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Impington Village College leads the way in flexible working for East of England and North-East London region

CTSN SCITT partnership school, Impington Village College, a non-selective secondary school on the outskirts of Cambridge, has been appointed as the Flexible Working Ambassador School (FWAS) in the East of England and North-East London region, joining seven other schools in England delivering the programme between April 2021 – December 2022.

Impington Village College has been selected to be a FWAS based on the strength of its policies, practices and culture that supports flexible working across its management, teaching and non-teaching positions. The College maximises flexibility for staff so that they can study, either as part of a Masters, NPQ or a degree, alongside their role; provide child and family care alongside other commitments; and maintain a work-life balance. Examples of flexible working at the College also include: job share and flexible working patterns, including start and finish times, and one paid family day a year.

Victoria Hearn, Principal at Impington Village College, said:

“We’re incredibly passionate about flexible working and have been proactive in ensuring that it is built into the working culture of Impington Village College. The impact of flexible working remains clear for our College – over the last three years, staff absence rates have significantly improved (two thirds less) and staff retention has been enhanced, with 70% fewer staff leaving. Our student community has also benefitted from increased staff productivity, leading to consistently high outcomes through broadening the curriculum and improving student experience.

“I am so proud that we have been given the status of a flexible working champion and I’m looking forward to sharing our best practices with schools across the region to improve retention rates and positively impact learning communities.”

As part of its ambassador role, Impington Village College will work to increase awareness of the different types of flexible working and provide practical support to help schools deploy their staff effectively and efficiently. Senior leadership team members and staff at the college will share their own learning and practical experience of flexible working through a mixture of events, direct support and other forums.

The Flexible Working Ambassador Programme will be led by Ryan Kelsall, Principal of Impington Village College 2016 – 2020 and now Deputy CEO of the Eastern Learning Alliance.

As a Flexible Working Ambassador School (FWAS) IVC is inviting schools within the East of England and North-East London region to express their interest in being one of the 20 schools that will be part of the project and supported by IVC. 

The benefits, objectives and commitments required of the project are: 

Benefits Seen from Flexible Working Policies:

  • Supports employee work-life balance
  • Raises morale
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Improves staff productivity, diversity and retention
  • Improves student outcomes and experience

 Objectives of the project are to:

  • Provide practical support to schools in implementing flexible working practices effectively.
  • Promote strategic approaches to flexible working in the region
  • Support participant schools to address challenges relating to the implementation of flexible working
  • Offer more flexible working opportunities
  • Embed a positive culture towards flexible working
  • Raise awareness of different types of flexible working

Aims are to:

  • Raise awareness about flexible working practices / opportunities in schools
  • Promote a supportive culture and strategic approach towards flexible working in schools, increasing the number of teachers and leaders feeling confident to request flexible working, and leaders feeling confident in approving it.
  • Decrease the number of teachers citing lack of flexible working as their reason for leaving the profession.
  • Improve the policies, practices and culture around flexible working, by providing peer support for school leaders looking to improve their provision.
  • Provide support networks, advice and guidance for teachers wishing to access flexible working opportunities.
  • Promote and raise awareness of DfE’s approach to flexible working and to increase the use of DfE’s support package by promoting DfE materials and

Time Frames & Commitment:

  1. Delivery activity will take place from May 2021 until December 2022.
  2. Participant schools will have three face to face half day meetings to provide personalised one to one support in implementing / improving a flexible working policy and whole school approaches to FW support during the 5-term programme period. Support to be provided to headteachers, deputy heads or senior leadership team.
  3. Participant schools will be asked to complete a ‘baseline’ and ‘follow up’ surveys (designed by DfE) to evaluate the programme.
  4. Participant schools and their staff will be expected to attend a minimum of 5 FW events or forums (all online) aiming to cover a range of FW topics and targeted at either FW approvers or requesters. Links to any recorded online events are to be hosted on the school website for people to continue to access following the live events.

If you are interested in joining the project please reply and complete the following few questions about your school and return to Sarah McGill at smcgill@tmet.org.uk  by Monday May 17th 2021.

  1. Name of Trust and / or schools you would like to join the Flexible Working project:
  • Name of main contact person for the project.
  • Do you feel that Flexible Working in your school/schools could be improved?
  • What area of Flexible Working would you like to see improved most in your school / schools?
  • Do you agree with all the commitments outlined above?
  • If you feel that your flexible working policy is good in your school, do you have any Best Practice Flexible Working Practices that you would be happy to share and talk about at a webinar?