Opening up the conversation around flexible working in education, this book explores what can work, what has worked, and what could work. Based on the experiences of a professional flex-pert this narrative encourages teachers and school leaders to revisit and rethink flexible working
‘This is a groundbreaking book and an exceptionally good read. Emma has a gift for a musical metaphor, stretched to provide remarkable insights into the possibilities and many of the barriers to flexible working. If any other sector was haemorrhaging highly trained and capable staff with such rapidity, then there would be serious questions asked. Emma poses these questions and provides a range of sensible solutions. We need to stop paying lip service to teacher retention, start taking it seriously and this book points to the way to take solid steps to get there.’
Mary Myatt, education adviser, speaker and author
Let’s Talk About Flex by Emma Turner is an engaging and witty book that invites school leaders and teachers to re-examine flexible working. After being able to work flexibly for 14 of her 23 years in education across teaching, school leadership and MAT leadership roles, Emma Turner realised that sadly, she was actually in the minority and has just been very fortunate. Recently there has been a groundswell of support across the education system for developing more life friendly, innovative and flexible ways of working, however there are still a great deal of misconceptions, biases and prejudices about flexible working and flexible workers.
Through her ‘playlist’ of favourites and engaging, humorous musical analogies, Emma explores the countdown of successful ways that flexible working can be viewed by both employers and employees for staff at all levels, including senior and school leadership. This book examines the options and opportunities and asks the questions that need to be answered in order to open up the flexible working conversation.
After introducing the reader to her ‘disco in the kitchen’, and the thoughts behind her selection of educational floor fillers, the conversation turns to thinking about:
- What flexible working means
- Challenging historical working practices, allowing a more flexible approach that encourages continuous professional development that helps attract and retain teachers
- Looking into the types of flexible working defined by the Department of Education: part-time working, job-sharing, compressed hours, staggered hours, working from home and what these options have to offer when combined with some innovative thinking about staffing
- Providing opportunity for staff to request flexible working and its position within the school staffing structure
- How flexibility fits with performance management, mentoring, coaching, facilitating and staff training and ensuring equitable opportunities to both full time and flexible workers
- The ‘famous five’ common myths about why flexible working would be impossible to implement: opposition from parents, schools need one leader, complications with contracts and calculating wages, the school timetable, there are already too many part-time staff, each of these are thoughtfully debunked
- The logistics: building shared expectations and designing systems for communication, events and meetings to ensure continuity for students and staff
- Co-leadership structures and how they are built
- Accountability and mechanisms for job-shares and support for lone workers.
Each chapter is full of examples of Emma’s first hand experiences as a teacher and a leader, illustrating the issues being discussed and ending with guiding questions for both employers and flexible workers to help continue the discussion.
Commenting on her new book, Emma Turner said, ‘Whether you’re an individual wanting to know more about flexibility, an organisation wanting to shake up the way you flex in your own workplaces or you’re someone determined to take on rigid or outdated systems in your own organisations, then I want to let you know you are not on your own. There is so much happening on the flexi dance floor right now so pull on your dancing shoes, turn up the volume and whack on an edu floor-filler.’
To learn more or order a copy of Let’s Talk About Flex (priced at just £12), please click here.