Astrea Academy Trust takes the lead on Flexible Working

27th June 2019

++ Libby Nicholas challenges sector to focus on -human flourishing The chief executive of a major academy trust in Sheffield has called for the education sector to become more flexible in its thinking about working patterns and attitudes.

Writing in the Times Educational Supplement, Libby Nicholas the Chief Executive of Astea Academy Trust, argues that schools need to flex to their people, rather than people flexing to the organisation. -If we are truly a profession that is about developing and nurturing people about human flourishing - why are we so bad at it when it comes to adults? Teachers are leaving the profession hand over fist and nothing seems to stem the flow. How did it get to this? -There is no easy answer pressure; workload; a focus on data rather than people. The reasons are too numerous to count, but one commonality is the fundamental question of how we care for each other. "How we recognise the humanity in the profession. How we properly acknowledge that we are mothers, we are fathers, we are daughters, sons, carers, grandchildren. We are the nose-wipers, we are the bed-changers, we are the family taxi-service, we are the shoulder to cry on and the arms that defend and comfort when things go wrong. We are human. -And yet, we seem to have forgotten that in education. With so many colleagues leaving the profession, we need to think again quite fundamentally about how we need to do things differently. -The bottom line is that we have to get better at finding ways to be more flexible and to honour home life. How many women are lost to our profession because the rigidity of our school structure? "The default of -this is how things have always been done just doesn't have any flex in it to recognise family life or other personal commitments. -We have to get better at this better at thinking about childcare, better at thinking about parental leave, better at thinking about compassionate leave, better at thinking about career breaks. And not only thinking, but then doing. Because it is only then that we will get the best of people - the best of them as professionals and the best of them as humans. Astrea Academy Trust was set up in January 2016 and is now a family of 27 academies. Astrea has 100% record in Ofsted inspections, with all schools that were previously failing demonstrably improving - often moving from 'Inadequate' to 'Good'. Astrea's academic results are equally impressive at Key Stage 2 the trust secured four times the national average improvement. Libby Nicholas continued -These outcomes have been hard-won. They have not been achieved -at any cost, which far too often means a human cost whether that is pupils or staff. "Our achievements are there because we are investing in human capital investing in our staff and our people, and in trying to walk the talk of an approach that is all about human flourishing our pupils and our staff.

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