Over quarter of headteachers say no to flexible working

More than one-quarter of senior leaders in schools (29 per cent of 1,589) said that flexible working requests had been declined in their schools.

This is according to an interim report by Department for Education exploring flexible working practices in schools. Senior and middle leaders were questioned, as well as teachers.

Where flexible working requests had been declined, the most common reason given by senior leaders was not being able to organise work amongst existing staff/timetabling issues (69% of 453 senior leaders).

Both senior leaders and teachers most commonly reported that their own requests for flexible working had been declined due to perceptions that flexible working did not work in school environments. Teachers also noted that requests were declined due to perceptions of a potential detrimental effect on pupils.

Most senior leaders (83% of 1,589) stated that their school had a procedure in place for managing flexible working requests, and the majority had received requests for flexible working in the past five years (77% of 1,589).

Where a flexible working procedure was not in place in a school, this was most commonly reported to be because senior leaders were unsure about what should be included in such a policy, or how to go about developing one (38% of 264).

Nearly all senior leaders (92% of 1,371) said that childcare was the main reason for staff requesting flexible working arrangements, with over half (57% of 1,371) mentioning work/life balance as a key driver for requesting flexible working.

Just over a third of senior leaders (34% of 1,371) said that nearing retirement/wanting to work less hours per week for more years was a key reason for requesting flexible working.

Read more