Organisations pledge to boost flexible working in schools

More than 60 pledges to encourage flexible working in the teaching profession have been made from organisations, following the government’s Flexible Working in Schools Summit in October.

They include the Times Education Supplement creating an award to recognise the schools with the most progressive working practices, the Teacher Development Trust providing guidance for schools on part-time staff and Barclays hosting an event for school governors and staff to show how flexible working can be implemented in practice.

The October summit brought together teaching unions, school leaders and business professionals and explored ways to recruit and retain great teachers, as well as tackling the gender pay gap by encouraging employers to support alternative ways of working. The summit asked for each organisation to offer at least one pledge of action. Since then, 67 pledges have been made to raise the profile of flexible and part-time working and to ensure opportunities to work flexibly are available across the profession.

Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening said: “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.”

Microsoft’s pledge will extend its partnership with WomenED to share best practice on flexible working online and at events.

The Times Educational Supplement will ensure that all job adverts on its website clearly display whether the school will accept job-share or flexible working solutions.

The Chartered College of Teaching has set out plans to create a model of how flexible working can be implemented for all members of staff, to help educate school leaders.

The National Education Union will promote the advantages of flexible working in schools and encourage them to extend its availability – using social media to gather and promote case studies.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) will work to endorse and encourage flexible working options to its members.

The Teaching Schools Council will work with teaching networks to bring about cultural change in the profession by addressing barriers to flexible working.

Barclays will host an event for school governors, senior school staff and members of the Department for Education to showcase its Dynamic Working Campaign.

Teach First will use its ‘Innovation Series’, which generates innovative ideas to tackle educational inequality, to explore ways to introduce more flexible working in schools.

WomenEd will work with the Association of School and College Leaders and the Chartered College of Teaching to develop cases studies of successful working practices that they will share with the sector.

Individual schools and academies are also taking action to prove that leaders across the country have the power to make a real impact at a local level too. This includes:

Southwark Teaching Schools Alliance, and Reach2 have committed to identifying and sharing best practice around flexible working.

Matrix Academy Trust has committed to a review of its recruitment strategy by August 2018, to ensure teachers working there are supported to work in a flexible way.

Marsh Green Primary School, Kings School Winchester and The Laurus Trust have committed to ensuring that job adverts and promotional material explicitly state that posts are open to flexible or part time working.

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