Case Study

Misconduct and Health Issues

The Case

The Headteacher of a Primary Academy has seen one of their experienced members of staff exhibit increasingly concerning behaviours on a more frequent basis. There has been a recent history of low-level issues which have required informal management intervention. However the individual’s behaviour has recently become more disruptive, involving selective and divisive interactions with colleagues, insubordination towards SLT, and highly inappropriate responses to minor issues.

The School has started to receive parental complaints regarding the way the individual interacts with some of the children. The combined effect is both toxic and wearying for a significant number of staff, and the Headteacher is having to spend a disproportionate amount of management time addressing these issues and their impact. However they have also now learned that the individual may have a medical condition that could be a driver for some of the behaviours, and are unsure how to proceed. They have previously been advised to avoid addressing these issues, due mainly to the employee’s condition, however it seems clear that the situation cannot reasonably be allowed to continue, and at the suggestion of another Headteacher, they seek further advice and support from our HR Consultancy service.

The Schools People Bring

In depth expertise and understanding of the situations and culture involved, including the impact such behaviour will be having in an educational setting, the legal issues involved, the obligations of the school and the employee, and a commitment to helping the school resolve these issues in order to move forward.

A senior Consultant initially meets the Headteacher to discuss the issues and their background context, with a view to better understanding the individual and dynamics involved, and to designing an approach that will provide appropriate outcomes for the school should the behaviours persist.

Regular guidance is provided to the Headteacher as they manage the continuing behaviours and potential health issues involved, which also helps them to prepare a reasonable basis for moving matters onto a formal disciplinary footing if necessary. This ensures that concerns are identified and addressed accordingly, while also taking relevant account of the individual’s condition and providing relevant adjustments and understanding for this as required.

When the misconduct regrettably continues, the Headteacher is empowered to move the employee into the early stages of the disciplinary procedure within a reasonably swift timeframe, setting out clear school expectations and how matters will be progressed should these not be met. However, the employee subsequently elects to leave their position before the situation escalates any further.

Immediate Benefits

The Headteacher, whose own wellbeing has been significantly impacted by this issue, is freed from constantly having to react to and manage these disruptive behaviours and their residual impact on staff and can now focus more on various other priority school needs.

Service provision is thus improved, and there is an immediate and tangible uplift in the morale of the staff team, particularly those closest to the situation. Parental satisfaction regarding the quality of the School is increased. SLT begins to develop more confidence in terms of how and when such issues should reasonably be tackled, including the benefits of securing quality HR Consultancy advice at the earliest opportunity, and the steps that might be taken to try to avoid such issues developing in the future.


Follow on Benefits

Having this matter resolved leads to the working environment becoming a happier and far more positive place, where staff no longer feel the need to approach certain situations with varying degrees of anxiety.

Alongside the successful recruitment and bedding in of a replacement member of staff, this helps the school to make swift progress with their improvement agenda. When an additional staff member begins to exhibit some similar traits and behaviours, the Headteacher is better prepared to address these in a way that provides a route to resolution. Working alongside the HR Consultant wherever required, they do so with confidence that there will be a positive outcome for the school, which quickly heads off the issue before it can develop further.

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