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A new normal for education? Flexible working guidance for schools

Use our resources to build on the challenges your school has faced this year, and create better working lives for school staff.

Flexible working in teaching

It’s fair to say that introducing flexible working in schools is more challenging than in many other sectors. As we previously explained in our report, Building flexibility into secondary schools, there are a number of barriers that have slowed progress in this area, including the logistics of timetabling, the need for teachers to be student-facing, and other cultural and attitudinal factors.

But the case for change is clear: the lack of part-time and flexible roles has been identified as a key reason behind the teaching brain drain. It also makes it harder to attract talented people to the profession, and to encourage them to return after a career break.

And whilst the pandemic has created huge pressures for school leaders and staff, from the cancellation of external exams to the need to create a safe environment for staff and students to return to, it’s undeniable that it has also opened up opportunities to rethink how things are done. Furthermore, as in most sectors, it has encouraged employers to increase their focus on staff wellbeing, and employees to evaluate their work life balance, and seek out ways to make it better.

Our new bank of resources and guidance for schools

We have long been interested in encouraging flexible working in schools, and are part-way through an action research project with three MATS. This will see us exploring the barriers to flexibility in more depth, and looking at how the positive experiences schools have gained during the pandemic can be taken forward. We’ll follow this up by designing flexible roles that can work around or overcome these barriers, and pilot them within schools.

As always, we will share our learnings during and at the end of this project, so all schools can benefit. But we are also really keen to give school leaders and HR teams the support they need to get started right now. So we have created a bank of resources to do just that, by:

  • Setting out the background to flexible working in schools
  • Explaining why it’s important and what factors help it succeed
  • Exploring the shift from a reactive approach to a whole-school one
  • Looking at the principles of job design
  • Providing insights and examples from other schools of what works

We have also pulled out some of the key questions schools have asked us about implementing flexible working, and answered them in more detail.

We do hope you find these resources useful, and are able to build on them to create new, better opportunities for flexible working within your school. If you would like to explore the possibility of working with us to progress your plans, do please get in touch.

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