Best Practice

Flexible working in schools: Three mini-case studies

Flexible working is recognised as one solution to the teacher recruitment and retention challenges we face. Laura McPhee considers three case studies of potential approaches
Flexible approaches: Teachers and support staff at St Paul’s Way School in east London have the opportunity to work flexibly in a number of ways, including increased PPA and working from home. Sabbaticals, career breaks and secondments are also encouraged (both images: St Paul’s Way School)

We are unfortunately all too familiar with the statistics around teacher recruitment and retention.

In its annual report into the state of the teacher labour market, the National Foundation for Educational Research found that 44% more teachers stated they intended to leave teaching in 2022/23 than the previous year (McLean et al, 2024).

The situation at secondary level is dire, but primary recruitment is also behind government targets.

The report acknowledges the challenges related to teacher pay and workload and recognises that remote and hybrid working remains more prevalent in the wider graduate labour market than in teaching.

It comes after a research review by the Education Endowment Foundation last year (Harland et al, 2023) recognised flexible working approaches that had potential to keep teachers at the chalkface – including 10 “enablers” that help schools to make a success of flexible working (you can see Headteacher Update’s coverage of this here).

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