The government has announced new pilot programmes to help support more part-time teaching in schools, in an effort to boost teacher recruitment and retention.

The plans were announced today at the first flexible working in schools summit, and include a pilot to look at ways schools are already successfully working with part-time teachers in order to share best practice.

Speaking at the event in Camberwell in south-east London, the education secretary claimed the government would be working in partnership with unions and organisations from across the education sector to bring in the programmes.

The announcement follows a report from the National Foundation for Educational Research, which argued that better part-time working conditions must be urgently created in secondary schools to try and prevent older teachers leaving the sector in increasing numbers.

Justine Greening said a more flexible workplace would help schools “keep their valued teachers” and help teachers stay in the profession as they become parents or near retirement.

She also claimed that, as difficulties with inflexible working disproportionately affect women, finding a solution would help to close the gender pay gap.

“This 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,” she said. “The pledges we have made today show that we are determined to leave no stone unturned to make the best of all of the talent and dedication in the teaching profession.”

Although the timing of the pilot programmes has not yet been announced, the DfE said it would also considering including the need for more part-time or flexible vacancies as part of the proposals for its new teacher vacancy website.