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Education – Can you implement flexible working and save money?

Education - Can you implement flexible working and save money

Education - Can you implement flexible working and save money

The DfE has stated its commitment to promoting flexible working within schools as a potential solution to not only retaining teachers, but also encouraging previous teachers back into the profession.

The DfE’s examines evidence of flexible working practices in its recent report, “Exploring flexible working practice in schools” which was compiled from reviewing various literature sources from around the world.

The report gave good examples of how flexible working could be achieved within schools, which included:

  • Regular reviews of roles within the school, ensuring the needs of all types of stakeholder are being met (senior leaders, teachers, pupils and parents).
  • Continuous and consistent communication between leadership teams and staff.
  • Leadership teams trusting their staff to manage their time at school effectively, and teachers being given autonomy and control over their working day (e.g. choice to take PPA time at home or in school), can improve staff perceptions of the organisation (and potentially retention as a result).
  • Piloting approaches across a small team/group to identify what works well and where improvements could be made before rolling out to all staff can be informative. Reviewing impact and progress and gathering feedback from staff as systems progress is also valuable.
  • Willingness of those benefitting from flexible working patterns to also be flexible themselves can help maintain positive working relationships between colleagues. For example, they may return to school when needed for some meetings. However, this requires careful management to ensure part-time staff are not regularly and consistently working longer hours as a result.

The challenge for any senior leadership team is that if flexible working is a way to retain teaching staff, how can it be implemented effectively without affecting the students, timetabling or budget.

 

Having the right tools to implement flexible working

People are one element to flexible working, but technology play an important part and can be implemented Hosted phone solutions will allow

Connectivity – Having access to a powerful and fast internet connection is vital to the success of flexible working practices as this opens up the opportunities to hosted applications, freeing up your staff to work away from school premises.

Hosted Phone System – A good internet connection will then allow you to move away from your traditional ISDN phone system and enable you to install a hosted or VOIP phone system. Alongside the ability to make and take calls from anywhere as though you were in school, an upgrade to VOIP will also give you access to a powerful feature-rich phone solution which includes zero call billing.

Cloud Servers – The foundation of a robust internet connection really does make the world of difference. It means you no longer have to rely on storing data on local machines. A cloud-based server will allow you to manage files and data securely from any location.

Collaboration – The ability to have a shared virtual workspace to chat, confer, share files and make decisions can ensure staff are still involved/engaged with decisions and projects even though they may be working away from the school. Tools such as Microsoft Team are really changing the way organisations work whilst fulfilling security and compliance expectations.

Upgrade and save

Upgrading your internet and phone system may seem a costly exercise, but the evidence from the projects we implement with most of our education client shows that an upgrade is cost-neutral when you consider the on-going monthly savings.

We appreciate that upgrading your connectivity and phone system is a big job and we are here to help and support you every step of the way. We provide a free review to audit your current situation and talk you through the options to making your school more agile in its working practices.

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Sources:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/719772/SWFC_MainText.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/773794/Exploring_flexible_working_practice_in_schools.pdf

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