New survey shows that part-time teaching roles could bring much needed teaching talent back to the profession

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TES supports teachers and schools looking to work and offer part-time roles with new products, resources and incentives

  • 77% of teachers who have left the profession would consider returning to teaching, but only for part-time or job share roles
  • TES launches a dedicated part-time jobs hub and creates community for finding job share partners

New data from TES spells out the rising demand for part-time and job share teaching roles in England as teachers look for better work life balance and suggests that more flexible working could have a positive impact on retention and in attracting more lapsed teachers back to the profession at a time of shortage. The majority of full-time teachers are tempted by, actively seeking, or have already tried to go part-time, while 77% of those that have left the profession would only consider returning to teaching for a part-time or job share role.

Nearly one in four teachers already work part-time, but there is clear demand for more opportunities to work flexibly. A better work-life balance remains a key driver, with 73% of full-time teachers strongly agreeing that this would be their main reason for going part-time.

There is also evidence that demand is outstripping supply of roles as schools look to overcome the hurdles of introducing more flexible working for teachers with 49% of full-time teachers believing that part-time roles are very rare in their local area.

Official data suggests that teaching is beginning to lag behind other professions in supporting part-time working. Office of National Statistics (ONS) statistics show that 27% of the UK workforce now work part time, while the most recent Department of Education (DfE) school workforce data shows that just 23% of teachers worked part-time in November 2014, down from 24.7% in 2013. Primary school teachers are more likely to work part-time compared to secondary school teachers.

Amongst the total school workforce part-time working is much more established. 85% of teaching assistants and 56% of school support staff currently work part-time.

Rob Grimshaw, CEO of TES, said: “Retaining our current teachers and successfully tapping into the wealth of lapsed educators in the country is crucial if we want to tackle the shortage in specific areas and subjects. Teachers are clearly demanding more part-time roles and TES has an important part to play in supporting and connecting both teachers and schools to make this possible. There is a big untapped pool of talent out there at a time when schools are looking to fill crucial positions ahead of September and the new school year.”

TES is responding to this rising demand by supporting the provision of part-time teaching roles through a number of initiatives, including the creation of a dedicated part-time jobs and news hub, a community forum for finding job share partners, offering discounts for the advertising of part-time roles, and extending a scheme to make part time admin roles free to advertise.

Denise Burrell, Head Teacher of Ridgewell CofE Primary School, said: “I have two part-time teachers on a job share. One of the teachers was full time, but couldn't cope with the workload and a young family. I found a good match; they share the role and meet on Wednesday afternoon to plan. Apart from a few teething problems mostly with the logistics of marking books, almost a year down the line, it is working well. I think we get a good deal. We have two enthusiastic, conscientious teachers who are well planned and organised.”

Survey methodology

TES surveyed 1,500 past and present user teachers in England during June 2016 about their experience of teaching and appetite for part time roles.