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Academy status any thoughts/ experiences to share?


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Hi i teach in a c of e school. We have been told by our head and governors that we are in a process of consultation to look into becoming an academy. We would be an academy suported by the diocese and other c of e academy schools. Our head and governors no longer see any benefit to staying with the authority and our head is concerned about the potential constraints of draft curriculum. we have been asked to bring any concerns to the governors. Does anyone have any experience of changing to academy status? Any benefits/ pitfalls? Would welcome your experiences

Thanks

Debx

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Currently in the middle of the same!!!

 

Second meeting tomorrow night for staff. We had a meeting before the holidays and this meeting is a follow up with the union reps working for the whole staff. We have asked for a whole staff ballot and for the head of governors to present to the staff the governors reasons for wanting it as it was not made clear. We received that in writing on the Friday afternoon we broke up for the holidays and it was very bias to say the least. The 'independent advisor' the governors had appointed was anything but! . My first concern was the very short time scale for the 'consultation'. Its very hard not to see it as a whitewash instead of a consultation.

 

The staff appear in general appear to be against-concern about :hours, holidays, pensions, privatising cleaning, kitchens, breaks in service if they then take jobs in not academy schools, getting a job in an other school etc

 

2 of my main school concerns relate to the head and chair of governors and what happens if they change. The current head runs the financies well but is in his 50's whose to say the next head will be as strong? The chair of governors daughter leaves this summer so what happens then? She could be co-opted as a community governor but for how long will she retain a strong interest in the school?

 

Many staff who are not in favour intend to leave leaving a young and elderly staff who lack experience/ are 'cheap/ or to expensive/old to be taken on elsewhere. The best at 'their prime teachers' will leave.

 

Personally I worry about my pension with the local authority which has 32 years in it. They state they will continue to pay the employer contribution but "the rate may differ from the LA" ie it could be a lower rate.

 

All assurances re work, contracts, hours, pensions etc only apply to the point of transfer ie midnight on the day the become an academy at 10 minutes past midnight they can change everything!

 

Sorry my view is bias to my own feelings I'm sure others may step forward with positives for the school/parents etc but I'm struggling to find any positives for staff :(

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I have recently gone through this and it has not been a positive experience. We were told that nothing would change in the near future but it has. You are protected under the TUPEE regulations but they can still change things under this after so many days of consulting. The consultation process was either sign up to this or look for another job. We are now told that as of Sept we are going to performance led pay and there will be a new pay structure and staffing changes. im worried that I will not be paid the same, as they are cutting yearly pay increment's as you move up the pay scale so no main point pay scale or upper pay scale and scrapping TLR. so not good for me :(

 

sorry to be a downer im sure not all Academy changes are as negative as mine! sorry!

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Guest lillybeth

I am the manager of a nursery run by the governing body of a school. Last year we were told that the school and nursery were going for academy status, I mentioned this to a colleague on a course and she said make sure you are in a good union, I did not heed this advice. Six weeks a go I was told that there was going to be restructuring of the management of the nursery at the end of the summer myself, and the two deputy managers are being made redundant. There is very little you can do about becoming an academy but what soon becomes apparent is that it is all about the money,staff are told to put up with it or leave. What it is all about about is privatisation through the back door. However there will be problems in the future if the academies do not have good business managers and also when the crumbling LEA schools need replacing. I am so sorry that I am being so negative but this a topic very dear to my heart.

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I'm adding to this thread as I know threads on this board are reviewed further down the line and many more people we'll read these comments in the future when faced with the same issues.

 

There were points made at yesterdays meeting of interest. We all know parents are being sold all positive points so we asked for negatives.

 

Once an academy they don't have to abide by 'statutory' so can change ANYTHING. This means they can increase class sizes and employ unqualified teachers. The 1275 hours goes for teachers and many academies have brought in 1350 hours. They can lengthen the school day and increase school days in a year (many parents see this as a positive-no need to pay for before/ after school and less holidays to find/pay for child care) They can bring in their own admissions policies including refusing children (possibly children from 'problem' families or special needs?) Moving schools from the LEA means the pot for money for the LEA decreases and affects all remaining schools-loss of special departments, support services etc. Schools from outlying prosperous areas who become academies are reducing the money and services for the poorer inner city schools.

 

It really is a case of I'm alright Jack and lets ignore the rest. Its privatisation of our education system by the back door so the long term future is worrying....

 

At my school we have asked for the staff ballot to be brought forward to allow time after the result and before the meeting of governors to ballot on strike action.

