Can teachers work from home?
Can teachers work from home when not teaching in the classroom or do they always need to be physically based in school?
Are there any legal restrictions which prevent teachers from taking PPA time outside school?
These are some of the questions which teachers contact us about especially since the advent of more remote and flexible working practices due to the pandemic.
We have published another support article which looks at the practical steps you can take when making a flexible working request. Employers must consider flexible working requests in a ‘reasonable manner’.
In this support article, we provide a summary of guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) on flexible working in schools and look at examples of schools which offer remote working from home during PPE time.
Can teachers work from home: guidance from the DfE
The DfE has published non-statutory guidance on flexible working in schools.
It explains schools and multi-academy trusts are encouraged to adopt a flexible working policy which responds to the needs of the staff, and the employer, to address the challenges to flexible working in their school.
Schools may find it more sustainable in the longer term to consider flexible working on a whole-school level, rather than considering individual requests as they arise. Implementing such an approach involves speaking to staff about their flexibility needs and designing solutions that work for wider groups of staff. This could include:
- Sharing with staff the best times in the year to submit a request to align with the timetabling process
- Reviewing arrangements for when staff can work from home
- Looking at how planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time is scheduled
It explains employees may not feel able to request home or remote working, if it is not detailed in the PPA policy.
Employees should speak to their manager about home or remote working during PPA time. It may be helpful to discuss how the PPA policy could be adapted to take account of this, allowing employees to work off site if safeguarding considerations allow.
Home working during PPA time: examples from schools
Latimer Primary School in Leicestershire has a short case study on different flexible working practices. It explains:
[We are] allowing staff to complete administrative tasks at home or off-site to avoid long commutes or disruptions. We are currently trialling fortnightly staff meetings and teachers taking PPA time off- site, as part of our ongoing commitment to reduction in workload and staff well-being.
The Stour Academy Trust in Kent recognises that people work more effectively when they are able to strike a healthy work-life balance. It allows members of staff to take PPA time at home.
St Michael’s RC Primary School in Durham has a cover and PPA policy. It explains:
Teachers may decide where to take their PPA time within the school. Teachers wishing to take PPA time off the school premises can only do so if this is authorised by the Headteacher.
Royal Cross Primary School in Lancashire has a PPA policy. It notes:
The Headteacher will determine if PPA is to take place on or off-site, including the appropriateness of teachers working at home.
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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.