Job sharing in schools

Overview

You might be looking at job sharing in your school so you can balance demanding priorities. It can be a useful way to achieve an effective work/life balance with an increasing number of teachers, senior leaders and headteachers job sharing throughout the UK.

As part of the teacher recruitment and retention strategy published by the Department for Education the DfE will be launching a new job sharing service to help those interested find opportunities. It will also work with the sector to make sure that ‘quality tools’ exist to support workforce flexibility.

To find out more information on flexible working you can read our article on how to request flexible working in your school.

What can be the benefits of job sharing

ACAS explains that job sharing can bring a range of benefits for employers and employees alike. Two people can bring a wider range of skills and experience to a role and can contribute new ideas and working approaches. 

It notes that job sharing does require a high degree of organisation and commitment on all sides, and communication and flexibility are key to making any arrangement work. Research has found that many job sharers felt they had to go ‘the extra mile’ to prove that it can be an effective and commercially viable way of working.

How does it practically work in schools?

Job sharing can look different from school-to-school. Below, we look at two examples:

Primary school

At Christleton Primary School in Chester its policy defines job sharing where two employees share the work of one post. Both employees work part-time and share the responsibilities for the effective performance of the job. They receive their holiday and other benefits of the job on a pro-rata basis.

On the topic of the sharing of professional duties the school’s policy explains:

  • Both job sharers are to be present at all parents’ evenings
  • The job description of the post remains unchanged e.g. both job sharers shall be responsible for meeting the targets set for their children. Maintaining the classroom environment to a high standard is the responsibility of both job sharers
  • Job sharers are to attend all staff meetings and INSET days when held during their working days. Attendance at staff meetings would normally be on a pro-rata basis

In terms of any conflicts between two employees, the policy explains that any issues will be considered by the headteacher. It is the responsibility of both staff members to communicate this to the headteacher at the earliest available opportunity.

Secondary School

At Heaton School in Stockport it explains that job sharing is a method of working whereby two people voluntarily share the duties and responsibilities of one full-time position. They should not be considered part-time workers. The full-time salary and accompanying conditions of service are divided proportionally between the job sharers.

Its job sharing policy explains where an existing employee wishes to share his/her own post they should consult their headteacher and head of department. All recruitment advertisements (internal and external) should state that the school operates a job share policy and that all posts are available for job-share unless otherwise indicated.

The policy explains arrangements for the division of hours on a job sharing basis could include any combination which is acceptable to management, for example:

  • Week on/week off arrangement
  • Divided week e.g. 2 and a half days per week per person
  • Mornings/afternoons
  • Alternate days

On the topic of performance management, the policy explains that job sharers are covered by the current performance management regulations and should be treated the same as their full-time counterpoints. However, objectives should be proportionate to their contractual hours. Shared objectives can be given however individual responsibilities should be specified.

How can I make a request for job sharing?

You will want to read your school’s policy on flexible working if it has one. There should be a procedure in place at your school which outlines the steps on how you can make a request for a job share.

To find out more details on how you can request flexible working (such as a job share) please read the following article.

Further support

If you have concerns about your rights and responsibilities in your current job share you can contact us for further advice and support.

Was this article helpful?

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.