question for teachers and maternity leave


I'm a teacher in a secondary school and also a head of department.

I am also the main earner in our house (by quite a bit) and we need my income. I desperately want to spend time with baby and so am considering going back 4 days a week. However, this is only financially viable if I can keep my head of department position.

Just wondering if anyone else has done this/planning to do this and was able to keep their position?

I know I need to ask the head but just thought I'd see if anyone else had a similar experience.

Many thanks



  • I am in a very similar position, except I've decided to go back 5 days after all.

    My option was to job share with somebody else, so that I am manager the days I was in, and the other person is manager the days I was not. But I was looking at a 0.5 position - I'm not sure how it would work with a 0.8. Speak to your HR people.
  • I am also considering something similar, I am assistant head and looking to go back 4 days a week. I haven't talked about this with my Head and probably won't till I am actually off on maternity leave. As far as I know if you put in a request to go part time/drop hours they have to consider it and with laws for flexible working for parents, have to come up with a pretty good reason why not.
    That is my understanding. Be good to hear from others who have done this.

  • I have done this with my first baby. I am FS/KS1 manager in a two form entry primary school and after having my DD in 2008 I went back 4 days a week. I have every Wednesday off. I am due to start maternity leave with my second child in November. I wrote it in my letter I wanted a Wednesday so they couldn't mess me about with what day I didn't work later on, I get my work done fine, but I do find I am still expected to do the same (if not more) than the other members of the SLT who work 5 days (but I think this is just the expectation of our head and deputy other schools may be different!)

    I hope this helps.

  • I'm a primary teacher and at my last school our assistant head worked 4 days when she came back from maternity and kept all the same responsibilities - I think it's down to your head and governors to decide!
  • I'm a head of year, SMT in a primary school. After having DD1 I was considering going back to work pt (3 days a week) but was told I would not be able to keep my tlr if i did that. Think that was just my school though as they argue that job shares causes disruption to the children's education as it is not consistent. In the end I went back ft and my husband took a part time job. Think it all depends on the opinions of the head and governors in each individual school x
  • Thank you for your replies CHL, Sarah and jellyfishpink, it is interesting to get other people's views.
    I am hoping for a Wednesday too as Hubs works from home on a Friday, also quite like the idea of a midweek break! Although I am assistant head, 99% of time I am the class teacher so am hoping my Govs and Head will be fine with it, also with PPA time it will mean that I won't actually be in class for the remaining 4 days as we are allowed to work from home so it will be more like 3 and a bit.
  • I think if you put it to them and have answers ready to any questions you think they may raise you have a good chance. I knew my head was going to question planning for the day I was out and impact on children so I was prepared to answer this one before she even questioned it! I said I would be prepared to go in on some Wednesdays for important meetings etc and I have done on a few occasions and being flexible like that did appeal to my head. On those occasions I have either swapped my day off or put in a supply claim form for working 'extra' to my contracted hours. I did mention I wanted to do 4 days before my maternity leave started tho. Good luck!

    [Modified by: jellyfishpink on August 18, 2010 03:15 PM]

  • Thanks for all the replies, it's really useful. We have a great head who is very good about family issues and really supportive of teachers with family comitments. I know he would almost certainly let me do 4 days a week it's just a question of whether I can keep the HOD position (otherwise I lose too much money and it wouldn't be viable). I suppose I can only ask! I'm not sure if they would organise a job share just for the one day, esp as deputy head also teaches in my dept so there is another figure of authority there when I won't be. The only issue is I can't think of any other members of staff who hold a tlr who are part time so maybe my school doesn't like this?

    Oh well will just have to ask I suppose.

    On a seperate note, if people went back 3/4 days a week did your LEA make you pay back any maternity pay?

    Thanks xx
  • No I don't think so Kernow (on the paying back ques) from what I have read you have to go back 13 weeks in order to not have to repay anything, that is full time of course, if you were to go back say 4 days a week then you would just make up the extra e.g. taking a bit longer than just 13 weeks. Hope that makes sense! So if you went back part time I am assuming you would have to got back for at least 26 weeks to ensure you wouldn't have to pay anything back.
  • all the teachers i know that went or wanted to go back pt after mat leave were only able to if they dropped their tlr. some have done, some have not and stayed ft. i think you'll need to be able to argue why pt will not affect how you carry put your tlr.
  • I can see that might be the case if you were say going from full time to 2 1/2 days but really don't see why you should have to give up TLR or whatever if you drop one day. I will be very disappointed if my work want me to give up my assistant head role if I want to go to 4 days a week, not sure who else would do it, being a very small school!! Time will tell I guess. xx
  • Thanks mrs H, I was really worried about having to pay maternity back! Didn't realise it was just about the time you need to be back in work for! That's one relief!

