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Probation for Support Staff

Letting the New Employee Settle in

A formal probation procedure of 26 working weeks can be applied to all new employees.

Even where a rigorous recruitment and induction process has taken place, it is still possible that the new appointee isn’t quite right for the role and the probation process enables the employer to identify this and if necessary end the employment without having to go through a more time consuming ‘capability procedure’.

Probation Reviews and Catch-Ups

Fixed term contracts should not be used to ‘see how someone gets on’ in the role – this is risky, as without a recorded probation period, the ending of the fixed term contract may be successfully challenged. If the vacancy arising in your school is permanent then a permanent contract should be issued and the probationary procedure followed.

It’s important to be thorough when working through probation, ensuring that regular ‘catch up’s take place as well as the more formal probation reviews. In this way any concerns will be picked up early and if they are not rectified by support and guidance, this will provide evidence for a safe non-confirmation of appointment under the procedure.My colleagues have prepared a package of advice, curriculum materials, easy assessment and CPD to help schools now. I’m keeping my eye on what happens in Europe as schools start return. If we don’t learn from other’s mistakes we’ll have to learn from our own.

Our Top Tips

  • make sure your workplace has adopted a probation procedure
  • make time to follow the procedure, keeping a written record of all meetings held
  • use it as a positive tool, alongside an induction period and performance management process
  • identify and deal with any issues/concerns early on, to alleviate any problems further down the line