Primary Academy, Milton Keynes

By the Headteacher

Avoiding the need for redundancy in a time of change

The Challenge

In February 2016, our EFA funding was cut by 1.5%. This came at the same time as pension and NI contributions were rising, leaving us with a £100k budget deficit. Whilst we carried an emergency fund, if no action was taken this would have disappeared within a three-year period.

Whilst the planned retirement of my deputy gave us an initial saving, we quickly realised that the deficit could not be met without a reduction in staffing. The TA pool was identified by looking at staffing needs versus budget, and identifying where we could make enough savings with the lesser impact on standards, as far as possible. Due to several SEN pupils leaving, we could re-think our TA staffing needs.

Given that we had limited knowledge of the correct course to follow, we asked Strictly Education - who were already providing us with their HR Advisory Service - to help us manage and implement the restructuring and redundancy process.

The Solution

It was very important to both myself and the Governing Body that the restructuring and redundancy process was carried out professionally and in line with statutory, and local authority policy and procedure.

As specialist HR professionals, Strictly Education assisted us with the process to follow, timeline to work to and the confidence that we were following the correct path.

The main elements were the creation of a business case for the restructuring and the formation of a Redundancy Committee to lead the process. The affected members of staff and trade unions were given the proposals by letter and invited to attend a sequence of formal group and 1:1 consultation meetings to discuss our proposals and how it affected them.

The Result

After the first group consultation meeting two members of staff offered to take voluntary redundancy and several of the group volunteered to reduce their contracted hours which meant that no further consultation or selection process was needed.

Importantly for the Governing Body we were able to meet our significant budget shortfall without the need to make compulsory redundancies. If not managed correctly, such a process can have a negative impact on staff morale but, with Strictly Education’s support and professional expertise, all staff members were kept fully informed and could remain focused on the children, teaching and learning.