Find out why teachers and school leaders love PlanBee
Find out why teachers and school leaders love PlanBee
Over the past 18 months, the working environment has changed for so many professionals. Roles that were previously bound to the office have now moved towards a more ‘hybrid’ way of working, where employees are able to work both in the office and from home.
This change in attitude towards flexible working has had a positive impact on the work-life balance of so many...but what about teachers?
For many professionals worldwide, the pandemic has flipped the once traditional office-based role on its head. Where once, employees were expected to be tied to their desks five days a week, there has been a sudden surge of flexible, ‘hybrid’ and home-based working roles.
Some employers have been forced to adapt amid the pandemic since being told to ‘work from home where possible’. Some of these changes include:
Not only have some employers made these changes permanent, but employees have come to expect flexible working arrangements as part of their job roles.
Teachers were no different during the pandemic. They took the classroom home and adapted to make sure children still received the best education possible from the comfort of their kitchen table – and of course, some teachers still went to work each day to teach key worker children. So how did teachers adapt?
As teachers ourselves, we know that children learn best in the classroom alongside their peers...so of course, some flexible working arrangements are just not practical for schools. But, can it be improved?
We asked our Instagram followers a range of questions about how they felt about flexibility in schools and whether the pandemic has had an impact in comparison to other professions. Over 300 teachers took part in our survey, with 40% of them having children themselves.
With summer holidays and short working days, teaching must be a flexible profession, right? Most teachers would say they have heard this said before, so let’s officially set the record straight: the average teacher works between 10-11 hours per day with many spending a proportion of their time off planning and preparing for the next academic year.
Many would be surprised to hear that 60% of teachers we asked said that they don’t believe teaching is a flexible profession, with only 6.9% saying it is.
For many professionals, the pandemic has caused a shift in attitude towards the infamous work-life balance - but what about for teachers?
Over 80% of teachers agreed that the pandemic had not had a positive impact on the work-life balance of teachers, with some even commenting that it has made pressures and expectations worse. Some teachers commented:
“Nothing has changed except expectations have increased due to so much lost learning.”
“Because of lockdown, they had put on extra pressure on us to close the gaps - which meant working longer hours.”
“Higher expectations from school and dealing with mental health issues of parents and children.”
“It might happen in the future when the pressure of ‘catch up’ isn’t there.”
It’s with no surprise that 90% of teachers felt that flexibility in schools could be improved, with many offering up suggestions on how to achieve this. These included:
It seems that many professions have had a work-life balance revolution since the start of the pandemic. In contrast, teaching seems to have been left behind. With a major union survey reporting one in three teachers plan to leave the profession within five years, it’s more important than ever to listen to teachers and consider moving with the times.
We spoke to Emma Turner, DfE flexible working ambassador and author of ‘Let’s talk about flex’ about the importance of flexible working for teachers.
“Flexible working is not necessarily the silver bullet for recruitment and retention but it is an as yet much unexplored avenue in many parts of the sector. The automatic association of flex with part time, and the lack of representation of flexible working practices and examples at the most senior levels in education show that there is much scope for developing approaches to flex for all workers in all roles. Flexible working encourages and enables many more colleagues to remain and develop within the profession who may otherwise have left due to caring or parenting commitments...The pandemic has shown us that we can work differently and be agile and innovative in our working practices.”
Flexibility in teaching is even more important for those who are parents themselves. Female teachers during Covid have had to adapt in order to continue their duty to their class but also continue to parent and support their own children.
It is no secret that the majority of teachers are women, making up over 75% of the teaching workforce. Flexible working requests often coincide with women having children. One teacher we spoke to commented:
“On returning from maternity leave, I fully expected for my flexible working request to be declined as previously my headteacher had told me that he was running out of part time posts...It feels like school is run like a business rather than prioritising the wellbeing of children and staff.”
These findings show that, in order to retain hard working teachers, attitudes towards flexible working needs to change.
“Now is the time to build on the momentum, skills and knowledge around flexible working and ensure it becomes an integral part of our recruitment, retention and staff development strategies.” Emma Turner - Author of ‘Let’s talk about flex’
Find your region’s flexible working ambassador here.
Interested in hearing more from Emma Turner? Check out her book ‘Let’s talk about flex'.
I would really like this in GoogleSlides format as it downloads in PDF - great slides and differentiated resources but tricky to present.
Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review, Jess. We use PDFs for our resources to ensure that everyone can access them, no matter what version of software they have. We have sent you an email with further details on some free PDF readers and editors - we hope this helps! If we can assist you any further, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Lexie!
Exactly what I needed, would have been better to be able too edit it so I could type the term on but other than that looks lovely in their books
We're so pleased to hear that, Chloe!
Excellent science resources as usual: Well explained, resourced and as always a practical activity to engaged and help the children learn. I love Plan Bee science. Clear and always manageable. brilliant.
Thank you for your kind comments, Elinor! We're so pleased that you have found our resources helpful :-)
Helpful planning for mixed year groups with engaging activities.
Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review, Raydene!