Primary School teacher requesting 4 day week after maternity leave

(10 Posts)
Bayliss1 Tue 20-Dec-11 15:15:23

As the title suggests, I am currently on maternity leave from a Primary teaching post. I have drafted my letter for governors requesting going part-time when I return to work. This is the letter:

I'm currently on maternity leave from my primary teaching post and need to write my letter to the governors requesting reducing my contract to 4 days. I have drafted my letter but wanted opinions on the wording as I want to get it right and not be refused!!! What do you think? 

Dear Governors
I am writing to formally request that you consider my request to return to work from my maternity leave on a part-time basis, working 4 days each week. I plan to return to work on XXXXXX following 1 years maternity leave.

For nearly XX years now I have enjoyed being part of the XXXXXXX school team, working hard to contribute to the improvement of teaching and learning. Now that I am a mother, I feel that in order to give of my best to both my 'jobs,' returning to work part-time (4 days per week) would enable me to continue to work hard to raise standards within year X whilst fulfilling my role as a mother, therefore giving me a more balanced work/family balance. 

I would like to request that my working week be Tuesday to Friday, for a number of reasons. 

Firstly, I feel that these days would enable my teaching to have a more consitent flow. Friday is an important day for assessing children's     learning and I would be the main teacher so would need to be aware of the next steps necessary in teaching for my planning. I would give time in order to communicate with my partner teacher, ensuring the children's learning is taken to the next step. 

Secondly, childcare issues are a factor for me. Monday is the day I would need to be home for my daughter in order to fulfil my family commitments.

I appreciate that accommodating my request has implications for staffing. However, my request for my working week to be Tuesday to Friday would mean a flow in teaching and the children would soon adapt. Communication between myself and my partner teacher would be very important ensuring the children's progress.

I am a proud member of the dedicated XXXX team and hope that I can continue to count myself as part of this large family.

Any suggestions for improvements??

smelleemellee Tue 20-Dec-11 23:19:38

your letter looks good to me, you shouldn't worry too much about them rejecting your proposal as they can't refuse you going part time, i used to work full time and only went back to school 2 + 1/2 days and my school was fine with that (tbh it seems like 1/2 the staff are part-time so my head couldn't say no!)

MerylStrop Tue 20-Dec-11 23:22:42

How easy is it for them to recruit staff - or rejig existing staff to provide cover for one day per week? Does it make it a lot harder for them if you specify the day?

clutteredup Tue 20-Dec-11 23:29:18

They may say you have to do 3 days rather than 4 as Meryl said its harder to recruit one day, though at the moment most jobs have loads of applicants ans someone may be just glad to have a one day a week job - good luck.

callmemrs Wed 21-Dec-11 10:51:34

Agree that 3 days is often easier to cover than 4. I am not in education but I know from experience that when staff have requested 4 days we have usually ended up offering 3. It's far easier to recruit someone for 2 days to make up the full time hours rather than 1 day, because 1 day has all the disadvantages of being committed to a regular work day without the advantages of feeling part of the workplace and earning a decent income.

The other thing I would leave out is the request for Monday off. Childcare issues are not the concern of your employer. It may well be that tues to Friday works well for them too (and you clearly use the consistency factor as an issue here) - however overall it looks a bit like you just want Mondays off!

Again , from experience where I work, most of the successful applicants for flexible working are those who show flexibility in return. There are alarm bells when start saying they want certain days off (which in reality usually means childminder isn't available that day!) For example, the school may feel mon to thurs is better for the main teacher (parents are then dealing with the main teacher if things have occurred over the weekend).

Sorry if this sounds nit picky- the letter is fine overall and you are right to focus on the positives but I think you need to new childcare issues out of it.

Good luck

callmemrs Wed 21-Dec-11 10:52:43

That should be leave childcare issues out

catsareevil Wed 21-Dec-11 10:59:53

I would leave out the bit about childcare. It is obvious why you want to go part time, mentioning it the letter could make you look too much like you are mainly interested in doing what suits your personal life.

It isnt a given that you would be able to go part time, and asking for 3 days might be more likely to be approved bcause there is more chance then of the schoolbeing able to recruit to fill the unfilled time.

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Wed 21-Dec-11 11:00:10

Are there other job sharers in your school? This really helps when trying to arrange part weeks, as they often want to cut a day or get another day's work. I'm a job share - I have done 3 days and 4 days per week, and it's brilliant.
I've found that as a 3 day job share, you can really work as a team to share planning/evaluating/record keeping etc, but now I do 4 days the class is really 'mine' and the buck stops with me. (So its really 4 days in the classroom but pretty much 100% of management/admin). This will obviously vary from job share to job share, though.

Good luck!

bamboostalks Wed 21-Dec-11 11:03:51

I would contact your union and ask their advice and get rep to proof read letter
and advise. They have a lot of experience of this and are used to dealing with requests like this.

flowerytaleofNewYork Wed 21-Dec-11 12:42:33

by smelleemellee "you shouldn't worry too much about them rejecting your proposal as they can't refuse you going part time"

Sorry but that's incorrect. As long as they can provide business reasons they absolutely can refuse a request, so you should concentrate on making it as difficult to refuse as possible, anticipating any possible concerns they may have and providing solutions.

You haven't said where this 'partner teacher' is coming from OP. Are you expecting them to recruit a job share for you on one day a week? Your flexible working request should explain exactly how you intend your previously full time role to be covered.

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