Work/life balance

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  1. The Annual Conference 2007 Resolution highlighted the fact that the Government’s workforce reforms had not brought about a significant reduction in workload for teachers and pointed out that the key to resolving this situation lay in schools being committed to developing and implementing purposeful work-life balance policies which also take account of the statutory duty on schools to promote gender equality.

  1. The findings of the 2007 School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) Workload Survey bear witness to the fact that teachers overall have not benefited from a significant reduction in workload. Most categories of teacher in 2007 continue to report working over 50 hours a week.

  1. From information held by the Union and consistent with its policies, we have distilled the components of a good work-life balance policy which divisions can seek to include in local authority policies. It may not be possible to incorporate all elements in every policy. All policies should, however, cover at least some of them.

  1. Where entitlements are statutory, or contained within nationally agreed conditions of service, governing bodies have no discretion in their application. It is important that both head teachers and teachers have a good understanding of statutory and contractual entitlements. Where local agreements have been negotiated with the local authority, community schools are obliged to honour them. The governing bodies of foundation or voluntary aided schools, however, can choose whether or not to adopt the policy. In general, voluntary aided schools have tended to follow the local authority practice and the Union would wish this to continue in the case of foundation and trust schools and academies.

  1. There are, however, many additional ways in which all individual schools can take the initiative in supporting staff, both by following local authority guidance and by considering additional supportive measures. This document examines both statutory and contractual entitlements, as well as other `good practice’ initiatives.

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