Sustaining flexible working arrangements is a growing priority for headteachers

Written by: Neil Hutchinson | Business Development Director | Everything Voice Ltd

0330 055 3570 | twitter: @everythingvoice

According to Policy Exchange, schools in England should embrace flexible working which has also been backed up by the National Union of Teachers.

The idea behind a strategy for flexible working is to bring many more teachers back into the profession by giving both new and existing teaching staff a much better work-life balance.

Flexible working could bring thousands of teachers back into the profession, argues the Policy Exchange paper.

Jonathan Simons, Head of Education at Policy Exchage says “Schools and the government need to recognise the need for flexibility, and that flexible working means more than just working part time”, he said, “Our education system needs to embrace a new way of working, if it doesn’t, schools are going to continue to struggle to attract and retain the best talent”

In the same paper it was argued quite convincingly that flexible working could also boost the number of women teachers reaching leadership roles. Currently 62% of secondary teachers are female but only 36% are in head teacher roles.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said that many teachers were seeking part time work in an attempt to balance “unsustainable workload with family responsibilities”.

Some of the suggestions included:

  • Offering shared teaching arrangements where days and responsibilities are split or shared across a working week
  • Providing flexibility for workplace when planning and other non-teaching responsibilities are being fulfilled
  • A new sabbatical structure allowing staff to move in and out of the workplace as their family demands vary
  • Giving priority to creating workplace childcare and offering places to returning teachers

The overall strategy deployed will ultimately consist of many different parts, all of which would take time to implement although there are clearly some technologies which would contribute to laying the foundation for a far more flexible workforce. These technologies should be considered as part of the school’s overall IT strategy and before investing in new IT or telephone systems.

As a specialist provider of telephony, connectivity and unified communications solutions, Everything Voice has worked with Schools and Academies of all sizes to help them maximise the efficiency and performance of their workforce through implementing more up to date and often less expensive communications systems.

With flexible working being placed high on the agenda for any workplace who wants to attract and retain the best talent, technologies are advancing to meet these needs and are proving to encourage a far more productive and happy team of people. Everything Voice are specialists in Unify technology – one of the world’s leading providers of communications platforms which allow employees at all levels stay in contact, share information, carry out virtual meetings, and access all forms of communication through a single interface including telephone, messaging, e-mail, video conferencing, screen-sharing and more.

These types of technology are new to the Education sector but will drive quality of learning upwards, offering staff a more flexible and sustainable work-life balance, whilst also providing new and innovative ways of teaching which will help students improve results and their experience at school.

For more information on collaboration and unified communications platforms which have been built to support the changing needs of Schools and Academies, and will help headteachers continuously improve the quality of learning in their school, contact Education specialists, Everything Voice who will gladly help or provide advice as to how you take your communications strategy forward:

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