DfE Teacher recruitment and retention strategy- How schools will need to recalibrate accountability and accommodate workplace practices for the surge in part time staff.

DfE Teacher recruitment and retention strategy- How schools will need to recalibrate accountability and accommodate workplace practices for the surge in part time staff.

The biggest teaching reform in a generation, backed by at least £130 million extra funding, was announced by the DfE recently- which included an emphasis on the necessary accommodation of schools for part-time and flexible working hours for teachers.

Within the teacher workforce, the trend of part time employment peaks in the mid 30s’ age group, where the demands of family life are at their height for many- which is where retention becomes a significant problem. It is also when teaching roles tend to come with more responsibilities/ become leadership roles. This further emphasises the overdue necessity for a shake up in the school’s timetabling management- to ensure those experienced and much valued professionals are re-accommodated back into the classroom environment and encouraged to want to continue their career.

For this to be feasible, schools are expected to make certain allowances for these working hours to be more sustainable for teachers and teaching staff. This may include addressing the complexity of timetabling, (particularly in secondary schools) as this is one of the main reasons why part-time teaching is more difficult to accommodate. Schools, where possible, should use line management effectively to identify workload issues and intervene to increase support and recalibrate accountability.

Caroline Cafferty, Operations Director at justteachers recently spoke to head teacher Angela Pagett, Henley Green Primary School, to get her perspective on job-sharing in a primary school setting and how they have adapted their work practices to accommodate valued staff members on a part-time basis.

Headteacher Angela Pagett explained:

We have allowed flexible working conditions for main scale teachers, upper pay scale (UPS) teachers, teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) teachers and even assistant headteachers and we currently have one job-share in place.” 

Ms Pagett highlights communication between the two job-share teachers as the most crucial element in job-share success- most of which occurs via secure school email or the school’s secure online child protection management system.

She continued:

“Alongside the shared planning time for detailed discussion about the week ahead, our communication systems ensure the smooth-running of the class. Part-time or flexible hours and job-shares work well when colleagues are open-minded and able to work alongside each other sharing the same vision and ethos.”  

Professional development sessions are also held at the school midweek and are attended by full-time, part-time and job-share teachers alike.

All key meetings, such as those around pupil progress and support during assessments, are timetabled in line with job-sharers’ working hours and by the school’s senior leadership team.

The positive stance on flexible working practices in Helen Green Primary School is wholeheartedly welcomed by justteachers.

Since early 2018, we have recognised these growing trends in teachers requesting flexible hours and part-time roles and as a result launched our extremely successful ‘Flexi’ job share scheme. Flexi matches like-minded teachers to create job share opportunities to help schools fill full time vacancies. This allows us to re-engage with teachers who may have left the profession or who are unable to commit to full time employment, whilst still tapping into their wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Robyn Johnstone, GROUP CEO of EPG and justteachers commented: 

“As part of the DfE’s strategy, Mr Hinds plans to help schools introduce flexible working practices through a new match-making service for teachers seeking a job-share. As a pioneer of the Flexi job-share programme, we know from experience that this is proven to improve teacher work-life balance and most importantly help schools retain talent. However for this to work well, time must be spent highlighting to parents the benefits of having two class teachers- rather than one getting tired and disaffected teacher their child gets two for the price of one- all fresh and fired up.”

If you would like to know more about our Flexi programme, please visit: https://www.justteachers.co.uk/flexi/ or alternatively call 0800 832 243 to speak to a consultant in your area.

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