Background Inadequate description of treatment hampers progress in stroke rehabilitation. Objective To develop a valid, reliable, standardised treatment schedule of conventional physical therapy provided for the paretic upper limb after stroke. Design, setting and participants Eleven neurophysiotherapists participated in the established methodology: semi-structured interviews, focus groups and piloting a draft treatment schedule in clinical practice. Different physiotherapists (n = 13) used the treatment schedule to record treatment given to stroke patients with mild, moderate and severe upper limb paresis. Rating of adequacy of the treatment schedule was made using a visual analogue scale (0 to 100 mm). Mean (95% confidence interval) visual analogue scores were calculated (expert criterion validity). For intra-rater reliability, each physiotherapist observed a video tape of their treatment and immediately completed a treatment schedule recording form on two separate occasions, 4 to 6 weeks apart. The Kappa statistic was calculated for intra-rater reliability. Results The treatment schedule consists of a one-page A4 recording form and a user booklet, detailing 50 treatment activities. Expert criterion validity was 79 (95% confidence interval 74 to 84). Intra-rater Kappa was 0.81 (P < 0.001). Conclusion This treatment schedule can be used to document conventional physical therapy in subsequent clinical trials in the geographical area of its development. Further work is needed to investigate generalisability beyond this geographical area.