KIT days were really visible and accessible when working in the financial sector, and as a senior manager, something that you needed to be well versed to then be able to direct staff to the ways that KIT time could be utilised. This visibility doesn’t seem to transfer to working in education, and it leads me to wondering why that may be.
During an #mtptchat back in August of last year, KIT days was mentioned as a really useful way to feel included in work changes, complete CPD that will benefit staff and students when you return, or have key meetings that will outline how your return to work can be supported. However as a general consensus, anecdotal evidence shows that school management, and indeed the staff entitled to KIT, have a lack of understanding around KIT time: what it is and how it can be used as a mutually beneficial tool.
This issue is only exacerbated by the lack of literature surround KIT time use for teachers. Whilst maternity action and the relevant union bodies outline the legal entitlement of ten days allowance for those on maternity leave, there is minimal literature to support and guide how best to use this time. Instead, you’ll find plenty of policy, and very little practical implementation.
Why is KIT time of any value? Surely maternity leave is exactly that!
For some, and particularly in my capacity as an MTPT Representative, making the abrupt shift from autonomous, self- driven teacher to parent is a tough one. Relinquishing control over your own routine, being forced to slow down and take a break from the intellectual stimulation of a classroom, or even just the lack of professional discussion with adults takes some adjustment, which is why the MTPT Project breathes such success; it provides the connection with a professional self that may seem pretty distant for some when they become a parent.
KIT days provide a bridge at a vital time in the new journey of parenthood ; when sleep deprivation causes you to wonder how you will ever function for a full working day, but you long for a sense of structure, KIT can really instil confidence in your own capabilities and allow you to feel in a position to make a contribution that still fits in with your new role.
Here are some suggestions as to how KIT days can be purposeful and beneficial for all:
- Moderation meetings with your department, or even ask for an invitation to the local primary/secondary to see what this looks like in a different setting to your own. Having done this myself, it was eye opening to see what y6 we’re capable of before arriving at secondary.
- Visit other local schools with a particular focus, to then go back and share with your department. Last year, I came back with loads of ideas from how to challenge and used them in initiatives within school.
- Attend INSET or other local training that will be useful to share with colleagues. This doesn’t have to be formal; FutureLearn have some fantastic online courses with a specified hourly completion time to help to support with how much KIT time to claim.
- Go in to support revision sessions, or take a regular intervention slot- much like tutoring, the one-to-one or small group dynamic of intervention is a really rewarding way to reflect upon your teaching approach during your time out of school.
- Attend a return to work meeting – this doesn’t have to be formal- to outline any potential flexible working requests, adaptations to your working day that you may need support with for nursery drop offs etc. If management know in advance and can see that you are creating strategic solutions to potential issues, that’s a really positive starting point to negotiate flexibility.
- Finally, just to clear your emails and classroom. I don’t know about you, but six months at an average of 40 emails a day is a pretty big mountain, and if you are feeling a little apprehensive about going back with a new baby to juggle on top, it’s nice to go back with a clean slate of an inbox at the very least.