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Human Resources Management in Schools


The vision statement of the Family and School Partnership Framework is for families and schools to work together in the education of children and young people. The principals of the partnership include both parties wanting the best for the children by providing the opportunity for the student to reach their full potential within a nurturing and supportive learning environment. The vision statement highlights the need for both parties to value quality teaching and respect teachers’ professional expertise and that the partnerships are based on mutual responsibility, respect and trust. Leadership is critical to building, maintaining and renewing partnerships. (DEEWR n.d.)

For schools to achieve their obligations under this framework they need to maintain quality and dedicated teaching staff, who are well supported by quality and dedicated executives and administration staff. One cannot successfully exist without the other. So how does a school recruit, train and retain the quality staff and leaders required to meet these obligations on an on-going basis? Who within your school is responsible to deliver this outcome and what are your school’s Human Resource Management strategies and resources to support them?

Schools by their nature and requirements are both large employers and employers of a vast range of different skills, awards and conditions. In the field of Human Resource Management “HRM” organisations of a similar size will face similar challenges when it

comes to people management, employment contracts and award interpretation whether they be commercial enterprises or non-government schools.

Some will argue that this is the role and responsibility of the Heads of School or Principals and the remainder of the requirements will be picked up by the Payroll Officer. The involvement of the school’s Executive in the recruitment and training of teachers, senior non-teaching roles and award interpretations is very important and their involvement in these matters, where appropriate, should continue.

However, these tasks and overall general staff management will be done better with the support of a qualified and experienced Human Resource Manager as it is their core skill set and not the extension of someone else’s core skills.

Human Resource managers are experts in a number of key school operational areas such as:

  • Employment Contracts
  • Negotiating and liaising with Unions
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Liaising between the School Executive and staff
  • Legal Compliance in relation to employment issues
  • Risk Management
  • Policies and Procedures
  • In relation to non-teaching staff – staff assessment, counselling and performance management, job
  • design and structure and managing contract adjustments
  • Recruitment and Onboarding
  • Professional development training
  • Managing termination of employment, retrenchments and post-employment responsibilities

(Workplace info n.d.)

The members of the School Executive do not have the time to successfully add even some of the above tasks to their job description. It is for each school to reflect on whether or not their current employees meet the skills and experience to deliver under either the Family and School Partnership Framework or their current role requirements. Relations between employer and employee can become strained in numerous ways in short time frames. With a Human Resource manager available to dedicate the time needed to successfully address the issue at hand, a quick response time from a dedicated resource can keep a small issue just that, small.

kristen martins1 - with Cole backgroundAs with any role, Human Resource Management can be performed on an as needed basis and for this reason Cole School Experts is delighted to announce that we have partnered with KM Consulting and Management Services to provide Human Resource Consulting to Schools. Kristen Martins is a Human Resources Specialist and is a member of the Australian Human Resources Institute. Kristen herself has worked in the field of Human Resources for over 15 years across many different sectors including professional services, mining, international development and education. Kristen’s unique ability to communicate in a relaxed and positive manner ensures she takes a very practical approach to Schools Human Resource “HR” needs. Kristen and her team take a holistic approach to their work with schools. This approach ensures that all of the HRM tasks listed above are completed with a mindset of mutual support where the workflow and documents support both the overarching HR requirements and each specific task.

Cole provides end to end Payroll services to a range of schools across Australia and combing our partnership with Kristen and her team, enables us to provide a full HR solution to your school.

List of References:

DEEWR n.d. Family – School Partnerships Framework, a guide for schools and families. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations accessed 10 July 2018

Workplace Info n.d. Overview of HR role accessed 10 July 2018