Will covid force schools to rethink flexible working?

Published: Thursday April 22 2021 by Melanie Crewe

The closure of schools during the pandemic has had a huge impact on teaching staff. Trying to teach from the kitchen table whilst homeschooling children and maintaining a reasonable family / work life balance has been a tall order.

So, it is therefore not surprising that recent data published by TES indicated that nearly half of teachers have considered quitting this year . But, what the pandemic has taught us, is that there are huge opportunities in schools for development, innovation and creativity when it comes to flexible working and the benefits that it affords to an organisation.

Very quickly, school practices adjusted- realising that communication had to become more timely, meetings needed greater clarity, and deadlines needed to be more fluid. Schools have learnt that they can do things differently, including flexible working.

Teacher Recruitment and Retention:

In 2019, as part of the DfE’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy, commitment was pledged to support headteachers to adapt to changing workforce demands by transforming approaches to flexible working in schools.

As part of this ongoing commitment, a £480,000 programme has recently been launched by the Department for Education to promote flexible working to eight schools and Academy trusts in England in order to “help to recruit, retain and motivate teachers”.

These Flexible Working Ambassador Schools (FWAS) will support other schools to offer more flexible working opportunities, which, in turn, can improve retention rates.

The DfE said: “Flexible working policies can help to recruit, retain and motivate teachers and can play a central role in helping schools to deploy their staff effectively and efficiently. There are a number of practical challenges to address (e.g. managing staffing arrangements, timetabling and developing coherent whole-school policies and approaches).

The FWA schools and trusts are: 

  • Impington Village College, Cambridgeshire
  • Greater Manchester Learning Trust, Manchester
  • Discovery Schools Academy Trust, Leicestershire
  • Newport Girls' High School Academy Trust, Shropshire
  • Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust, Durham
  • Charles Dickens Primary School, south-east London
  • Upton Court Grammar School, Berkshire
  • Malmesbury School, Wiltshire

Flexible Working

Flexible work solutions:

As a specialist education recruitment agency, we have learned from our staff the benefits that come with being able to offer them flexible supply cover options. In many cases, we have been able to retain talented teaching staff, who otherwise may have considered leaving the profession. We are able to work around their very busy personal lives, allowing them to fully embrace the opportunities flexible work affords.

If you are working within education and are looking for alternative options to full-time teaching, we can provide you with opportunities.

Register your details online and a consultant will contact you to discuss further, or find your local team contact details here.