Milltown School is a Junior School in. a deprived area in East Lancashire. There are 200 children on the school roll; six permanent, full-time teachers, a Head teacher, four teaching assistants and a Special Needs co-ordinator. There is a School secretary and a School Manager, whose job it is to manage all the finances of the school, on behalf of the Head and who also has to deal with all manner of staffing issues. Although the Manager does not have the title of ‘Personnel Manager’ that is, to all intents and purposes, what she does for almost every day of the week. She deals with sickness absence records, answers questions about contracts, manages the training rota, obtains cover for teachers who are off sick or absent on training etc. She has not received any training herself in any aspects of Personnel or HR
Management, she has just had to ‘pick it up as she goes along’.
Given the deprivation in the area, e.g. high levels of family unemployment, poor housing, etc, the school struggles with many social issues. Milltown does its best to support the children by providing extra facilities, like a breakfast club, as it found that many of the children were coming to school without breakfast, and that the only hot meal of the day they had was a school lunch. Despite all these problems, Milltown does quite well in Ofsted inspections, and has not yet been in ‘special measures’ arising from any concerns about its results and its standards. Given all the potential problems, it does well and its pupils do succeed in many areas of the curriculum.
Sadly, there has been a recent downturn .following the need for public sector finance cuts.
The local authority has asked the Head teacher to make significant cuts in his budget and this has led to a need to consider redundancies (for the first time in the school’s history). Advice has also come to reduce the number of teaching assistants and to consider the viability of the ‘Special Needs co-ordinator’ role. This has hit the school very hard. Over the past few months sickness absence levels across all staff have increased significantly. On one week this term over half of the permanent staff were off on sick leave and the supply teachers brought in meant extra expense for the school. One of the longest serving teachers has put in a grievance about bullying and harassment, which has not yet been dealt with by the Head teacher, as he is at a loss what to do, as he too has never had any training in Personnel/HR matters. In the past he has always relied on assistance from the Town Hall, but here too there have been cut-backs and the HR Department there has also been reduced in numbers, with an instruction to local schools to endeavour to resolve any staffing problems at the school level. Only for serious matters of staff misconduct are schools allowed to refer problems to the Town Hall.
Morale is, as might be expected, at an all-time low at Milltown School. Something urgently needs to be done.
Identify any employment-related issues within Milltown School using existing HR theories.
Explain the impact these problems have on employee morale and, subsequently, on their performance.
What recommendations would you make to Milltown School’s management in order for morale and performance to increase? Explain why you think your recommendations will improve the employment relationship in Milltown School?
PLEASE take care to:
Demonstrate an understanding of the key theories and models associated with HRM and an ability to apply these in practice
Demonstrate an understanding of the main elements of the case study. An ability to analyse and to offer a balanced opinion on the topics
Demonstrate an understanding of the link between HR and performance and the impact HR practices have on employees’ morale and motivation
Demonstrate an ability to structure and present well researched and structured answers
Accurate referencing and bibliography
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