IWD23: Flexible working and retaining staff.
International Women’s Day 2023 special: Schools embracing flexibility in their leadership teams.
As recruitment gets harder, retention becomes even more vital.
One way you can retain staff is offering more flexible employment. It provides lots of benefits. Not least of all around equity.
But it’s hard to do and not done often in schools.
One important question we need to ask, especially if we’re to reverse trends like 6,000 teachers, who are women aged 30-39, leaving the profession, is:
Where is flex’ happening successfully?
To celebrate IWD23, the brilliant Frances Ling did some digging to answer the above question.
Whether you’re a:
school leader looking to create a more equitable, flexible culture or a
teacher looking into more flexible options for you, your family or your friends…
…this week’s edition is for you.
We - schools - Are In Beta - always learning (when we think about working conditions that retain talent).
🔬International Women’s Day 2023: Schools embracing flexibility in their leadership teams.
💼 Jobs with We Are In Beta community members.
🔬 International Women’s Day 2023: Schools embracing flexibility in their leadership teams #embraceequity
The brilliant Frances Ling, found 60 secondary schools with leadership teams who are breaking away from the full-time norm and thriving in terms of performance and Ofsted.
So you can learn what they do on the ground to make it happen, she’s dug deeper into their websites and policies for the positive and proactive approaches they use.
She’s also gathered some info about how you can win funding for your school.
3 observations from finding 60 schools who embrace flexible working:
The range of flex. ⬅️➡️ - Across schools, leadership flex factors ranged from 0 to 0.72. (0 shows a school with everyone in the team is employed full-time, and 0.72 a school where, on average, all leaders are working for just over 3.5 days a week).
The average flex. 📊 - Of all schools, 2,353 of them (69%) had a leadership flex factor of 0 indicating leadership teams where everyone works full-time.
The most likely role to offer flex. 💼 - For schools with some flex in leadership (factor ≠0), Headteachers were the most likely to be away from the full-time norm, with a flex factor of 0.07 on average.
To learn more about:
how schools use flex to help get skills to where they’re needed
the number of schools with co-leadership models and
number of schools who made explicit reference to flexible working in their recruitment pages…
60 schools that have broken away from the full-time norm and are thriving.
Use this database to learn more about the 60 schools:
21 schools that had Outstanding Leadership & Management: their practices in depth.
From the 60 schools above we looked at 21 in more depth so you can learn more about:
🧑🏫 Leadership team structures
🌐 Recruitment pages, candidate packs and example job adverts
📝 The statements they make about flex outwardly
🔎 The comments made by Ofsted about staff views of the leadership team
💼 Vacancies they are recruiting for now
7 schools who make explicit reference to flexible working in the recruitment materials.
Of the 21 schools, 7 made explicit reference to flexible working in the recruitment materials:
Upton Court Grammar School (Slough)
Maiden Erlegh School (Wokingham)
Chorlton High School (Manchester)
Didcot Girls' School (Oxfordshire)
Hayes School (Bromley) / Impact MAT
At De Lacy Academy (Wakefield)
The Charter School North Dulwich (in Southwark)
To find out what they said and how they said it…
💼 Jobs with We Are In Beta community members.
Want the 14.5k+ people reading this newsletter to see your roles?
Deputy Headteacher (Curriculum) - Da Vinci Academy (Derby).
Deputy Headteacher (Pastoral Care) - Da Vinci Academy (Derby).
Assistant Headteacher - Gloucester Academy (Gloucester).
Assistant Headteacher (Behaviour) - Isca Academy (Devon).
SENDCO - Ormiston Victory Academy (Norfolk).
Head of Faculty Business and Economics - Copleston High School (Ipswich).
Head of Computing - East Barnet School (London).
Head of History - Meridian High School (Croydon).
Head of Humanities - Capital City Academy (London).
Head of Humanities - Meridian High School (Croydon).
Head of Maths - Capital City Academy (London).
Second in Maths - Copleston High School (Ipswich).
Head of MFL - Park House School (Newbury).
Head of Science - Ark John Keats (London).
Head of Science - The Milton Keynes Academy (Milton Keynes).
Science Development Lead - Capital City Academy (London).
Head of Year - Ark John Keats (London).
Head of Year - Capital City Academy (London).
Lead for Government & Politics - Ark John Keats (London).
31 roles at the schools listed above across these subjects:
Science - Broadwater School (Surrey).
Science x 2, Geography - Noel Baker Academy (Derby).
Geography, Science - East Barnet School (London).
Art and Textiles - Brakenhale School (Bracknell).
Science, Maths, Computing - Capital City Academy (London).
Drama - Meridian High School (Croydon).
Art, Design Technology, English, Humanities, Mathematics, MFL, Music, Science - Da Vinci Academy (Derby).
Maths - Copleston High School (Ipswich).
Science, Maths - The Dorcan Academy (Swindon).
PE - St Mark’s Academy (London).
Drama, Music, Geography, MFL, Computing, Science, Maths, DT - Gloucester Academy (Gloucester).
Geography, Maths, English, Science, MFL - Park House School (Newbury).
Head of Pinnacle (students who have language and communication difficulties) - Meridian High School (Croydon).
Head of Summit (SEMH provision for students who have SEMH needs and behavioural challenges) - Meridian High School (Croydon).
Interested in these roles?
Send the people who posted them a message to find out more. But first…
On a personal note
I’ve been fortunate to work flexibly both while teaching and during my working life after teaching.
What you may not know is, between 2015-2018, I worked two days a week at Harris Academy in South West London. It was a win win.
The school got an experienced Science teacher to help set up BTEC, which helped bolster 6th form numbers and outcomes, while not breaking the bank on a FTE.
I was able to keep doing what I Ioved - teaching Science - and had the space to start working on what became We Are In Beta.
Now, I run the We Are In Beta community remotely. I get to enjoy breakfast, nursery pick up/drop off, dinner and bath / bed time with my little one almost every day. Not every parent is lucky enough to do that. The pressure on parents to balance work and family is huge.
I know it can be really hard to make work, but the good will created by my Headteacher thinking creatively, when he carved out a part time role for me, was enormously powerful. I’m sure it has a similar effect on others who want to stay in teaching but need flexibility to make it possible.
Here we’ve gathered a number experts who share the stats behind the problems and possible solutions to flexible working and retention in schools.
Huge thanks to Lucy Rose, Lindsay Patience (Flexible Teacher Talent), Emma Sheppard (MTPT Project), Vivienne Porritt and Parm Plummer (WomenEd).
I also want to say thank you to the three incredible women who make the We Are In Beta community possible: Frances Ling, Catherine Mulrenan and Fiona Flint. Thank you.
Thanks for reading.
@NiallAlcock and the We Are In Beta team.
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