Flexible Working - School Rep Bulletin

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Flexible working is not an ad-hoc arrangement. It is not directed by the local authority and cannot be imposed.  It is not normally a solution to short term cover difficulties. Reps are reminded that:

  • Any arrangement must be agreed prior to the beginning of the academic year and the request can be declined.
  • A school may operate flexible class contact time, preparation and correction time and remaining time over a longer period, normally 2 weeks, but not exceeding 4 weeks.
  • Maximum class contact time in any single week is restricted to 25 hours, subject to an average of 22.5 hours over the agreed period of variation.
  • Any reconfiguration of class contact time would be subject to discussion and agreement between the Headteacher and the relevant teaching staff.
  • Preparation, correction and collegiate activities are key elements of the work of teaching professionals and Headteachers must allow appropriate time for such core activities.
  • The working week must average 35 hours over the agreed period of variation. Preparation and correction remains, as a minimum, one third of the class contact time delivered each week.
  • The remaining time is for collegiate activities, as per the school’s Working Time Agreement. Where class contact time is varied from 22.5 hours per week the agreement must show how this will be averaged out over the period of variation, including staffing arrangements; time for preparation and correction will be guaranteed within that period.
  • When attempting to cover short term supply difficulties SSTA advises that ‘flexible working requests’ should be declined except in the most extreme circumstances.

The national criteria can be found in Appendix 2.17 of the SNCT handbook at

School WTA Negotiating Groups are encouraged to engage with SSTA District Secretaries or a Professional Officer if advice is required on formulating an approach to flexible working.

Please see the SSTA website for more advice on Working Time Agreement negotiations and the composition of School Negotiating Groups.


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