Job-Sharing Campaign Targets Teachers

Article excerpt

Byline: JOANNE ATKINSON

RETIRED teachers are to be persuaded to return to the classroom part-time in an attempt to avert a teacher shortage. The National Union of Teachers is spearheading a new campaign to get former teachers back into the profession through job-sharing.

Out of 36,000 teachers registered with the General Teaching Council in Wales only 27,000 are in post - and the union, backed by Education Minister Jane Davidson, believes that job-sharing is the way forward to improve recruitment and retention of teachers in Wales.

Gethin Lewis, secretary of NUT Cymru, said it is a perfect system to encourage teachers who do not want to continue working full time not to leave the profession entirely.

``When you think about the recruitment and retention problems in the world of education we need to ensure that there is flexibility of employment for teachers.

``Many teachers can't do a full-time job because of family caring responsibilities - either for children or for older relatives.

``The combination of part-time work with career prospects allows teachers to remain in the service, develop their career and allows schools and pupils to receive education from skilled teachers.''

Both primary and secondary schools should consider job-sharing as an option for teachers unable to continue working full-time.

``We want all schools to consider job-sharing opportunities as a solution. Once a governing body or school adopts job-sharing then it usually becomes very successful - the hurdle often comes in persuading them to try it out in the first place. ``There is the perception that parents or children will not like it - but two teachers working with the same group of children bring different skills to bear, which allows the pupils a greater depth of exper-ience.'' ``I think in the long run it is cheaper too, as working part-time reduces teacher stress, tension and allows them to be fresh, energetic and less likely to succumb to illness. Job sharing is a more flexible way of improving the morale of teachers, and avoids losing the investment that has been made in training and developing a teacher. …