• Restructures in schools – managing change effectively

    Published: March 29 2019

    Restructures within organisations can be driven by a need for change in the existing structure, or can be driven by the necessity to make financial adjustments. Frequently, it may involve both. Restructures in schools can occur for a number of reasons such as:

    • To reduce costs
    • Shifts in strategic objectives
    • Curriculum changes
    • Changes to pay and conditions
    • Expansion
    • Joining a MAT
    • Government legislation/initiatives
    • Technological developments

    Restructures can lead to redeployment of staff to other roles, changes to the grading of posts or positions becoming redundant.

    Key points to think about when managing a restructure in your school

    Managing change effectively is essential to ensure its success through employee engagement, employment relations, organisational effectiveness and employee wellbeing. Failure to do so may have a negative impact in these areas.

    So how do you ensure that such a change in your school is effective? Some key points to consider are:

    • Have a clear vision for change.
      Think about why you need to restructure and the impact on student needs. Keep your focus to the school’s core activities which are teaching and learning.
    • Allow enough for planning and implementing the restructure.
      Identify all activities, tasks, and decisions to be accomplished for effective operation, who should be involved, and what each person’s responsibility in the activity should be.
    • Think about whether you need to amend current roles and create new roles.
      Is there an opportunity for staff development and progression in the future to assist with retention and succession planning? Will you have the right people in the right place after the structure?
    • If you are creating or amending roles, ensure that workload is manageable to achieve work-life balance as staff well-being is a challenge in schools.
      Try to focus on what your staff are doing now and examine staff tasks in detail to help you ensure that those that add value are not lost in the restructuring.
    • Any restructure should be aligned with the school’s vision, strategy, culture and direction.
      Think about the short, medium and long term impact on the school. Does it accommodate future changes as you may not want to go through several restructures in a short period of time.
    • Get your SLT on board.
      The level of trust developed between line managers and employees enables a smoother transition if you have SLT buy-in. Their support is important through the process as they can provide local context and relate to particular circumstances of individual employees. Therefore, they play a significant role in communication with employees.
    • Communication and employee engagement are key.
      How will the restructure impact on staff – their wellbeing and morale? Get them involved from the start to minimise any resistance. Therefore, ensure that you communicate constantly, openly and in a transparent manner through a variety of formats such as face to face meetings, workshops and written communication. Gain their trust and confidence. Inform and consult with them and their union representatives and genuinely take on board their comments and feedback before making your final decision.
    • Think about any additional support that can be offered for your staff.
      This could be providing your staff with details of an Employee Assistance programme or equivalent. They may also wish to seek further support from their union. Following the restructure, there may be CPD needs that to be considered such as further training.
    • If there is possibility of redundancies ensure that consultations begin in sufficient time prior to notice of redundancy being given.
      Are there any suitable alternative roles that can be considered prior to redundancy?

    Change can be hard for some staff. However, to enable a more effective change management process and to minimise a negative impact on your staff you should take into consideration the above points.

    How Kent HR can help with managing a restructure in your school

    We can provide advice and guidance on managing change including Restructures and Redundancies, HR strategy and planning, Wellbeing and Outplacements. For more information then please complete the enquiry form below or contact us and we can discuss your requirements.

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