Are Your People Management Practices Effective?

HR Management Tends to be Cautious

HR management policies and practices tend to err on the cautious side when, in reality, managing individuals means taking reasonable risks when, for example, making:

  • selection decisions; The cracks are easy to see as the plant pushes up but less so not so when dealing with indviduals
  • personal development involving the delegation of more responsibility;
  • capability and discipinary decisions.

In the photo, you can see that the growing plant is causing cracks in the asphalt. However, spotting the cracks and decay in personnel management practices is not so easy but it is an issue in many organisations including schools.

Do Your HR Management Practices Reinforce Your Key Goals and Values?

They should but senior managers usually have doubts about whether they are focused appropriately.  Before becoming immersed in another round of hr policy reviews, as the Head Teacher or a School Governor on the Personnel Committee take time to assess whether your hr management practices are effective.

To find out how and to obtain a free assessment tool view this page, ‘Hallmarks of Effective HR Management’ on our main HR Management Dimensions website.

© 2017 HR Management Dimensions Ltd.

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Distracting but Necessary Issues to Address Shortly

In common with many organisations, Head Teachers and Governors have to grapple with peripheral issues that do not further the educational aims of the school but have to be dealt with as they are statutory requirements and could lead to adverse publicity for the school.

Peripheral Issues Arising

The following matters will need to be considered in the coming months as the implementation date for some issues is April 2017.

  1. Gender Pay Reporting **
  2. Data protection  – new European standard and regulations
  3. Employment of apprentices and the Apprenticeship Levy **
  4. Changes to Immigration rules and increased costs for employers
  5. Increases in the National Minimum Wage rates
  6. Mental health issues at work
  7. School policies that have been overtaken by recent cases and regulations.

The items with ** will apply to organisations with 250 or more staff but do not heave a sigh or relief just yet.   Because many schools are now within a larger employer such as a Multi-Academy Trust, the reporting needs will affect you although your employer will have to carry out the compliance work.

Tips About Complying and Gaining Extra Value

To help head teachers and school governors, I shall be publishing during the next two months:

  • Articles and tips on the above;
  • References to previous articles that provide insight into the pitfalls in some issues;
  • Simple checks you can make to ensure that you have not breached the requirements inadvertently.

Receive Notification of New Articles and Tips

To ensure you do not miss the articles, you can be notified when they are published.  Just click on the link for ‘receive notifications’ in the left hand column of this page.

© 2017 HR Management Dimensions

The Headsup HR blog is published by HR Management Dimensions Ltd.under the editorial lead of Jim Harrington.

Sports Direct – the Dilemma of Organisational Flexibility

To meet service needs many organisations, including schools, need to be able to use variable hours arrangements such as zero hours and other types of contracts. They need to be used responsibly. As important, is selecting the type of contractual options that will provide the appropriate flexibility for your context.

A new article on our sister blog ‘HR Management Dimensions’ suggests options and safeguards and is worth sharing with any colleagues who are having to deal with such issues.

The article can be seen by clicking this link Sports Direct – The Dilemma of Organisational Flexibility.

If you would like to discuss and review your options for more flexible staffing, please contact the author, Jim Harrington, via this link  or via the contact details on the footer of this blog page

© 2016 HR Management Dimensions

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Managing An Additional School – Rewarding the Head and Other Affected Teachers *

What options does a Governing Body have to reward their Head Teacher for leading an additional school? This is the second in our series of articles about the changes introduced in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document 2014 (STPCD).

The options differ according to whether the change is a:

  • Permanent arrangement;
  • Temporary arrangement e.g. to evaluate whether a permanent federation or collaboration would be beneficial for both schools;
  • Secondment to a school causing concern.

Maintained schools are obliged to apply the terms of STPCD 2014 but academies have the freedom to create their own reward packages which could differ from the points below.

Leading an Additional School on a Permanent Basis

If the second or additional school is a permanent responsibility then the Governors should recalculate the Individual School Range to take account of the total number of pupils at both (all) schools. The method of calculation is set out in sections 6 and 7 of the STPCD 2014.

That should enable the Governors to set a pay range that reflects the demands of the Head Teacher’s role. See our earlier article about the freedom that Governors have to set the actual pay range. {Editor’s note – link to be updated}

Leading an Additional School for a Temporary period

This may arise when the Governing Body is considering a future federation or formal collaboration arrangement with a second or additional school. The Head may be asked to lead the second school for a fixed period so that the Governors, of both schools, can evaluate whether such an arrangement would be beneficial on a permanent basis.

