Why Flexibility is Key in the Education Sector

The education sector is suffering from a severe skills shortage and with one third of all new teachers leaving the profession within five years of starting, it is apparent that retention is one of the major issues. There is a lot of work to be done in keeping teachers happy in the workplace. A survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) union revealed the real reasons why teachers are leaving the profession and heavy workloads and a lack of free time, were just a couple of the concerns.

The question is, can anything be done to rectify the situation or is the teaching profession just doomed forever? Flexibility is the key and if teachers get a bit more of this, they may be more willing to stick around. These are some ways to incorporate flexibility into your education establishment and make life a little easier for your teachers. If you consider these alternatives, you may also find that you open up your pool of candidates, which can also be highly beneficial for your recruitment efforts.

Part Time/Job Share

If you are not currently considering part time or job share options for your teachers, why not? Without this flexible approach to working hours, you could be seriously restricting both your recruitment efforts and your retention levels. With the number of part time workers in the UK continuing to increase, it makes sense to provide this as an option. Teachers who are leaving as a result of too much pressure or a lack of free time, may welcome the option to change their hours. This could really make the difference between keeping talented members of staff or losing them. Why not try using this option on job adverts too? You may really notice a difference in the applications you receive!

Standard Hours

Teachers have somehow found themselves becoming one of the most pressurised professionals in the world, with the average working week standing at a staggering 63 hours! Is it any wonder teachers are leaving in their droves? There really isn’t any reason why teachers should work beyond the hours they were recruited for and in doing this, it is detrimental for both the individual and the profession. You may also want to consider more flexible working conditions, such as working from home when outwith classroom teaching and/or later starts and earlier finishes, depending on whether this is possible or not. The more you value your teachers, the greater the likelihood that they will stick around.

Out of Hours

Many teachers feel that they just don’t have the right work/life balance and this is mainly down to the fact that they are expected to be involved in regular out of hour school activities. Although this is unavoidable at times, it is important to ensure that the hours are given back at another time. Teachers are more likely to go the extra mile and help out when needed, if they have the promise of this being repaid at a later stage. In doing this, you could also improve your retention levels.

There is no reason why teachers shouldn’t be offered the same level of flexibility as other professions and if you make attempts to incorporate this into your organisation, you will notice a difference in both your retention and recruitment efforts.