More than three-quarters of teachers who have left the profession would return only if a part-time role were available, research suggests.
The survey of 1,200 teachers underlines the rising demand for part-time work and job-shares, with work-life balance cited as the main reason for teachers wanting flexible hours.
Responding to the poll, conducted by TES Global, the parent company of TES, 92 per cent of full-time teachers said that they were tempted by, or had already tried, to go part-time. And 77 per cent of former teachers said that they would return only for a part-time role.
Derek Boyle, teacher training coordinator at the Bromley Schools’ Collegiate, which has 24 people on its return-to-teaching course, said that the findings matched his experience.
“Quite a few of our returners are just looking for part-time roles. The vast majority of returners in our pool have had a break from their career for successive maternity leaves,” he added. “They have been out of the profession for six to 12 years. They want to come back to the profession but they have to work around their responsibilities.
“They have to look after their own children or their parents. They are looking to work in school three or four days a week and on the days when they are not working, they can plan or do marking. It means they can do the job without having to work every evening.”
But 49 per cent of full-time teachers responding to the survey said that part-time roles were very rare in their local area.
Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Headteachers are becoming more flexible in their approach to part-time teachers.
“From a primary school perspective – where a lot of work is class teaching and you can split the role so one teacher works part of the week and another teacher works the other part of the week – part-time teaching is reasonably straightforward to organise.
But he warned that it could be more difficult for secondaries. “Where youngsters are taught a subject on three separate days in the week, will the teacher be available on all of those days? It is not in any way insurmountable but it does require an element of flexibility on from both the teacher and the school.”
The latest government statistics show that 23 per cent of teachers worked part-time in November 2014, compared with 24.7 per cent in 2013. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 27 per cent of the overall UK workforce are part-time.