In a temporary situation, the ISR is not changed as the Governing Body may award a temporary allowance to the Head Teacher of up to 25% of the Head’s annual salary.

The payment of the allowance is subject to several conditions:

  • Responsibility for the additional school must not have been taken into account in any salary or allowance increase previously;
  • The 25% cap does not have to take into account specific allowances paid to the Head Teacher – a residential allowance or an allowance for relocation or housing which relate solely to the personal circumstances of the Head.
  • The overall salary and allowances of the head teacher must not exceed 25% above the maximum of the head teacher group unless there are exceptional circumstances. If the Governing Body believe that this limit does not provide an appropriate reward for the Head’s role, the Governors are required to obtain external, independent advice before producing a business case for the full Governing Body to approve.

Governors should note that:

  • The temporary arrangement should not be for more than two years and
  • If the arrangement proves unsatisfactory or expire, neither Governing Body will be required to protect the ‘higher’ allowance/salary as the salary safeguarding provisions do not apply in this type of temporary situation.

Two years can pass rapidly so the Governing Body should consider establishing progress indicators and reviews during the temporary period. Those will help with the final decision as to whether to become a federation etc. and also help to ensure that sufficient time is allowed for the formalities to be concluded by the end of the temporary period.

Rewarding Other Teachers if a Second or Additional School is Taken On

When a Head takes on the the leadership of another school, that may require other teachers to take on additional responsibilities for the same temporary period. Depending on the staffing structure, it may be preferable to adjust the Deputy Head Teacher’s pay range temporarily to take account of the increased responsibilities in the absence of the headteacher.

In some cases, teachers may be required to perform additional obligations. Those teachers may be paid an allowance on a temporary basis but that will depend on the particular circumstances. Such allowances should only be provided to teaching posts which are affected significantly by the change. Section 11 of the Management Notes states, “This will be based on any additional responsibilities attached to the post (not the teacher), which should be recorded. An increase in remuneration should only be agreed where the post accrues extra responsibilities as a result of the head teacher’s enlarged role; it is not automatic.”

Such an allowance for a teacher would not attract salary safeguarding when the temporary period finishes.

Temporary Secondment of Head Teacher to a School Causing Concern

This is the third scenario and the STPCD is gradually reflecting the various situations that arise in the leadership arrangements of schools.

The Head Teacher may be rewarded by the payment of a lump sum. That is subject to an overall cap as the head’s total salary and allowances must not exceed 25% of the salary maximum. Note that this is defined as 25% of the head teacher’s pay group of the school to which the secondment is made.

Payment of the lump sum is conditional on the sum being awarded to recognise, “sustained high quality of performance throughout the secondments” (Section 24.1 of the STPCD).

A variation to the terms of employment of the Head should be produced and set out what will happen at the end of the temporary period i.e the head will return to his former substantive role and also deal with the other issues that often arise in secondments.

© 2014 HR Management Dimensions

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Academy Schools – Staff Transfers

Many schools have expressed an interest in learning more about what is entailed in becoming an Academy. The Academies Bill is currently being reviewed by the House of Lords but, to date, the Bill does not contain any references to the transfer of staff. That is surprising as about 70% of a school’s budget is staffing and the staff are key players in the success of a school.

Legislation Applying to Transfers of School Staff

Other current  legislation also deals with school organisational changes and  contains clauses which state specifically that staff will be transferred on existing terms on the implementation date unless an individual’s contract was for a fixed term or temporary and due to end before the transfer date. For example, if an infants and a junior school were combined by extending the age range of one school, this would be implemented via consultation on the proposals and, if approved, by the automatic application of the transfer clause in the statutory regulations. The clauses provide for a transfer without the need to resort to the TUPE regulations which is simpler and quicker to implement and provides protection for the transfer of the staff.

So how will staff be transferred to an Academy? Currently, the DoE appears to be thinking that the TUPE regulations will apply.  Schools will need to avoid the pitfalls of the TUPE regulations.

Issues to Consider in a  Transfer of Staff

What points should Governors and Head Teachers look out for?

  • The current employer e.g. the Local Authority will be required to consult with affected staff and seek information from the new employer about the transfer including any changes to terms etc. that are proposed.
  • The consultation will need to be formal and involve the recognised trade unions and, if none, the local authority will have to arrange for the staff to elect employee representatives specifically to inform and consult about the transfer
  • The new employer will be obliged to provide specific information to the local authority for consultation purposes including any organisational changes.
  • Staff will need to be informed about who is their new legal employer and the effective date of their transfer.

