Women aged 30-39 are the biggest group leaving the teaching profession after retirees each year. Many return to teaching at a lower level than their experience or do not return at all – the profession is haemorrhaging talent and pupils are missing out on effective teaching because flexible working is not commonplace.
How can we help schools to normalise flexible working so that they retain effective teachers and, ultimately, improve pupil outcomes?
Our pilot supported by the Teach First Innovation Series aims to discover which side of the equation needs more support by holding events aimed to support teachers returning to work and busting myths about flexible working for school leaders and governors.
The pilot is taking place in a deliberately small geographical area but, having heard about the pilot at the Chartered College of Teaching Annual Conference and the WomenEd Unconference, we already have interest expressed from larger organisaitons. Challenge Partners, Teaching Schools SE and the Gender Equality Charter have requested that we share our findings with their groups of schools in the next phase.
We are Lucy Rose and Lindsay Patience; Teach First Ambassadors, School Leaders and mothers who met at the Teach First Innnovation Series because we are passionate about changing perception towards flexible working in schools to retain effective teachers and leaders from the profession. Work on the initial pilot has been voluntary. The opportunity to move on to the next phase and share our ideas with a wider group of schools has the potential to be part of the solution to solving the teacher retention ‘crisis’.