Workforce Planning


By Rachel Foster
on 29 January, 2017

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Workforce Planning in Schools

The National Audit Office (NAO) has delivered an extremely critical verdict on the Department for Education’s (DfE) lack of leadership on school finances as deficits continue to worsen.

The public spending watchdog criticised the DfE for requesting budget albeit “not knowing” why deficits were growing, and at the same time not clearly communicating a strategy, and not evaluating its own interventions. The NAO has urged the DfE to “take responsibility for supporting schools to meet cost pressures” and publish guidance on procurement and workforce efficiencies as soon as possible.

DfE Guidance

As staffing costs make up 70 to 80% of an average school’s expenditure, workforce planning is key to budget setting and strategic planning. The DfE published guidance last week to help school leaders review their staff structures regularly, as part of their annual school improvement, curriculum and financial planning. This guidance is relevant for school leadership teams, business managers, governors and trustees.

The guidance, which is for both schools and academy trusts to help review staff workforce structures, has clearly been written with the current climate in education, and particularly the teaching profession in mind. It highlights the need to succession plan and recruit from within an organisation, a nod to the recruitment crisis which is only set to get worse before it improves. The guidance also acknowledges the other key professional concerns such as workloads and pay.

Organisational Change

Any organisational change which could affect employees’ terms and conditions or indeed the cessation of their employment, needs careful consideration and an understanding of the implications of employment law, pension implications and financial planning so that the strategic drivers are balanced appropriately. The guidance itself refers to seeking advice from HR specialists.

It is certainly a helpful summary document, but unsurprisingly doesn’t contain anything new from a HR perspective in how workforce planning should be addressed. Also, although it doesn’t state that an outcome of workforce planning could result in redundancies, it undoubtedly lays the foundation for schools that have budgetary concerns.

One Education HR is made up of specialist HR advisers, who work solely in the education sector and assist with workforce planning issues and implementation on a regular basis. We can also provide organisational change policies for schools and top tips for restructures. For more information, please contact the One Education HR team on 0844 967 1111.

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