NGHS has been chosen to represent the West Midlands in the FWAS programme owing to our open and caring approach to flexible working. At NGHS around one third of staff are part time and yet outcomes for students are among the highest in the country. Staff absence rates are very low indeed and retention rates are high with a turnover of around 1-2 staff per year, usually retirements.
- Deputy Headteacher (35 applications)
- Teacher of Art (45 applications)
- Teacher of Drama (38 applications)
- Teacher of Maths (14 applications) - the last appointment in 2018 yielded 3 applications.
Many of these positions previously attracted 5-6 applications per post.
Below are a few case studies where NGHS has managed to offer flexible working to our employees.
Kathy (Senior Leader)
Kathy is a valued member of our senior leadership team. She contributes so much operationally to the school as well as focusing on attendance, data management and admissions. As a member of the support staff team, her role was considered for flexible working and working flexi-time means we know that the job will get done. She can prioritise administration work at home when necessary but is always on hand to support in school when required.
After starting a family, I returned to work four days a week to enable me to spend some time at home with my children. More recently, I have successfully requested to amend my working hours to work 34 hours over five days, allowing me to leave early on some days to pick my children up from school. As a working parent, it is important to me be able to enjoy this work/life balance and to be supported in adapting my working hours as the needs of my family change. Working part time has never impacted on my professional development within school and I have been able to take on new responsibilities that fit with my working pattern. I feel fortunate to have an employer who is flexible in their approach to part time working hours and who treat part time staff equally to their full time colleagues.
Alison (Middle Leader)
Family Life Balance
Alison joined NGHS in 2017 and is our sole music teacher. Her heavy extra-curricular and classroom teaching schedule was proving difficult for family reasons and she requested flexible working. We were delighted to assist.
When my contracted hours increased, I was concerned about the impact it would have upon collecting and taking my daughter to and from school. I was given the opportunity to reduce my contract to 0.95 in order for me to be there to collect her each week. This has really helped me maintain a level of balance in family and work life and has ensured that she doesn’t have to attend any additional after school provision. I feel fortunate that school has enabled me to do this as I recognise that my timetable has been tailored to my family’s needs.
Family Life Balance
Adele is an experienced Art teacher at NGHS. After having children, she wanted the flexibility to develop her career whilst also ensuring she was there for her young child. Despite holding a middle leader role, NGHS has facilitated this to ensure Adele can contribute to both aspects of her life.
Since being appointed in 2013 as Teacher of Art at NGHS, my career and the support which I have received at the school from colleagues and SLT has been fantastic. On my return to work from having my daughter in 2016, the Headteacher at the time was extremely supportive in accommodating my request for a part time contract of 3 days per week. I was delighted to be selected to complete a NPQML when I was working part-time, which worked extremely well in continuing my CPD.
When my daughter was a little older, I decided to apply for the SENDCo position which I was thrilled to secure. I was able to continue to build and grow my career. I continue to work part-time, as I finish work early 2 days per week so that I can collect my daughter from school. I feel that this allows me additional flexibility and a lovely balance as a working mother. I am currently studying for my NASENDCo award which has been funded by the school, which I complete in August 2021. I could not be more thrilled with how my career is progressing and the support and kindness which I have received from SLT at NGHS.
Karen (HR Manager)
Karen has worked at NGHS for over 20 years and her knowledge of the school was crucial to the Headteacher when he took up post in 2018. Having run the school office for many years, Karen took the decision to request flexible working after a period of unforeseen absence. It was crucial to the SLT that Karen remained in post. Her desire to work three days a week, but to be flexible (for example when interviews are being held on a day she doesn't normally work) made the situation work for the school and for Karen herself. This negotiation and flexibility was vital and it works for both parties.
Following a long period of absence from work due to illness, I realised that I wanted to reduce my hours when I returned, opting to work part-time. My employer was more than happy to accommodate this and I have benefitted from a much better work/life balance for me and my family. Being able to spend more time at home has helped me manage my home life with greater ease, but more importantly, supporting and spending more time with my family. Part-time hours have meant that I can work flexibly, changing my hours to accommodate my needs or the needs of the school. NGHS is a great place to work and I feel very fortunate to work for an employer who cares about its staff and values part-timers.
