With more than 80% of teachers considering leaving the profession due to workload pressure (according to the National Education Union (NEU)), reducing stress and encouraging greater work-life balance is key. Education recruiter justteachers has done just that with the launch of Flexi – a new job share option in which two teachers share a full-time role, enabling them to reduce their workload and improve their wellbeing, and consequently assisting schools in retaining talent long-term.
Flexible working conditions, such as job shares, provide teachers with an opportunity to continue their career in teaching without forfeiting a healthy work-life balance. Aimed at filling full-time positions, Flexi matches like-minded teachers to create job-share opportunities that help schools fill those ‘hard to fill’ vacancies and re-engage teachers who have left the profession or who are unable to commit to full-time employment, while still tapping into their wealth of knowledge and expertise.
Working part-time is an especially appealing option for teachers who have recently taken maternity or paternity leave – a Department for Education survey in 2017 found that more than 60% of women returning to teaching after a career break of a year or more wanted to return to part-time work. Job sharing allows new mothers and fathers to continue to develop and progress their teaching career while also focusing on their parental commitments. For teachers approaching retirement and seeking to reduce the pressure of working full-time, the option to job-share may also be an attractive solution.
Benefits to senior leaders responsible for recruitment include the option to choose from a wider pool of applicants and a higher number of experienced teachers. Commenting on the need to find novel ways to address the recruitment crisis, Caroline Cafferty, Operations Director, justteachers, said, “According to a 2017 National Audit Office report Retaining and developing the teaching workforce, schools filled just half of their vacancies with teachers with the experience and expertise required, and in around one tenth of cases, failed to fill their posts. This is why it is so important to consider other options. By offering a better work-life balance senior leadership teams can benefit from improved staff relations and potentially retain, for longer, highly motivated teachers who feel that their professional experience and expertise is well rewarded by flexible working options.”
Job sharing also reduces the likelihood of absence days as teachers are working to a schedule that better suits them, with days and hours assigned and agreed upon more autonomously. In the event of sickness, Flexi provides an opportunity for the absence to be covered by the fellow job sharer, reducing spend on supply teachers and keeping a tight rein on school budgets. Job-share sickness cover may also lead to fewer disruptions and greater continuity of teaching as students are already be familiar with the teacher covering the class.
Concluding, Caroline Cafferty said, “Most importantly Flexi provides schools with an opportunity to source great teachers for their classrooms, where the teachers are in an enviable position of sharing the timetable with another colleague. Job sharing also provides teachers with an increased opportunity to work collaboratively and support each other. Work-life balance is restored and this inevitably leads to better quality of teaching.”
- 40% of full-time teachers surveyed in the 2018 NEU poll of more than 8,000 members said they spent more than 20 hours a week working at home during evenings and weekends.
- One-third of teachers said their workload had never been manageable during the past year.
- Less than 15% of teachers said that they had a good work-life balance all or most of the time.