We are Lucy Rose and Lindsay Patience; Teach First Ambassadors, teachers, previous school leaders and mothers who met at the Teach First Innnovation Series. We are passionate about usualising flexible working in schools in order to retain effective teachers and leaders. In 2019, we were shortlisted as one of 10 finalists from 278 applicants for a Stephen Lloyd Award which has allowed us to continue our work. Flexible Teacher Talent has the potential to be part of the solution to solving the teacher retention ‘crisis’. We now work part-time as teachers in London secondary schools and run Flexible Teacher Talent.
In 2022 we published our book, Flex Education - A guide for flexible working in schools. In 2023, we successfully bid to deliver the DfE's Flexible Working in MATs and Schools Programme.
Take a look at our infographic which explains our 'why'. Women aged 30-39 are the biggest group leaving the teaching profession after retirees. Many return to teaching at a lower level than their experience or do not return at all. Our survey of teachers demonstrated that almost without exception women have requested to work flexibly to have more time with their children and yet, almost 100% of flexible working requests at leadership level are still being denied. In a profession which is predominantly female, this issue disproportionately affects women and their career progression. Haemorrhaging this pool of talented female teachers is an incredible waste so we’re focusing our support on them to begin with. However, as flexible working has the potential to benefit the entire workforce, we really hope it will catch on.
The pilot took place in a deliberately small geographical area. Supported by the Teach First Innovation Series and in collaboration with the MTPTproject, we researched and trialled solutions for both sides of the problem. This has enabled us to create a series of tangible steps which both schools and teachers can take to help normalise flexible working. Outside of education some sectors have experienced up to 80% increase in productivity. If you translate ‘productivity’ in to pupil outcomes, the potential is huge.