Setting own hours
Gemma is our latest recruit to NGHS. She applied for the role of Finance Officer in our busy school environment. Working both independently and as part of a team, she was able to direct her own workload to a part of the day that worked for her. She therefore starts early in the morning, can still liaise with staff in the middle of the day and finishes early afternoon, at her request.
As a new member of the NGHS team I was made aware of the schools ethos to accommodate flexible working and I feel extremely fortunate to have an employer who supports colleagues in this way. NGHS has enabled me to maintain family commitments and provide extra support to my youngest son while still pursuing a career I enjoy. I sincerely appreciate NGHS for this holistic style of working and the level of support its shows to staff through its flexible working approach.
Work Life Balance
Kerry is an outstanding mathematics teacher at NGHS. She approached the Headteacher with a request for flexible working. The pressure to find fantastic maths teachers is omnipresent and we certainly didn't want to lose her expertise, so managed to accommodate her request whilst still enabling her to positively impact students from Year 7 to Year 13 with her teaching. Careful timetabling meant any split classes were very minimal indeed.
This will be my third year of working part time at NGHS after the birth of my first child. When my personal circumstances changed, I approached the Head with a request to reduce my teaching days to help accommodate my young family and I have never looked back since. This time has allowed me to manage my work-life balance better and with a young family this has been invaluable. I was never concerned about having this request denied because there are a number of part-time employees in school who feel valued. In addition, even with my part time hours, the timetable has been arranged each year to allow me to teach across all three key stages. This has enabled me to build relationships with students throughout their school life, which is something I personally value highly.
Lisa (Union Rep)
Balancing NASUWT role
Lisa is our Lead Economics Teacher and holds the position of NASUWT Representative for the West Midlands. She took on this role in 2019 and sought a contract reduction. As the sole teacher of A-level Economics, we timetable her role over 3 days without impacting the timetable for other students.
I consider myself to be very fortunate to work at a school where part time work is accommodated and valued. I have had this arrangement for a number of years at NGHS, firstly due to the need to combine work and family commitments and later to facilitate my work with the NASUWT. The latter has enabled me to take time out from my regular school commitment to support members and schools across the whole of Telford and Wrekin who require the services of a trained union representative and caseworker. I feel I have gained personally from this unique arrangement as it has enriched my experience of work and has allowed me to form good relationships with our local schools where I can use my expertise effectively where it is required. I feel fully supported by NGHS and very respected as a part time employee.
Andy (Lead Teacher)
Andy applied for a chemistry teaching role at NGHS. An outstanding candidate among a strong field, he only wanted to work part-time. His experience spanning a quarter of a century as Head of Department made him a prime candidate for a school such as NGHS and we were delighted to have three days of his expertise over a candidate with less experience working full time. A few timetable tweaks later and Andy teaches across the whole of the upper school as well as organising our annual ski trip!
After over 25 years as Head of Department my thoughts had started to turn to plans for retirement. I was certainly ready to hand over some responsibilities as part of a phased retirement plan but quickly realised that my employer at the time was not willing to consider a reduction in working hours. I applied for a Chemistry post at NGHS which was advertised as full or part-time and, at interview, straight away knew that my desire to go part-time would not stand against me. I’m now in my second year of a 0.6 contract and the benefits have been considerable. I am now able to manage my planning, preparation and marking alongside my interests outside school and still have the time and energy to spend more time with my family. I am very lucky to work in a school where part-time workers are highly valued and appreciated.
Years of Service
Linda is one of our experienced German A-level teachers. She teaches German to almost every year group in the school and has often been a sole A-level teacher. She has inspired hundreds of students to follow a languages path and has led trips to Berlin for a number of years. Following a long career at NGHS, she requested flexible working to help bring up the next generation of her family.
For the last two years, after sixteen years full-time at NGHS and 35 years in total, I have been working 0.6 nicely spread across 3 days. I gain immense satisfaction from continuing to contribute to a job that I love, whilst additionally having time to devote to my grandchild and elderly parents. My new work/life balance is certainly allowing me to extend my potential teaching career, whilst still having energy in the classroom.