From education to employment

Flexible Initial Teacher Training Delivery Network project with Capita/Department for Education gets underway

The National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT) has successfully delivered the first milestone in its innovative new partnership with the Flexible Working in Multi-Academy Trusts and Schools (FWAMS) project team.

Capita, funded by the Department for Education (DfE), is currently rolling out a programme to promote flexible working practices in MATs and schools, which includes a series of free training and support webinars. Webinar and resource topics include implementing flexible working, best practice and case studies, diversity in the workforce and co‑leadership and job sharing.

Having stepped forward to support the project last year, NASBTT has now co-delivered the inaugural Flexible ITT Delivery Network Webinar. The webinar comprised a series of short talks by providers highlighting how they have successfully integrated flexibility into their delivery of ITT. NASBTT will also develop guidance and support for the ITT sector, using the research and case studies provided by the FWAMS project.

James Coleman, Head of Operations and Training at NASBTT, said:

“NASBTT is seeking to inform, empower and support providers in implementing flexi-working approaches in ITT. We are working alongside the DfE to raise awareness, support ITT providers in making changes, and highlight research. We want to design realistic and supportive guidance to providers who are interested in developing a flexi-approach, and create an accessible report with guidance and advice that is tailored towards ITT and not just schools in general. We will work with existing FWAMS institutions to gain the latest insight and best practice models to support other ITT providers in the implementation of projects.”

Last spring, NASBTT called for a “more holistic discussion on flexible working” as its latest survey showed that 89% of ITT providers think that greater opportunities for flexible working would attract more applicants to the sector.

In research undertaken in May and June 2023, 53.5% of ITT providers said they did not currently offer flexible working opportunities for trainees. However, as part of their strategic planning, 46.5% of providers were considering flexible working opportunities to applicants.

The majority 75 out of 84 respondents thought that greater opportunities for flexible working would attract more applicants. Providers also reported that only half of schools in wider ITT partnerships currently offer flexible working for their staff.

“As organisations and business start to embrace the opportunity to work more flexibly, there are clear and obvious barriers to schools being able to replicate this practice within our working environment,” James explained. “But with the proven benefits to productivity, wellbeing and retention, it is vital that the education sector feel empowered and confident to pursue bold and ambitious plans to create a flex-working environment for both current and future staff.

“At NASBTT, we know our members play a vital role in creating the right culture and environment for trainee teachers to thrive at the start of their career and supporting a flexi-working approach is an important step to ensuring teaching remains an attractive career in comparison to those in other sectors.”

Oli Oldfield, Policy Designer in the DfE’s Teacher Training and Recruitment Division, added:

“The success of the inaugural Flexible ITT Delivery Network Webinar was a direct result of the fantastic collaboration between the DfE and NASBTT. We look forward to continue working closely together as we expand the network and deliver further sessions supporting more trainee teachers to access flexible training.”

If you have implemented approaches to flexible working within ITT, and would like to support the project, please contact [email protected].

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