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How to apply to go part time?

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by rapink, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. rapink

    rapink New commenter

    Hi, I had my baby at the beginning of March. I'm due back end of November if I go back at the end of paid leave or February if I take 12 months off.

    What is the deadline for me applying for part time? Also has anyone got any ideas as to what to write to apply? My school aren't keen on having people working part time unless it's permanent and I can't really afford to do that. Ideally I'd want temporary part time for two to three years. It's an SEN school so it doesn't really benefit the school, more myself for a work/ life balance so I'm not sure what to write. I think they aren't keen because of the inconsistency of having two different teachers and it costs them more as they have to employ two teachers on one day of the week. Obviously while my little one is small I want to spend as much time with him as possible.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    The flexible working regulations only allow you to apply for a permanent change to your hours. So if you want to go part-time, you have to accept that when you want to go full-time again you may have to apply for a new job. (You may get lucky - when it comes to it, it may work well for you to go full-time again in the same school, perhaps because someone else wants to cut hours at that point. However the school does not have to make any guarantees.)

    There isn't a set deadline for applying, but the employer has to give you a response within three months, so you need to factor in that potential delay, thinking about your plan B. If plan B is to quit altogether, you would need to know by October so that you can put in your resignation to leave wef Dec 31st, for instance. If plan B is to continue full-time, then when you need to know will depend on childcare arrangements and when you have to commit to them. For secondary schools, there's also a big advantage in applying before they sort out the next year's timetable; that probably doesn't apply as much in SEN.

    When you apply, you have to say what effect your proposed working arrangements would have on the school, and how those might be mitigated. This is your chance to offer potential solutions. For instance, if your maternity cover would be interested in staying on part-time, that would give continuity across the whole year, rather than an abrupt change when you return. Although the class would then have two teachers, maybe this would be the case anyway because of PPA; if so, employing the two class teachers for 1.1fte between them means still only two teachers, just with a different split. You may be able to point to potential benefits of having two teachers, if they have different specialisms or areas of expertise.

    The guidelines are at https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working.
  3. rapink

    rapink New commenter

    Thank you for the reply, is there no way of agreeing a period of time for how long you can go part time for e.g. two or three years? I know people at my work in the past have done part time temporarily.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    It can be done, but there is no right to request a temporary change in hours. I suspect it may be fairly common to agree a temporary change for the remainder of the current academic year, where that suits the school. If they know there's likely to be enough churn of staff (eg staff nearing retirement, or others likely to have a(nother) child), they might be willing to consider a longer temporary arrangement. The risk of agreeing to two/three years of part-time then a return to full-time is that they have to make sure they do have the hours ready for you to come back to. That might then put them in the position of only being able to offer a new appointee a temporary contract. They also have to bear in mind the not inconceivable possibility that you will go on to have a second child shortly after returning to full-time, which would mean they would gain very little from having kept those hours for you.

    I think there are good reasons why the legislation only requires employers to consider permanent changes. It's also the case that if you want to go from part-time to full-time, it's a lot easier to find a new full-time job than a part-time one, so there's not the same need to provide a route back.

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