The TES has launched a part-time jobs hub, supporting the initiative with some of their own research findings, which show that 77% of teachers who have left the profession would consider returning to teaching, but only for part-time or job share roles.
In case you're thinking that this is just another way of re-packaging a section of their existing service, the TES is also offering 50% off advertising for part time roles.
Their hope is that this will help address the looming/existing teacher shortages and certainly any increase in numbers of applicants for some roles and subject areas would help. But will schools want this as a solution? Some part time staff on the books certainly helps with timetabling - in fact it's essential, but job-shares aren't necessarily cost-effective. They can have real positive effect on staff morale, as part-time teachers (so say 77% of TES respondents) have a better work-life balance, but often the best way for a job-share to work is to have an overlap day, which increases salary costs. Schools won't be able to do this as much as they once could, especially if the economy takes a Brexit dive.
This probably largely explains TES' observation that "demand is outstripping supply of roles as schools look to overcome the hurdles of introducing more flexible working for teachers with 49% of full-time teachers believing that part-time roles are very rare in their local area".
Clearly job-shares can work, as Denise Burrell, Headteacher of Ridgewell CofE Primary School, said: “I have two part-time teachers on a job share. One of the teachers was full time, but couldn't cope with the workload and a young family. I found a good match; they share the role and meet on Wednesday afternoon to plan. Apart from a few teething problems mostly with the logistics of marking books, almost a year down the line, it is working well. I think we get a good deal. We have two enthusiastic, conscientious teachers who are well planned and organised.”
But, if you are thinking of a job-share, the new hub sounds like a great idea: a kind of dating agency for potential sharers. It's early days, and perhaps not the best time of year for jobs listings (though better for part-time than full), so I'm not surprised to find that my nearest opportunity is 40.9 miles away (coincidentally, at the last school I taught in - and I don't recommend the commute). It's also a shame that the service defaults to non-subject-specific jobs (they know where I am, so why not my subject?), but it's an idea with promise.
If I'm looking at this from a senior leader point of view, I'd hope that, if the service is successful, some of the less enthusiastic full-timers will move to part-time posts in other schools, leaving room for full-time NQTs.