Academies

The NUT is committed to supporting and protecting its members who work in academies. However, we utterly oppose the Government’s aim that all schools in England should become academies.

The academies programme has resulted in the fragmentation of the education system while undermining the local accountability of schools. It has also undermined the national pay and conditions framework for teachers as well as local collective agreements.

academies

What are academies?

What are academies?

Academies are schools in England that are funded directly by the Department for Education (DfE) and operate independently of the local authority.

There are two types of academy. “Converter” academies are those where the school governors apply for academy status. “Sponsored” academies are schools that the Government has labelled as “underperforming” and put under the control of an academy sponsor.

The Education and Adoption Act 2016

The Education and Adoption Act 2016

Most of its provisions became effective from 18 April 2016. The Act increases the powers of the Secretary of State for Education to intervene in ‘schools causing concern’. In practice these powers of intervention will be exercised by Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs). In some circumstances, these might include the power to issue an academy order to a maintained school. 

Concerns about the implications of the Act may lead some school leaders or governors of maintained schools to consider ‘jumping before they are pushed’ into academy status.

The NUT supports all its members, whether they work in academies or maintained schools, and continues to develop negotiating, representative and policy-making structures to best represent all members. However it is important that any decisions about a change of status for a school are taken for sound educational reasons, not because of misunderstanding over the current law or fear of an uncertain future.

Challenging a Forced Conversion

Challenging a Forced Conversion

The Education and Adoption Act 2016 has brought about increased powers of intervention against schools deemed to be ‘failing’, ‘coasting’ or ‘underperforming’.

The decisions of public bodies, such as the Secretary of State (and therefore of RSCs where they assume the powers of the Secretary of State), local authorities and schools can be challenged by way of judicial review and other appropriate proceedings in the High Court.

However, it is not the case that schools in this position will in all circumstances face the prospect of a forced academy conversion. The NUT has produced a briefing on the Education and Adoption Act which sets out the implications for schools in different circumstances. See our detailed legal advice on the legislation.

Our advice in respect of  ‘Failing’, ‘Coasting’ and ‘Underperforming’ Schools  aims to support NUT local officers in addressing questions from NUT members and others about the implications of recent Government policy initiatives for maintained schools and local authorities. In particular it looks at the implications of new legislation for so-called ‘failing’, ‘coasting’ or ‘underperforming’ schools.

What happens to school land and buildings when a school becomes an academy?

What happens to school land and buildings when a school becomes an academy?

If the Conservative Government proceeds with its plan to convert all schools in England into academies this begs the question, what happens to all the valuable school land and buildings paid for by taxpayers and largely controlled by local authorities? Our land and school transfer briefing explains the current arrangements for land transfers when a school becomes an academy and highlights NUT concerns about the proposed new arrangements set out in the White Paper. The NUT argues that these open the door for the privatisation of highly valuable state assets

Protecting members in academies

Protecting members in academies

The NUT remains committed to supporting and protecting members working in academies. If your school or college is transferring to academy status, creating or joining a multi-academy trust or transferring to a new academy employer, please use our  Academies Toolkit. The Toolkit steers you through the transfer process, and explains the key issues to look out for after a transfer to a new employer. It also shows how you and your members can work together within the NUT to protect and preserve your rights. 

The NUT Academies Transfers guidance explains the legal provisions that can be used to assist in protecting members’ rights when a school becomes an academy. It can also assist where an established academy is taken over by an existing academy chain or where a free school is established upon the merger, take-over and/or closure of existing schools or services. It is intended to provide technical advice to supplement the Academies Toolkit “Protecting members in Academies” which is aimed at school representatives in those academies which are in the process of transferring to academy status or have transferred already.

Academy chains

Academy chains

The NUT is the leading teachers' union for academy teachers, whether leading the negotiations with academy chains or negotiating with individual academies. We have produced advice on pay and conditions prepared specifically for teachers in academies, in addition to the general advice on pay and conditions.

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