 day Plan there would be 5 checkboxes (one for each day number).  By checking each box you are connecting the current Plan to this day number.  If you only have a single Plan for a 5 day time table then you would specify ‘5’ in the length of the time table, and then check each box to apply this Plan to every day number.  If you have multiple Plans (for example you might have a default Plan and an assembly Plan) you will not be able to apply two Plans to the same day number.  Once a day number if checked on one Plan you will not be able to select this on a following Plan.  Uncheck the day number on the default Plan and you will then be able to check it on the alternative Plan.

For regular school time tables you must select the ‘Valid days’ as School days.  The alternatives of weekends and holidays are defined in order to create special Plans for weekends and holidays.  (See below).


For each Plan you can define all of the Periods required for a day.  Periods are defined using times.  Periods should not have overlapping times, and the finish time should be later than the start time.  Periods can not span days – they must start and finish in the same day (from 12:00am through to 11:59pm).

You can define the periods in any order – they will automatically be sorted into chronological order.

If there is an obvious error the time will be displayed in red.

Bookings use times, not periods

In the Room and Resource Booking application we typically allow staff to book a resource based on their timetable/period structure, however when we store the booking in the database we use the actual start and end times.  This means that you can delete, update and add new periods to your plans at any time without affecting the existing bookings.  It also means that an existing booking may end up spanning multiple periods if the period structure changes after the booking was made.  This isn’t a problem, just an explanation as to why you might see this happen.

Weekend and Holiday plans

To create a Plan for weekends or holidays you can follow the above process.  When editing the Plan select the appropriate “Valid days”.  For a weekend Plan you would typically use a length of 2.  For a holiday Plan the length is not required, it simply applies to days between terms.

Default Plans

You can select one of your Plans as a default if this is desirable.  A default Plan (currently only applies to Room and Resource Booking) displays the period names on the left of the booking calendar.  If no default is selected then period names are displayed within each booking space on the calendar.

The calendar display of bookings is like a table, with each column being a day and each row being a period.  This works fine if the rows are all the same, and the same period works all the way across the row.  However sometimes if there is an assembly included in a time table then this can affect the rows, giving one day an extra period.  To handle this we use a default Plan option and non-default Plans.

If you are only using a single Plan for your time table, then using the default is a good idea.  If you have multiple Plans and the periods change often through the week, then use the ‘Remove default’ option to remove the default Plan as this will make it easier for staff to know which period they are booking.  If you generally use the same period structure through the week and have one day that is different, then you might use a default Plan for your regular timetable and leave the different day is a non-default Plan – the default period descriptions will appear on the left of the table, and the non-default day will include period names in that column only.

Jumping Holidays

Generally this is only used for schools with an odd number of days in their timetable.  For example a school with a 7 day time table may choose to use the ‘Jump Holidays’ option.  When selected the day numbers are automatically allocated to the term starting from day 1 and counting school days through to day 7.  If while counting we come upon a mid-term holiday then the count will jump the holiday and continue counting on the other side.  If the option is not selected then the count will include the holiday date (assuming it is normally a school day).