Academy Status and School Improvement


NUT Evidence To The Education Committee Inquiry Into Certain Aspects Of The Academies Programme

In December 2013 the NUT responded to the Education Select Committee’s Call for Evidence for its Inquiry into the Academies and Free Schools’ Programme. The Committee began to take oral evidence in February 2014. The Union chose to focus its evidence on the forced academy programme. The Union’s written submission to the Inquiry can be downloaded here

Gove’s forced academy agenda challenged in court

On 16 January 2014 Barking and Dagenham Local Authority and the governing body of Warren School gained a High Court injunction against Michael Gove’s plans to impose academy status on the school. The landmark case represents the first time that an Academy Order has successfully been challenged through the courts and further exposed the way in which the Government is rushing through academy conversion with a total lack of regard for the local community.

The injunction granted by Mr Justice Collins meant that an Interim Executive Board and Academy Order imposed by the Secretary of State on 6 January could not go ahead until there had been proper consultation on the school’s plans to federate with nearby Robert Clack School. The Judge said “this decision should never have been made" and noted that Michael Gove had failed to make any arguments against the council’s alternative proposal when it was put to him. He also said it seemed the present Secretary of State "thinks academies are the cat's whiskers - but we know some of them are not".

Why is exam attainment higher in London than elsewhere?

In the first of a new series of pieces by guest authors, Professor Merryn Hutchings, Institute for Policy Studies in Education, London Metropolitan University and lead author of the DfE commissioned evaluation of the City Challenge Programme , explains how analysis suggests that the London Challenge initiative has been key to the 2012 GCSE examination success.

The results of the 2012 GCSE examination published on 24 January 2013 show that London was the best performing region for the fourth successive year, by a wide range of measures.

Professor Hutchings shows how not only was London Challenge considerably cheaper to implement than the academies programme, but that the evidence that it was a successful approach to school improvement is overwhelming.

Guest articles reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect NUT policy.

Academies and Lies – the story of forced academisation

A new documentary film by Rhonda Evans investigates the Downhills Primary school affair, forced academies and Michael Gove's systematic dismantling of the education system.

‘The Parents, The Politician and the Carpetbagger’ follows Downhills parents, NUT teachers, other school staff and the wider community of Tottenham as they try to prevent Education Secretary, Michael Gove, forcing their school to become part of the Harris academy chain. The film successfully challenges Department of Education claims that academies outperform non-academies and reveals how local authorities are being bullied into serving up schools for forced academisation.

The film can be viewed online for free at:

Forced conversion under the academies act 2010

The Secretary of State for Education can now 'force' a maintained school to convert into an academy due to perceived poor performance at the school but only in certain limited legal circumstances. Read here the NUT’s full legal advice on when this power might come into play , and about the rights of head teachers, should they find themselves being called to a meeting with a DfE academy broker.

The Government is also seeking to increase the number and size of academy sponsors. This briefing explains the DfE’s approach to academy sponsors, detailing the process by which organisations can become sponsors and the funding available to them.

Academies Toolkit

Organising to win -
Defending State Education
Organising to win - Protecting Members in Academies
Academies Toolkit Academies Toolkit
Academies Toolkit: Defending State Education Academies Toolkit: Protecting members in academies
This toolkits is for school representatives to use to campaign against academy conversion for their school. The NUT is campaigning to defend a unified state education system and believes the best way to do this is for schools to remain part of the local authority family of schools. This toolkit is for NUT representatives in schools which are intending to convert, or have already converted to an academy. The purpose of the pack is two-fold. It is to guide you through the process that your school will follow in the conversion to an academy, and it is to equip you with information and guidance on how to promote the interests of the Union’s members in your academy school post-conversion.

Academy Transfers - NUT Guidance for School Representatives and Activists

This guide explains the legal provisions that can be used to assist in protecting members’ rights when a school converts to become an academy. It is intended to supplement the Academies Toolkit “Protecting members in Academies” which is aimed at school reps in those academies which are in the process of converting or have converted already.

Unions unite in the fight against academies

All the TUC affiliated education unions are jointly campaigning to keep schools in the Local Authority family. To this end they have agreed a package of materials to aid members, reps and concerned parent/carers in campaigning against academy status. These materials can be downloaded below:

If your school has already converted to academy status, below are materials to help in the fight to defend education, pay and conditions.

NUT school groups up and down the country have been passing resolutions against conversion to academy status. Even if there is currently no obvious threat of a move to academy status in your school, we would like as many school groups as possible to pass a resolution saying that they don’t wish to move to academy status, helping to influence public opinion.

Available to support this process are:

This Briefing is intended as a guide to NUT members, school reps and divisional secretaries on the requirement on governing bodies around consultation on the question of whether or not a school should convert to academy status.

Fact sheets on key issues that members may ask about – pay and conditions, funding and the role of the local authority

A list of questions to enable NUT representatives and members to challenge proposals to transfer a school to academy status.

A model resolution for use in your school

Powerpoint on academies for use in schools - This powerpoint is a resource for Division Secretaries or School Reps to use at school meetings to inform members about what academy school status means for teachers.

Once this resolution or a similar resolution, has been passed, please let your division/association know. Please also inform your head teacher and governing body.

A more detailed NUT briefing on academy funding is available here

Pay & Conditions
Local Authorities
Academies model resolution

Building a bulwark against academies expansion

Our aim is to collect a very large number of resolutions that have been passed against a move to academy status. If, for example, every association/division passed 10 NUT resolutions, we would have over 2,000 resolutions from schools committed to opposing academy status. This would have a significant impact on the academies debate.

Material for school meetings

A template flyer for a school meeting – click here for a colour version and here for a black and white version.

A sign-in sheet for a school meeting – click here for a colour version and here for a black and white version.

Material for public meetings

A template flyer for a public meeting – click here for a colour version and here for a black and white version.

A sign-in sheet for a public meeting – click here for a colour version and here for a black and white version.

Academies General Campaign Materials For practical information on how an academy school is different to a maintained school, the process of becoming an academy, consultation requirements, information on academy chain sponsors and targeted leaflets for teachers, parents and governors click here

Schools Interested in Academy Status

The Department for Education has posted a list of outstanding and non-outstanding schools that have expressed an interest in becoming academies. This list is dynamic and will change over time, so check back regularly to see if your school is on it. If it is, see our links below for actions you can take to oppose the conversion. Click here for the link


The NUT will continue working with all the other education unions, with parents, governors, politicians and other allies inside and outside Parliament to reverse the damaging aspects of the Government’s Free Schools’ proposals.