Embracing flexible working at secondary level

With record numbers of teachers quitting the chalkface, embracing flexible working practices is no longer a choice for secondary schools. Neil Renton discusses how his own mindset has evolved
Image: Adobe Stock

It is 3:30pm and the bell has rung. Like many headteachers across the land, I stand outside the school gate, watching the students set off on their journey home.

Something catches my attention, not a student but a teacher – leaving just after the bell. The learned prejudice kicks in without thinking, as quickly as the students take out their mobile phones at the end of the school day, and I judge.

Why are they leaving? How can they have done all their marking, planning, reports, and contacted parents? Why are they so “uncommitted”?


Changing our mindsets

The process of becoming a headteacher is an interesting one. It takes around 15 to 20 years and in a school like the one I lead, a large comprehensive school in the North of England, there have only been nine headteachers in its 120-year history – rich pickings for values and cultural ideas to be passed on from generation to generation.

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