Financial constraints could be a “hindrance” to schools introducing flexible working, a study has revealed, Schools Week reports.
Heads who took part in the DfE-commissioned research found that leaders generally felt flexible working helped to retain good staff and improved teacher wellbeing, leading to better pupil outcomes.
The two key factors that school leaders take into account when considering flexible working requests included pupil experience and the practicalities of running the school.
But many leaders pointed out short-term financial costs, even if there were potential longer term benefits or savings.
These costs could include extra National Insurance and pension contributions in the case of job shares, additional professional development costs, or increased admin in terms of timetabling and drawing up contracts.
Researchers said this could be “a hindrance to schools improving their approach”.
A small sample of 40 schools offering some flexible approaches were interviewed, alongside a survey of about 600 schools in December 2021.
Many leaders also said they would not “openly advertise” the ability to work flexibly, instead considering it on a candidate-by-candidate basis.
A total of 31 out of the 40 schools did not have a formal flexible working policy in place and “many respondents” did not “actively promote flexible working opportunities”.
“These respondents felt that flexible working could generate problems and administrative burden; while it was felt that these could be overcome, there was no desire to proactively incur them,” the report said.