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Exploring People Practice in Schools: how could Human Resource Management (HRM) address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis in the UK?

   Sheffield Business School

About the Project

There is a crisis in recruiting and retaining teachers in the UK at present. Additionally, teachers’ absence rates are high and well-being and job satisfaction rates are low. Teachers requesting flexible work are more likely to be turned down than workers in other professions and access to support with physical and mental health issues varies from school to school. We see a lack of diversity in school leadership positions, providing limited role models for pupils and the danger of group think perpetuating the status quo. This poor working environment might benefit from improved human resource management, as has proved the case in other professions.

Initial exploration suggests that schools in the UK have varied forms of Human Resource Management, depending on location, academisation, size etc. Yet the way HRM is structured and delivered could have a powerful impact upon people practices in schools and upon teachers’ working lives.

A doctoral candidate is required to explore the different configurations of HRM in UK schools and make recommendations for improving people practice in schools, to address the issues described above. A mixed-methods or predominantly qualitative approach would be preferable. 


To apply for a self-funded PhD, you will need to meet our entry requirements and provide:

1. fully completed Sheffield Hallam University application form

2. research proposal (4-6 sides of A4 in length).

3. transcript of marks from your highest qualification (we require a dissertation mark of 60+).

4. copy of your award certificates

5. two references, one ideally from an academic source. References must be supplied as recent letters on headed notepaper or on the reference section on the University's application form.

6. Where English is not your first language, we require evidence of your English language ability to the following minimum level of proficiency. A current IELTS score of 7.0 overall (with all component marks of 7.0 or higher and preferably Academic IELTS); or a current TOEFL test with an overall score of 100 internet based (with a minimum component score of 23 in listening and reading, 26 in writing and 22 in speaking) or recognised equivalent testing system. Your test score must be within the last two years.

Information on entry requirements, tuition fees and other costs can be found here

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