Teachers are demanding reduced hours; can you realistically cope?

teachers demand reduced hours 840x504 1 | Teachers are demanding reduced hours; can you realistically cope?
By Toby Lester | 11th July 2019 | 8 min read

One in six secondary teachers wants to work reduced hours. One in 12 would like to do so by more than one day a week. That’s a staggering amount of the workforce.

These are facts that can’t be ignored. If these at-risk teachers are left to fend for themselves on their full work hours, it’s very likely that they will leave your school – or even teaching altogether.

The great teaching exodus

Teachers are leaving the profession at uncomfortable levels, overstressed or unhappy about their work-life balance. In fact, a recent report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has concluded that schools must do more for those teachers who want to reduce their hours.

Reduced teaching hours have long been touted as a possible solution for the teacher retention crisis. Fewer teachers work part-time hours when compared to an average profession, particularly in secondary schools. This can lead teachers to feel like their profession is entirely inflexible – which, in many ways, it is.

Damien Hinds has suggested that this may be a cultural issue – teachers simply don’t want to be left behind. However, were that true, the results of the recent NFER study would have told a very different story.

The stigma of reduced hours

The truth is, teachers are afraid of asking for reduced hours. Whether or not that fear is warranted, there’s an overbearing feeling that once you’ve broached the subject, everyone will assume that you lack commitment.

Besides, teachers may feel that in all likelihood, their school probably wouldn’t accept their request anyway – and who could blame them? Schools are being forced to cut more corners than ever before; it’s easy to see how teachers could feel that their personal life plays second fiddle to the needs of the school.

However, if schools want to hold on to their most talented staff and reduce their reliance on agency spending, it’s crucial to find a way to make this work.

The reality of reduced hours

However, the fact that so many teachers want to reduce their hours doesn’t reduce the burden this heaps onto school administrative teams.

Reduced hours means more staff to manage over a number of classes and working hours. Timetabling has always been a problem with reduced teaching hours; how do you cover all of the hours in the school day with a variety of contracted hours?

Robust, education-centric HR software can help schools to manage what would otherwise be a demanding task. PS People provides extensive reporting facilities, helping schools to plan ahead and ensure they have the staff they need to cover every lesson.

The payroll issue

Timetabling is already a huge part of the problem with managing reduced hours. This doesn’t need to then be further complicated by confusing payroll processes and outdated systems; however, with standard HR software, flexible or reduced hours are a nightmare to figure out, as there’s no way to enter non-standardised hours.

This is, thankfully, a task that can be overcome by choosing the right technology. PS People has been built from the ground up with the needs of the education sector in mind. You can add staff with non-standard working hours, making it easy to flexibly manage staff payroll.

If you’re looking for a lasting solution to payroll for reduced working hours, you can request a demo of PS People’s powerful school HR features. This is a great first step to taking control of perennial school staffing issues.