At Dixons, we have been focusing on prioritising flexibility for our teachers to support greater work life harmony. As a result, we are excited to launch our new flexible working plan which will come into effect in the next academic year (24 / 25) and includes working towards a nine-day fortnight for teachers.
We want to be bold in our approach. Our ambition is for teachers to be afforded the same flexibility that’s available in many other sectors and now even expected in the post pandemic world. Given the nature of teaching, we know that the scale of this flexibility will not always match what others offer outside the sector, but making these changes will go a long way in making a difference.
What we are currently doing to reduce workload and offer flexibility:
We have been focusing on flexibility and workload for a while, but we want to be more ambitious. Here are some of the things we have been doing for a long time.
- Whole class feedback: We are attentive to student outcomes, and as a result, we provide feedback that is often deliverable (live or through reflection) from the whole class or as part of adaptions to planning or to the curricular map.
- Behaviour management: We have a highly consistent behaviour management approach across our trust that builds supportive mechanisms around children and adults.
- Cross cutting teams: We have a central curriculum and we collaborate across schools and departments to ensure we share resources and stop duplication and unnecessary work at all levels.
- Limiting our meetings: We always limit the amount of meetings that our staff are in. We don’t want to waste any of their time and we expect them to tell us and feed back if they feel they could save time elsewhere.
How we are expanding on this:
In line with our deep commitment to self-determination, we want to give our teachers more agency over their roles by offering a flexible working plan that will give them time back.
- Nine-day fortnight: We are working towards a nine-day fortnight for teachers without impacting students’ contact time. As far as possible, we want this to be a genuine reduction in working hours and not just trying to fit 10 days of teaching into nine. The analysis we have been conducting shows this is possible in many of our schools.
- Remote working: We are pushing forward with a plan that allows remote working during non-contact time, which includes giving more PPA and making it manageable from home or another remote location, and where our teachers want to do this, compressing the free hours or non-contact hours so that they can be away from school for longer periods of time.
- Personal days: We want to offer personal days during term time so our teachers are not restricted to only take time off in the school holidays.
- Artificial intelligence: We will look to use technology, where possible, to reduce teachers’ contact time and provide greater flexibility. We want to harness technology more widely to free up more time and allow our best teachers to influence more students than just those physically present in their classrooms.
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Click here to read the Tes article on flexible working, written by our Chief Executive Luke Sparkes.