'Wrong and immoral' for teachers to seek reduced hours

Former government adviser criticises teachers who ask to go part-time after taking on full-time roles

Andrew Carter

It is "wrong and immoral" for teachers to ask for their hours to be reduced after taking on full-time jobs, a former government adviser has argued.

Sir Andrew Carter, head of the South Farnham Educational Trust, made the comments at the National Teacher Training and Recruitment Conference in London this morning.

Sir Andrew, who chaired the 2015 review of initial teacher training, also suggested some teachers should adjust their expectations around work-life balance, saying: "Some people have too much work, some people have too much life."


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He said: “If somebody wants a part-time job, it’s wrong and immoral of them to take a full-time job and expect the organisation to [make] it into a part-time activity.

"Because teaching does require time. There are 500,000 teachers qualified in the UK not teaching, and very many of them want part-time work. We have the lowest number of part-time workers in any profession. We have a challenge around this, it’s difficult to do.

“In primary schools, people are saying we have two teachers running a primary class and children get confused. In secondary schools, the maths teacher is [working] on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and there is another one on Friday and Monday. I understand those things but we need to look at that."

He added: "I don't think we should separate life and work as if you go to work to have a life, because you are never going to have that balance.

"Some people have too much work, some people have too much life. And we've got to remember that, and we need to explain about that – and not be prissy about it". 

Suzanne Beckley, senior policy adviser at the NEU teaching union, said later in the conference: "Clearly, there is a demand for flexible working. We know that the new generation of workers expect more flexible working as part of a working life. And while there are clearly practical barriers in schools to that, is it still part of the same conversation about changing what we expect. 

"Yes, of course teaching is a face-to-face occupation and I wouldn't want to see anything different to that, but I think it's going down the wrong path to say parents just want one teacher in front of their children all week long and that children can't cope with different adults teaching them."

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