LAAT’s Laura Lowe hits the heights in HR

Laura Lowe, Head of HR at the Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust (LAAT), has achieved one of the highest professional accreditations in HR thanks to the support of the Trust’s career development programme. Laura has recently attained Chartered membership of the CIPD, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, demonstrating her in-depth knowledge of strategic HR and people management practices. Her expertise is a significant benefit to LAAT and its member schools for whom she provides professional support and advice on a wide range of HR issues, from recruitment, training and employment legislation to succession planning, payroll and pensions.

Laura joined LAAT in 2016 with experience of working in local government education HR and payroll and commercial recruitment. After obtaining Associate Membership of the CIPD in 2018, Laura embarked on a rigorous programme of experience assessment in order to gain her Chartered Membership. This involved providing evidence of work that she had undertaken over the past five years and the impact of that work. The process included interviews, assessments, and written submissions that were appraised by senior CIPD members. “It was very challenging,” says Laura, “but well worth all the time and effort and having LAAT’s support and encouragement throughout was invaluable.”

In her role as LAAT’s Head of HR, Laura is the main point of contact for the 20 schools and 610 employees currently within the Multi Academy Trust, which was formed by the Diocese of Lincoln in October 2013 to build a mutually supportive family of academies in Greater Lincolnshire. As well as working with schools to ensure that strategic and operational goals are met, Laura supports LAAT’s Finance and Operations Director in providing an effective and customer-focused HR function across the Trust. Her responsibilities include not only ensuring compliance with Trust policies but also writing and developing policies to meet the Trust’s operational and financial objectives and which comply with relevant legislation.

With CIPD Chartered Membership under her belt, Laura is now applying her skills and expertise to help LAAT implement new HR policies aimed at improving working lives and shaping the future of work in education. LAAT’s pioneering plans include decoupling pay and appraisal, an enhanced wellbeing package for all employees, counselling and stress coaching, comprehensive training for line managers on people matters and guidance documents to support them and their employees.

As part of its commitment to developing all staff to be the best they can be, LAAT recognises the value of professional development programmes for its own team and for those working in its member schools. In addition to supporting Laura, the Trust is currently sponsoring three of its Business and Operations Partners on School Business Management courses, while another is completing a CIPD Level 5 qualification, and a Finance Assistant is taking an advanced qualification in accountancy.