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Is workload the reason why more teachers want flexible hours?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    A new survey has found that more staff want to work part-time but many fear that their requests will be rejected by school leaders:

    ‘One in six secondary school teachers would like to reduce their hours according to a report by the National Foundation for Educational Research.

    The NFER report, ‘Part-time Teaching and Flexible Working in Secondary Schools’, also found that one in 12 secondary teachers want to reduce their hours by more than one day a week.

    Researchers found that school leaders need to be more proactive in encouraging flexible working hours to improve staff retention.’


    Do you think the move to flexible working is being driven by the demands of keeping up with a heavy workload?

    Would you like to work part-time? Have you asked if you can work flexible hours? Was your request accepted or refused? How do you feel about the decision? Have you left the profession because you couldn’t reduce your hours? Should more schools allow teachers to work flexible hours?
    drek likes this.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It's why I went part time. It's why Mrs P went part time.
  3. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I'm in primary but I would guess workload in secondary is similar. Therefore, I'm inclined to say workload is probably the reason.
  4. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    Workload is the reason I went part-time.
  5. Sally006

    Sally006 Senior commenter

    I’m going part time in Sept after having had a terrible year with WRS. Yes, I have requested part time in order to cope. It is sad that we have to take a pay cut and lose out on our pensions but the job has become unsustainable as a full time occupation if you wish to preserve your health.
  6. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    There is in reality no such thing as a part time teacher because teachers do so much outside of the working day. The reality is that too many heads and deputies have it far easier coming and going as they choose. And many refusing to teach because they are too scared.
    stonerose, lardylegs, Lalad and 3 others like this.
  7. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    I really do not see how going part time reduces the workload.

    All it does is spread the same workload over days when you are not being paid.
    drek, catmother, corgie11 and 10 others like this.
  8. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    I will be asking for part-time when I return after maternity leave for two reasons.

    The main issue is that the workload is already unsustainable without a baby. With a baby, full-time teaching (at least in my school) will just be impossible.

    Childcare costs are also extortionate. If we put our baby in nursery 5 days a week, it would swallow most of my wage, leaving about £400-£500 a month depending on the nursery. There is no way in hell I am walking into a classroom and doing that job for £100 a week. I refuse to pay through the nose for other people to care for my child so that I can teach other people's children.

    I'm not sure how my request will be taken. I think they may find a reason to say no, in which case I will have to work full time for 3 months to keep the OMP and then leave.

    I think more part-time working should be available to make it a more flexible occupation. However, it concerns me that many people seem to want part-time in order to just have a normal full-time workload. It seems unfair that teachers should lose money.

    More part-time working isn't the only solution to this problem - workload as a whole needs to be very much addressed.
    drek, 01ade, Happygopolitely and 4 others like this.
  9. violingirl

    violingirl New commenter

    Yes. Work load was my reason but seems to give SLT a reason to heap more on and you are always having to prove your worth.
  10. Lucilla90

    Lucilla90 Occasional commenter

    It is awful when having to consider dropping a day, just to have an extra day to do schoolwork at home so that the weekend can be free for friends, family and house jobs. I’ve been there.
  11. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    In my experience heads are not keen on changing a full-time teacher to part-time. They see it as more work for them, more hassle from staff and sadly put staff welfare last.
    drek, Sally006, lardylegs and 3 others like this.
  12. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    A part time salary is insufficient to support independent living if you're young.
    Mind you. so is a full time salary in many parts of this expensive country.
  13. jlmorgan100

    jlmorgan100 New commenter

    For me the biggest issue is the line in teachers pay and conditions that states, "such reasonable additional hours as may be necessary to enable the effective discharge of the teacher’s professional duties.". I am a secondary school teacher and I have 10% PPA time. But three 50 min sessions a week is nowhere near enough time for me to do all that I need to do. I have been teaching for 23 years and have a plethora of resources, but even then I find myself working more than I would consider 'reasonable'; a 40 hour week. I can do this as I have few commitments outside of school, but this is not the case for everyone.
    I would imagine that there are a number of teachers, I have known a few, who do choose to go part time in order to "effectively discharge their duties" but this should not be the case.
    However, as much as I would like to see more flexible hours in teaching, in my experience it is very difficult to accommodate effectively in a secondary school. For me there seems to be a critical number of part-time staff that can be accommodated in a single school, without teaching and learning being compromised. I think that there needs to be some sort review of how schools can change their working practices to better accommodate staff who want more flexible hours. Without this the teacher retention problems are further exacerbated.
  14. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    One of the perks of being a Head is that you don't teach. (Unless in a tiny school).
    Happygopolitely and BetterNow like this.
  15. bajan

    bajan Occasional commenter

    I am inclined to think part time teachers work full time for part time pay.
  16. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Pffft. This reminds me of my first long term relationship when I started to feel it was just wrong for me. My opt out in the first instance was saying "I think we should see less of each other".
    So what's the real issue there?

    There is no such thing as flexible hours as a resolution to workload issues. The workload entails all encompassing nonsense that does not reduce just because you reduce your contact hours. Nobody tells you "ah, you got that email on your day off, so obviously you'll have a bit longer to do that". Nobody tells you "that issue with that child arose on your day off, so you don't have to drop your prep on your next day in so you can phone the parent". Nobody tells you "well you were not in for that meeting so I don't expect you to read and act on the minutes, the thorough process of which will actually take you longer than the meeting itself". Nobody tells you "well, your job share failed to spot the work you left despite the full hour you put into writing it up, but it's ok, we wouldn't dream of asking for three weekly advance plans for this reason.
    Part time teaching is a game of catch up and worry about what you've missed in addition to everything else in real time, and although the physicality of fewer contact hours is reduced, which is "nice", you still have to work enshrouded in a question mark of vulnerability that you have missed something and will be ruthlessly and thoughtlessly chased for it.
    Flexible hours in teaching are not truly flexible at all-you are diminished in pay, pension and presence, and yet continually scapegoated for the short comings of others.
    And on your day "off" you'll find that daytime TV is actually pretty sh%%t.
    drek likes this.
  17. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    I'm going part time in sept so I have 1.5 days working on my business in the hope of escaping teaching!
  18. Sally006

    Sally006 Senior commenter

    I totally agree. Schools are going to have to make a radical shift to accommodate part time or they simply will not get enough staff. As I’ve already said earlier in the thread, it is tragic that staff take a pay and pension cut to survive. The job as it is at present is unsustainable in that it will be detrimental to your health. Either workload and accountability changes radically or they have to accept part time staff. Personally, I’ve made the shift to part time and I’m looking to alternative ways of supplementing my income.
  19. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    My main issues are things like doctors, dentist, hospital appointments and family events that I frequently miss out on due to my inflexible calendar.

    I can’t afford to be part time but it would make my life easier. I was once advised by my HOD after I had attended an uncles funeral that I shouldn’t have gone because he wasn’t immediate family. Bull like this makes me hate teaching. I constantly feel like I’m missing out on my life because I have to be at work.
  20. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Occasional commenter

    That's just the sort of harsh, uncaring attitude all too common in schools today.
    agathamorse likes this.

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