More than 60 pledges to encourage schools to introduce more flexible working practices have been made in a bid to tackle the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.
The promises follow a DfE summit on the issue in October, where education secretary Justine Greening said that more flexible working would enable schools to keep valued teachers in the profession.
The pledges, announced this morning, include:
- The National Education Union will promote the advantages of flexible working in schools and encourage them to extend its availability – using social media to gather and promote case studies;
- WomenEd will work with the Association of School and College Leaders and the Chartered College of Teaching to develop cases studies of successful working practices that they will share with the sector;
- Tes will ensure that all job adverts on its website clearly display whether the school will accept job-share or flexible working solutions;
- The Chartered College of Teaching has set out plans to create a model of how flexible working can be implemented for all members of staff, to help educate school leaders; and
- Barclays will host an event for school governors, senior school staff and members of the Department for Education to showcase its Dynamic Working Campaign.
Charles Dickens Primary in London has pledged to reassure parents that job shares “can often bring an even richer learning experience and faster progress for their child benefits from the best and often complementary qualities of two teachers instead of one”.
Headteacher Cassie Buchanan said: “For us, flexible working is allowing our staff team to lead full lives and work for us. I want to be able to retain good, ambitious teachers, to support staff pursuing postgraduate degrees or other interests, and to acknowledge that the impact of each employee is not based on how many hours they are in the building but on how effective they are and how well our children are doing.”
Ms Greening said: “Flexible working is already happening in many other sectors – it’s vital we ensure it is happening in our schools too so we continue to attract the best and brightest into teaching. And, given this disproportionality affects women, it’s a smart way to help close the gender pay gap.”
Tes will create an award to recognise the schools with the most progressive working practices.
Rob Grimshaw, chief executive of Tes, said Tes data showed that a growing number of schools are offering flexible roles, but the sector was still behind others.
He added: “Schools that lead the way in offering flexible, part-time and job-sharing roles can be attractive to teachers who may otherwise consider leaving the profession or to those who have left and would consider returning.”