    Calleigh, this is what I'm worried about. I would fully understand if it was 2 or 3 days but hoping that I can justify to my head why absence on 1 day a week will not interfere with my role. I'm also going to ask for a day where no meetings/ after schools or anything else where I need to be there happens (so prob a Friday). Also as every other school we are under huge budget constraints so it would actually save him money if I did 4 days a week -maybe I should use that as part of my arguement (hahaha)

    thanks again for sharing experiences
    If he says no, I'll just have to go back full time image
  • I'm just about to start maternity leave with no2. I had no1 in Dec 08 and returned to work full-time in June 09. I decided to work FT because:

    1) I can usually get to Abby by 4:30pm anyway and therefore get to spend a couple of hours with her before bed.
    2) Being HoD I would still have to do all the work anyway just on less pay. I wouldn't lose a huge number of classes by losing one day a week so the work load isn't much different especially as I mainly teach 6th form.
    3) My OH takes Friday off and my parents take Abby on Wed so she is only in nursery 3x week.
    4) Being a teacher I have long holidays so get to see Abby more than most people who work PT anyway.

    However my Head was actually surprised when I said I was coming back FT. He was ready and willing to let me drop to 0.7 and keep my TLR. And I am in charge of quite a large dept (5 teachers + 1 tech - 135 A-Level students plus Yrs9-11).
    One of my colleagues has returned to work on 0.68 as Head of Dept but she is in charge of a much smaller dept. Personally I couldn't run my dept on such low hours. I might return to work 0.9 next year but am likely to stay FT to be honest.

    As you can see from the other replies it does vary from school to school.
    H xx
  • Your welcome hun, think I might keep that 'saving you money' reason for later too image

    Blondefriend - sorry for asking a silly question - but what does 0.7 equate too in days??

  • Thanks blondefriend. I see what you are saying about same level of work on less pay and agree we are lucky with our holidays and being able to finish at a reasonable time. I'm prepared to go back 5 days if necessary and hearing everyone's experiences is really good to help me decide.

    My husband works wed-sat (although long hours of 6am-6pm) so baby will be in nursery 3 days a week if I go back f/time or 2 days if I go back 4 days which is only a financial saving of about ??200 a month so there's no incentive there but like the idea of spending extra time with baby.

    My thinking was also that if I did 4 days I could use the extra day to catch up on school work which would allow me to leave school at 4pm every day and not have to work too much in evenings (though don't know how realistic that is with a baby to look after!)

    Hmmm certainly a lot to think about!
  • MrsH - 0.7 would either be 3.5 days a week or 4 days one week and 3 the next (available if your school does a 2 week timetable). My friend on 0.68 actually goes in 4 days a week but has a lot of "free" periods in that time so can get all her planning/marking done at school which gives her more quality time at home.

    Kernow - when baby is small you get quite a lot of time to mark etc when at home. However Abby is now 20mths and a very lively toddler. She sleeps for 1.5 hours during the day but needs constant supervision at all other times so work is impossible. I can get work done in the evenings but have to plan meals very carefully and I have a cleaner in order to remove that issue.

    H xx
  • Thank you image xx
  • We finish at 3pm but are not allowed to leave school until at least 4.15pm. It means I potter in my classroom and get some marking done but I do other stuff at home once DD is in bed. On Mondays we have staff meetings, Tuesday after school management meetings, Wed day off, Thursday I usually spend time catching up on stuff in the class room but on Fridays we can leave at 3.15pm so I am out of the door by then as I pick up DD and we do the weekly shop before hubby gets home so then the weekend is free for us as a family. I try and stick to my routine and get school work done as it needs doing and I find if I stay on top of things then my life is easier and I get to spend time with DD and hubby. I find I have to be super organised but it works for me. I do work at home and it was easier when DD had long naps but now it is getting tricker as most days she doesn't have a sleep!
  • G/C from baby.

    Im a primary teacher and SENCO so a little different to what you are talking about (I dont have a TLR but do get an SEN allowance). I have gone back Mon-Thurs, which was totally my decision. I didnt think I could do the SENCO position on 3 days a week and nor did my head, although he didnt say until I did!

    So, I went back 4 days and get to spend Fridays with my boys. I am very lucky in one respect though as hubby's days off are Mon and Tues (although we never actually spend days together unless im on holiday!), and parents have them Wed and Thurs. I remind myself every day how lucky I am.

    All that happened with regards to work was that my Allowance is paid pro rata so I lose a day of it, which I have no problem with as it is on top of my wages anyway!

    Also, as long as you go back the eqivalent of 13 full weeks, you dont pay back the maternity pay.


    Gemma, Ryan and Alfie 10 months
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