Questions we have been asked this month

Article

26 October, 2016

Q: What is best practice for dealing with staff complaints about the behaviour management of a problem pupil?

A: Problem pupils who display confrontational behaviour towards staff should ideally be taken out of the classroom to minimise disruption for both pupils and staff alike. Ideally a designated member of the SLT or Pastoral Care team will deal with such instances of behavioural issues in a timely fashion under the behaviour management policy.

Issues can arise when such pupils are taken away from class, sent to a referral unit within school and returned to class, where they will repeat such behaviour causing more disruption and putting more pressure on teaching staff.

Such problems could be indicate a failure to follow a behaviour management policy in place, or it could in certain circumstances be symptom of an ineffective and/or outdated policy. A policy handbook review should be taken regularly, as the effective use of a policy manual can minimise the risk of capability, grievance and/or disciplinary issues arising.

Q: Could you offer any guidance as to how to deal with a member of staff who is unhappy, and is seeking early termination (without due notice) as a result?

A: In such circumstances, it is always necessary to understand the reasons for unhappiness amongst staff. This can be done by way of an informal meeting with a Line Manager or other staff member of an appropriate level of seniority.

If unhappiness within school is not addressed it can often lead to sickness absence or other problems. You must to address the issues (real or perceived) in the first instance and approach the issue pragmatically. You may need to discuss other relevant policies with the employee such as the grievance policy.

It is possible for a staff member to resign and choose not to work their notice period (without agreement from the employer) in breach of their employment contract. In addition, it is likely that the school will then need to provide cover for their lessons and may well be faced with costs for such cover. The School may choose to attempt to recover these costs by way of breach of contract claim at the County Court.

Before accepting the resignation, the school should consider the costs of funding a claim as it maybe that accepting the resignation is the most commercially sensible option., which although frustrating in less costly than issuing a claim at the County Court.

Q: As a result of a change in business need, how would we reduce a contract for a staff member to work all year round to a term time only contract?

A: Firstly, as the changes to the contract are of a fundamental nature, namely changes to their pay and conditions, it is necessary to first consult with the employee in order to come to an agreement.

If the employee fails to agree, then it may be necessary to consider a business case in preparation for a redundancy situation.

If you require any further advice then please contact a member of the Education & HR team on 01772 2200022.

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