Teachers could go part time with ‘job share Match.com’

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Teachers could be assisted into job shares with a matchmaking-style service in a move hoped to stem experienced staff deserting the profession, the Education Secretary has said.

Damian Hinds said flexible working practises must be encouraged and likened one proposal to find a partner to split a role with as a “job share Match.com”.

Hinds, speaking to The Guardian ahead of the launch a teacher recruitment and retention strategy next week, is hoping to thwart what a recent report condemned as a “chronic” issue with staff retention.

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While acknowledging there is no single reason for the issue, he said he believes part of it is cultural, with a lower proportion of teachers working part-time than the rest of the population.

Mr Hinds said: “I want us to be thinking about it throughout the system. If people (are) talking about their careers and whether they are able to stay, or when maternity comes along, it’s really important that everyone is doing as much as they can to facilitate flexibility.”

He continued: “What we are keen to do is to find a way for people who don’t have a background together to find a partner to apply for a job with, hence the Match.com terminology.”

Data from an National Association of Headteachers survey suggests that 77% of its school leaders found recruitment a struggle last year.

Some 75% said a better work-life balance would ease the issue.

A report published by the National Foundation for Educational Research suggested the number of teachers leaving the profession has been increasing over the past decade.

Josh Hillman, education director at the Nuffield Foundation, which funded the research, said it confirmed “that there are chronic problems in the recruitment and retention of teachers”.