Kerry Jordan-Daus @kerryjordandaus
On Friday 19th January 2018 Kylie Minogue released her new single and Jacinda Adern announced she was pregnant. This these two seemingly unconnected news items got me thinking. Kylie talking about her career on the Chris Evans breakfast show – how lucky she’s been. Jacinda Ardern also talking about being lucky.
Kylie once sang, I should be so lucky, lucky …… Jacinda used these words, because her partner is going to look after their baby so she can continue her career as Prime Minister of New Zealand, “I am so lucky” she said!
https://cdn.lkmco.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/The-Talent-Challenge.pdf This report gave a set of recommendations to address our recruitment and retention in the Teaching Profession. Funnily enough, luck is not one of the recommendations.
Can we really build a workforce on luck? I am talking about the many women who aren’t “lucky enough” to be able to return to work after pregnancy because of no childcare options, no flexibility, no reasonable adjustment. The report does talk about tapping into talent pools. I want to talk about strategy not luck, about tapping into pools of talent. This was the focus of three separate conversations I had last week.
Last week I found myself stating the obvious, well obvious to me. You have this superb Head of Department who is going on maternity leave. She wants to return on a part time contract. You’d be silly or “worse” not to put in place the arrangements to enable this to happen I think!
But, I heard, “this very hard to timetable?” Harder still to timetable with no one? Will this Head of Department be “so lucky” that her Headteacher embraces flexibility and recognises the career trajectory of women who choose to have children needs to be managed carefully to retain this talent.
Last week I found myself stating the obvious, well obvious to me. In setting up a new nursery, by choosing to make it 0-4, 52 week’s a year provision, we are maximising opportunities for women to have high quality childcare and continue their careers.
Problematically, the financial modelling, it was suggested, would make higher returns by having 2-4 years provision, term time only. Will the Headteacher factor into the financial modelling the huge cost of loosing women because there isn’t any high quality childcare and thus they have to leave their job? “Luckily” they saw that by having such provision on site could be a real pull for recruiting and retention of both existing and future staff.
Last week I found myself stating the obvious, well obvious to me. The pattern of meetings for the Senior Leadership in the school make it virtually impossible for those with childcare responsibilities to be members of SLT. Now I wasn’t lucky, my partner worked in London and couldn’t share nursery drop off or pickups. I was “lucky”, my Headteacher agreed to move timings of SLT to enable me to attend and get to nursery before it closed! In the context of a “reducing workload” debate we need to ask how many of our meetings are really necessary but also how can we ensure that our meetings accommodate other commitments, ie collecting children from nursery? We also need to challenge workplace structures, cultures and behaviours which view such adjustments as questioning our commitment, capacity or capabilities, or being lucky.
My point here is should we have a Recruitment and Retention Strategy built upon luck? I find myself stating the obvious, well the obvious to me. Recognition of the needs of parents, mostly women/mothers, but not exclusively, fathers/ dads too, will enable us to tap into a pool of talent. For every reason, this is critically important but as we stare a significant teacher recruitment crisis in the face. Maybe we will see flexible working embedded as part of a Staffing Strategy built on the obvious rather than luck. Flexible working isn’t a “added extra” but an essential, that I don’t have to be superwoman, juggling meetings and multi tasking, to ensure my career and my kids don’t suffer. I should be so lucky ….
Kerry Jordan-Daus @kerryjordandaus WomenEd Kent Regional Lead
Join us on 10th March 2018 at our Kent Lead Meet to discuss more.