Managing difficult decisions about staff redundancies
Insight – Primary School
What was the issue addressed?
Mostly around decreasing budgets, having to face cuts and implement these cuts. For example, there was a HR process required to decide which TA contracts will be renewed/redundant. We decided that infants TA hours would not be reduced as much as junior TA hours.
There was then an appeal letter sent from junior TAs and a response from infant TAs. Staff morale was reported as very low. The Governing body had good reasons for not cutting infant TAs due to higher levels of need for young children. This was accepted and staff morale seemed to settle, as expected, once changes were in place.
What lessons were learnt?
Our close and trusted relationship with the previous and current head was a help. We recognise the need for better understanding of HR processes.
When faced with a reduced budget, the governing body must look at areas in which they can save finances, hopefully without having to start the statutory redundancy process. This is going to be a difficult time for everyone involved so has to be handled sensitively. The headteacher will need to keep staff up to date on what is happening throughout the process.
Any proposal made by the governing body to reduce staff hours must be consulted on with the staff in question and their trade union representatives. Once the decision has been made by the relevant governing body committee, staff have the right to appeal against the decision. This process is stipulated in the school’s redundancy procedure.
ACAS produce guidance on redundancy procedures and fair procedures, but the governing body must follow the steps within their own policy at the school.
Please seek advice from the Local Authority or Diocesan Authority as appropriate, right from the beginning or contact Governors Cymru Services on [email protected].
Has your school had to make any difficult decisions about staff redundancies? How did the school manage the impact of these?
What do you do to maintain positive staff morale in time of financial restrictions?
Have your say…
Have you had experiences similar to these?
What do you think about the situation described?