10 Things to Avoid When Managing HR in Schools

Unlock vital guidance from one of our education HR experts, Kara Oldman, navigating 10 critical areas to avoid in school HR. Dive into key aspects like legal compliance, communication, and staff well-being, ensuring a positive and thriving educational environment. 


When managing human resources in a school setting, there are several key things to remember in order to maintain a positive and productive work environment.  

This blog, written by one of our expert education HR consultants, Kara Oldman, explores ten key areas to avoid in school HR, emphasising legality, communication, employee well-being, and fairness.  

Join us as Kara uncovers why these points are essential for the success of educational institutions. Before delving further, let's clarify the primary role of HR within a school environment. 

What is HR’s function in school?  

In a school setting, the primary function of Human Resources (HR) is to manage the workforce effectively. This involves overseeing recruitment processes, promoting positive employee relations, and facilitating professional development initiatives. HR ensures compliance with legal regulations, manages employee benefits, and plays a vital role in performance management. Additionally, HR contributes to policy development, conflict resolution, and creating a positive workplace culture. The department is integral in succession planning and overall employee management, ensuring a cohesive and productive work environment within the school. 

Having gained an understanding of HR's significance in schools, let's explore actions to avoid, preventing potential legal complications and other adverse consequences. 

Legal Compliance 

Neglecting legal requirements related to employment, such as discrimination laws, can lead to legal consequences and damage the school's reputation. Schools must stay informed and always ensure strict adherence to all relevant employment laws 


Avoid poor communication with staff members. Clear and transparent communication is essential for creating trust, collaboration, and a sense of belonging among employees.  

Policy and procedure 

Failure to comply with school HR policies and procedures may lead to inconsistencies and potential legal issues. Seeking support and guidance from education HR professionals can help interpret and adhere to established policies.  

Employee well-being 

Avoid disregarding the physical and mental well-being of staff members. Implement measures to support work-life balance, manage stress, and provide access to resources for mental health support. Managing employee well-being in schools effectively is crucial because, ultimately, they are the driving force behind the success of the school and the quality of children's education. 


Always be objective and avoid showing favouritism or bias in decision-making processes, promotions, and any other HR process you are following. Sometimes unconscious bias is difficult to avoid but be aware of it and ensure that your decisions and actions are as fair and equitable as possible.   

Performance management 

Avoid neglecting performance reviews and feedback mechanisms within the performance management process. Providing constructive feedback and setting clear expectations helps employees understand their roles and responsibilities and supports them in striving for excellence. 


Avoid failing to recognise and appreciate the contributions of staff members. Implementing employee recognition initiatives and acknowledging achievements boosts morale and motivation.  

Conflict resolution 

Avoid ignoring conflicts or allowing them to escalate without intervention. Implement effective conflict resolution strategies to address issues promptly and promote a harmonious work environment.  

Grasp the nettle 

Don’t put off dealing with any HR issues that come your way. The longer you leave something, the more difficult it becomes to deal with. Nip any issues in the bud to avoid escalation.  

Equal opportunities 

Be an inclusive employer and avoid overlooking diversity and inclusion initiatives. Embracing diversity and creating an inclusive environment where all individuals feel respected and valued enriches the school community and promotes innovation and collaboration.  

Now that Kara has laid out what you must avoid to keep your school out of hot water, let's dive into the consequences of ignoring her expert advice.  

The potential professional consequences to schools  

Legal implications  

Disregarding legal requirements can lead to costly legal battles, damaging the school's reputation and financial stability. Ensuring strict adherence to employment laws is paramount to avoid legal consequences, including employment tribunals.  

Communication breakdown 

Poor communication can create a disengaged workforce, hindering trust and collaboration. Effective communication is essential for creating a positive workplace environment and promoting a sense of belonging among employees. 

Policy and procedure deviation 

Deviating from HR policies may result in inconsistencies and legal challenges. Seeking guidance from HR professionals ensures proper interpretation and adherence to established school policies and procedures, preventing potential legal issues. 

Well-being oversight 

Ignoring employee well-being can lead to burnout, decreased morale, and negatively impact the quality of education provided. Managing employee well-being is crucial for sustaining a healthy and productive work environment. 

Bias in decision-making 

Displaying bias in decision-making processes can lead to dissatisfaction among staff, potential legal issues, and a strained workplace environment. Awareness and efforts to ensure fair decision-making are essential. 

Performance management neglect 

Neglecting performance reviews hinders professional growth and excellence among staff, negatively affecting the overall quality of education. Regular performance assessments are crucial for continuous professional development and staff improvement.  

Recognition failures 

Failing to recognise and appreciate staff contributions results in demotivated employees, reduced morale, and a less productive work environment. Implementing recognition initiatives is essential for boosting morale and motivation. 

Conflict escalation 

Ignoring conflicts or allowing them to escalate without intervention can lead to a toxic work environment, hindering productivity and staff satisfaction. Effective conflict resolution strategies are crucial for maintaining a harmonious workplace. 

Procrastination predicament 

Procrastination in dealing with HR issues can escalate problems, making resolutions more challenging and potentially causing long-term damage to the school's reputation. Promptly addressing issues is crucial to avoid escalation. 

Diversity and inclusion  

Overlooking diversity and inclusion, initiatives may lead to a less enriched school community, impacting innovation and collaboration. Embracing diversity creates a positive and inclusive environment that benefits the entire school community. 


By avoiding the pitfalls mentioned above, school administrators can effectively manage HR and create a supportive work environment. Prioritising legal compliance, clear communication, employee well-being, and fairness in decision-making contributes to a positive school culture. Nurturing a healthy work environment enhances staff satisfaction, promotes productivity, and ultimately benefits the entire school community. 

Take control of your school's future  

Don't let HR issues affect your school's success. Ensure the right HR policies and procedures are in place to prioritise what truly matters: providing the best education for your pupils. 

Why not book a free consultation with our expert team of HR professionals specialising in education?  

Juniper is the trusted HR partner your school can rely on!