Businesses and education organisations have made over 60 pledges to encourage more flexible working in schools, the Department for Education has announced today.
Teacher recruitment and retention are pinch points for the government, after it failed to meet teacher training targets for five years in a row.
A flexible working summit held in October asked organisations to pledge at least one action to improve part-time working in the profession. Sixty-seven pledges have been received so far.
The summit was held shortly after a report from the National Foundation for Educational Research argued that better part-time working conditions were urgently needed to prevent the increasing number of older teachers leaving the sector.
The pledges include:
- The Chartered College of Teaching will create a model for school leaders on of how to implement flexible working
- The National Education Union will promote the advantages of flexible working and encourage schools to extend its availability using social media
- The Teaching Schools Council will work with teaching networks to address barriers to flexible working
- Edval Timetables will offer free basic timetable audits to UK schools and give advice on incorporating flexible working into timetables
- The British Educational Suppliers Association will incorporate flexible working practices for staff and trustees and issue best practice guidance to the 400 companies it works with
- The Association of School and College Leaders will endorse and encourage flexible working options to its members
- Barclays will showcase its Dynamic Working Campaign – which aids its staff with work/life balance – at an event for school governors, senior staff and the Department for Education
- Teach First will use its ‘Innovation Series‘ to explore how to introduce more flexible working in schools
- Microsoft will extend its partnership with WomenED to share best practice on flexible working online
- The TES will ensure all job adverts state if a school will accept job-share or flexible working, and is creating a new award to recognise schools with the best practices
- WomenEd will develop case studies of successful working practices
- Southwark Teaching Schools Alliance and Reach2 will identify and share best practice
- Matrix Academy Trust will review its recruitment strategy by August 2018 to make sure teachers are supported to work flexibly
- The Laurus Trust, Marsh Green Primary School and Kings School Winchester will make sure job adverts and promotional material explicitly state posts are open to flexible or part-time working
Other commitments made by the government at the summit include sharing best practice on flexible working, updating guidance on flexible working in schools and promoting flexible working opportunities via the new teacher vacancy service.
Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening, described the pledges as “really encouraging” and said flexible working will help to “make the best of all the talent and dedication already in the profession”.
She added: “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.”
The gender pay gap, which stands at 18.4 per cent nationally, is 4.8 per cent for secondary school staff and 1.9 per cent for primary school and nursery staff.
For the full list of pledges, see here.