Academy Status and School Improvement


The NUT is committed to supporting and protecting its members who work in academies but is opposed to the academy programme as a whole. This is because:

  • There is no evidence showing that academies raise standards in education.  Read the NUT’s Edufact on academy status and school improvement here.
  • Academies can employ teachers without qualified teacher status. The NUT is opposed to children being taught by unqualified teachers and believes this will lead to the erosion of teachers’ professional status.
  • Academies have more flexibility over the own pay and conditions of staff, undermining the national pay and conditions framework and local collective agreements.
  • Academies operate independently of the local authority (LA) and outside the local family of schools meaning they are no longer democratically accountable to their local communities are less likely to cooperate with other schools and the LA.
  • Academies can determine their own admissions arrangements. This is undermining LAs’ ability to plan and manage school places. It is also leading to an increasing number of unfair admissions procedures and fuelling social segregation.
  • The academies programme is costly and has undermined the fair funding of schools.

This page provides information and resources to help support members working in academies as well as materials to inform campaigns against academy 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. 

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.

Forced Conversion Under the Academies Act 2010

The Secretary of State for Education can '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.

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 Union chose to focus its evidence on the forced academy programme. The Union’s written submission to the Inquiry can be downloaded here.

Opposing Academy Conversion

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:

The NUT has also produced the following materials to help in campaigns against academy conversion.

Materials for Members, School Reps and Division Secretaries

  • Academies - Model NUT Health and Safety Policy for Academy Chains
  • Academies - Model NUT Health and Safety Policy for Free-Standing Academies
  • Briefing for NUT members, school reps and divisional secretaries which explains 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 conditionsfunding and the role of the local authority. These are also available in the Academies Toolkit - Defending State Education.
  • list of questions to enable NUT representatives and members to challenge proposals to transfer a school to academy status.
  • 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.
  • A more detailed NUT briefing on academy funding is available here.
Pay & Conditions
Local Authorities
Academies model resolution

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.