Senior managers and Governors will need to think carefully about the following issues:

  • If you are not thinking of making changes to terms or organisational structures in the first few years, transfers are relatively straightforward.
  • Transfers under TUPE will usually mean that staff move across on their current terms of employment including collective agreements. Terms are protected and may only be changed in limited circumstances under the TUPE regulations. However recent case law has indicated that future changes to collective agreements will not automatically apply to transferred staff. Be wary of any contractual clauses or of giving any undertakings that apply amendments to collective agreements automatically to contracts of staff after the transfer date.
  • What liabilities will you inherit with the transfer of staff? Consider requring indemnities and/or warranties from the transferring employer so that you are aware of any outstanding claims. This will enable you to discuss suitable balancing payments to cover those liabilities. This is important as the Bill may contain amendments regarding the treatment of budget surpluses or deficits.
  • Proposed organisational changes or staffing reductions will need to be considered in the context of the TUPE regulations. There are narrow grounds for making such changes but if you step outside of those you may face unfair dismissal claims or even automatically unfair dismissal claims.

The above is a brief overview.

Are you interested in being guided through the issues and process?  If so, contact us via our website We apply the many dimensions of people management and organisational capability to help you to produce commercially and service focused solutions to human resource management issues.

¹ The Schools Organisation (Prescribed Alterations to Maintained Schools) (England) Regulations 2007 No. 1289,

© 2010 HR Management Dimensions

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Budget Deficits and Organisational Changes in Schools

Is there an effective approach to reducing staffing costs which also takes account of the educational needs of pupils?

Be Clear About the Skills and Flexibility Required for the Medium Term

Faced with the need to balance their budgets and the fact that staff costs amount to 70% or more of expenditure, Head Teachers and Governors are increasingly having to consider reductions of staff.  That may effect teachers, teaching assistants and other support staff.  Rather than simply trim 10% or more off certain staffing budgets, a more effective approach is to consider what flexibility is required for the school to meet the likely pupil profile and educational strategies over the next few years. With fewer staff, it becomes important to ensure that the staff to be retained are those with the required skills and flexibility..

Examining the needs of the school is the key to a successful change.  Simply making the bulk of reductions in Teaching Assistants is likely to create other issues.  For example, the lack of cover for continuing professional development sessions or 1:1 help with pupils that present particular challenges.  The lack of CPD may increase the inclination of effective members of the teaching staff to leave.  The Head Teacher and senior leadership team need to take an objective view of the school’s needs and determine what are the range of skills and flexibility required.

Retain an Appropriate Mix of Skills

Regrettably, redundancies may not be avoidable but the following points should not be overlooked in your approach to the future organisation:

  • What skills and relevant experience will be demanded by the future needs?
  • What key attitudes and flexibility will be required going forward?
  • Are those evident from tangible, objective sources that can be referred to in any selection criteria?

For example, when considering skills ask yourself whether the relevant staff have collectively or individually:

  • Sufficient skills to teach across all the required key stages
  • Ability/willingness to support extra curricular activities essential to the school’s attainments and reputation to retain and attract pupils
  • Breadth of teaching assistant skills for cover and other tasks
  • Flexibility in administrative tasks

Redundancy of Roles

If part of the solution necessitates some redundancies, it can be helpful to think about the above in terms of what and who needs to be retained to secure the future needs of the school.  Usually, that requires four key steps:

  1. General consultation with staff representatives.
  2. Seeking volunteers for redundancy and deciding whether or not an individual can be released and also if compulsory redundancies are required.
  3. The selection criteria that will be used.
  4. Consultation with the affected individuals.

The criteria should reflect the future needs of the school but you will need to think carefully whether there is objective evidence available to support assessments against the criteria. If criteria such as teaching standards are being used, it may not always be practical to find objective evidence to hand. Occasionally, you may have to rely upon the professional judgement of the Head and/or Senior Leadership Team to assess/determine whether an individual has consistently met the standards being assessed and the objective evidence for the conclusions or assessment..

By focusing on the future needs, what skills etc need to be retained and who should be retained, you will be a good way towards an effective approach to reducing staffing costs and balancing the future needs of the school.

Dealing with individuals who are being displaced requires sensitivity and time to ensure that they make informed decisions about  volunteering for redundancy, the financial implications including pension issues as well as the implications for those who will be terminated as a result of a selection exercise. At the same time or shortly afterwards, you then have to invest time in focusing and developing the remaining members of staff to focus on the challenges ahead.

Interested to learn more? Contact us via our website   We apply the many dimensions of people management and organisational capability to help you to produce commercially and service focused solutions to human resource management issues.

© 2010 HR Management Dimensions

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