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Can technology help smash the glass ceiling in education?

What factors are preventing more women moving into headships, and how do we overcome them?

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While attracting women into teaching has never been a problem, according to a recent report 43% of female teachers believe the glass ceiling is preventing them from advancing their careers.

Likewise, more than half of educators surveyed think that more could be done to support women going for the top jobs, and 18% know, or suspect, that women in the profession are earning less than their male colleagues.

“Despite accounting for just a quarter of all teachers, a disproportionately high number of men end up in the top jobs instead whilst women occupy lower level roles on less pay”. Jenny Rollinson, MD, Randstad Education

Unfortunately, these findings come as no surprise to those working in the sector. Only last year government figures revealed that female headteachers were under-represented in the UK, and that despite the workforce being predominantly female, less than 40% of all secondary school headteachers are women.

According to experts, family commitments, a lack of confidence and old-fashioned sexist attitudes are just some of the factors preventing women from moving into headship positions.

“On a number of occasions I’ve heard female candidates referred to as pit bulls and rottweilers, because they’ve been perceived as coming across as too aggressive, when the same behaviour in men is seen positively as being tough and strong”. Kate Chhatwal, The Future Leaders Trust

With the education sector under more pressure than ever before – and the number of teachers leaving the profession increasing – something must be done to address this imbalance if schools are to meet future demands.

Can technology help to break the glass ceiling?

As well as looking at wider attitudes and barriers, one of the best ways to break the glass ceiling is to boost the confidence of women educators; to encourage them to speak up and ask for training and development opportunities, and, of course, promotions and pay rises. Delivering a plethora of educational benefits to the classroom, edtech can help to achieve this, while, at the same time, helping teachers to demonstrate professional success.

Here are just some of the ways you can use educational technology to do this:

Become a digital leader in your school

There’s no denying that tech is changing the face of education. In our digital age, digital skills are needed to sustain and foster innovation, and teachers who embrace 21st-Century technology are likely to become digital champions – inspiring not only their pupils – but also their colleagues.

Use technology to facilitate flexible working and learning

Cloud-based technology such as ClassFlow provides added flexibility to both pupils and teachers alike. Facilitating flipped-learning that allows schooling to take place beyond the classroom, ClassFlow delivers content that students can access anytime, anywhere, enabling teachers to work smarter, not harder. With flexibility thought to be one of the biggest barriers to women breaking through the glass ceiling, such technology could become key to keeping talented people within the sector.

Boost your school’s reputation

Standards, attainment, policies, SATS, and Ofsted results are constantly at the top of any school agenda. By integrating technology into your classroom and making it a core part of the learning experience, you can inspire engagement, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking – ultimately – resulting in better results for you and your pupils.

Get pupils ready for employment

Enriching current teaching methods, while helping students to understand complex subjects and theories, teachers can use tech such as 3D printers, apps, VR, and cloud-based platforms to make technology a core part of the learning experience, while, at the same time, meeting the needs of pupils and their future employers. Not to mention demonstrating your value as a modern educator.

Save your school money

Investment is urgently needed to ensure that modern schools have the IT infrastructure necessary to succeed. However, while the value of edtech can’t be underestimated, diminishing budgets mean that some schools simply can’t keep up with trends and innovations.

By combining free educational software such as ClassFlow, with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD initiatives), schools can reap the benefits of educational technology, without the need for additional resources. Teachers who help to spot and champion such efforts are likely to be of real value to School Management Teams as they struggle to do more with less.


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