Teachers to have one day off a fortnight as school head explains why

The head of a local school where teachers will be given a day off every fortnight has explained his radical decision. St Peter’s Catholic School is set to be the first in the West Midlands to trial the change.

Its headteacher and former pupil Stuart Shelton has spoken about why he took the move – to keep current staff and attract new talent to the Solihull school, reports BirminghamLive. But he said that it will not come at the expense of pupils as a tightly organised rota will mean there will be no reduction in teaching levels in the classroom.

“That is almost nine percent of the workforce and it doesn’t include those teachers retiring. It used to not be a problem in subjects like PE.

“We are an outstanding school and we have had no applications for jobs. Solihull is a fairly competitive market. Imagine what it’s like for inner city schools in Birmingham. I had to think of a different way to attract staff to the school and retain our staff. We’ve had a massive push on staff wellbeing.” He added that teachers have not benefited from the flexibility post Covid as many now either work from home or have a mixture of both.

Mr Shelton, who took over last year after working for years in Qatar as a headteacher, explained the extra day off will give teachers time back with family and friends as many often dedicate their Sunday evenings to marking and planning for the week. He said: “If you are working from home you do have some flexibility. I have had teachers come to me and say they are leaving [to do] a job with the local authority [so] they can manage their own time.

“Teachers used to stay in the profession for 30 years.” Staff were told just before the Easter and it has been received well. “Morale was good at the end of term when I announced it. It was completely brand new information to them. They were shocked, taken aback, surprised,” he explained. But he said that, to make the scheme work, teachers must commit to having the same day off each fortnight.

The scheme is only open to full-time teaching staff, but he said he is looking at the possibility of amending it to include senior leadership team. “I may do a trial for them working from home.”

Word about the trial has spread across the country with other schools keen to find out more. “Lots of trusts have come up to ask how we have gone about it,” he said.

“My hope is that this will make people think about not leaving and I have noticed that there are less people thinking about leaving.”