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Thank you all for replying so far it is certainly very scary and there are lots of issues that i hadn't thought of. We have a fab head and a really good and proactive set of governors at the moment who we do trust completely. The concern though is what happens when our head moves on as I have no doubt she will and governors change as their children progress through the school. We could be fine for a couple of years and then all change. We have several local primary schools that are academies and they seem to have carried on without any changes and their staff are supportive of the change those I've spoken to anyway. Are there any benefits at all to schools/staff/ children?

Deb

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are now told that as of Sept we are going to performance led pay and there will be a new pay structure and staffing changes. im worried that I will not be paid the same, as they are cutting yearly pay increment's as you move up the pay scale so no main point pay scale or upper pay scale and scrapping TLR. so not good for me

This unfortunately is the Gove-ernments plan for all teachers not just happening in academies.

 

It is privatisation of our education services and much can also depend on your LAs approach to academies too. We as an LA have taken a "family of schools" approach, which means we bother with them, even if they are an academy, for example all the independents are as included in all things EYFSP regardless of them getting the funding or not. Same with our academies (although none of our primaries have wanted to convert either but it's a matter of time) and the result is they still want to buy in our services but this isn't the case elsewhere i know.

 

As a teacher you stand to lose all the hard won rights and conditions of employment you now enjoy. You will have no protection of those conditions of employment and I also understand, that if you transfer to the academy and then move back to the maintained sector it affect your continuous service and therefore things like maternity pay etc will be affected.(NUT guidance)

 

 

I am the manager of a nursery run by the governing body of a school. Last year we were told that the school and nursery were going for academy status, I mentioned this to a colleague on a course and she said make sure you are in a good union, I did not heed this advice. Six weeks a go I was told that there was going to be restructuring of the management of the nursery at the end of the summer myself, and the two deputy managers are being made redundant. There is very little you can do about becoming an academy but what soon becomes apparent is that it is all about the money,staff are told to put up with it or leave. What it is all about about is privatisation through the back door. However there will be problems in the future if the academies do not have good business managers and also when the crumbling LEA schools need replacing. I am so sorry that I am being so negative but this a topic very dear to my heart.

 

Lilybeth - I read elsewhere that you said they are effectively going to give your current job to someone else in the school. I am positive this could result in unfair dismissal...will there be a job interview for the new post? Will the job description be the same as yours.... How have they defined the new restructure? I would urge you to get some advice as I have been through several restructures with another one looming and it's really complex but there are legalities which must be followed. If they make you redundant and then just give the same job description to someone else this could be construed as unfair dismissal. I am no expert but it just sounds wrong given what I know from my experiences.

 

From the Citizen's Advice website

"Suitable alternative job offers

If your employer intends to make you redundant, they must consider whether there are other jobs available which you would be capable of doing.

If a suitable job is available, your employer should offer it to you instead of making you redundant.

If a suitable job is available, but your employer fails to offer it to you without a good reason, this could mean that you have been unfairly dismissed and you can make a claim to an employment tribunal.

Whether the alternative job that your employer offers you is suitable will depend on a number of things. These include:

  • the sort of job it is
  • the pay you will get
  • the hours you'll have to work
  • where the job is located
  • your skills, abilities and personal circumstances.

Your employer doesn't have to offer you a similar sort of job or a job in the same workplace.

The offer of alternative employment must be made before your current job ends. The offer can be made in writing or verbally. You must be given enough details about the new job so you know what the difference is between this one and your current job.

 

Cx

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Guest lillybeth

Thank you so much I will look into this. I have not been offered anything, the two deputies were ring fenced for the job of nursery nurse they could both apply, but one decided not to and now the other one has also not gone for it. the decision was based on the job description they gave her it talked about the "key worker" it also talked about birth - three and the foundation stage it was so pathetic it was so out of date and illustrated just how much the school does not know. I am not sure exactly about the running of the nursery they are putting the deputy head from school into the nursery as the "teacher" but all of us are leaving they are in a real mess. This is so painful as I set the nursery up 22 years ago and the parents fund raised for a building of our own, somehow we ended up on the school site in a fantastic new building, so six years ago I became the manager and not the owner. For the last year the Head has done so many things to try and get rid of me, not sure why we have never been busier and now with our Ofsted rating (cant officially say but you cant get better) she looks really silly.

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Thank you so much I will look into this. I have not been offered anything, the two deputies were ring fenced for the job of nursery nurse they could both apply, but one decided not to and now the other one has also not gone for it. the decision was based on the job description they gave her it talked about the "key worker" it also talked about birth - three and the foundation stage it was so pathetic it was so out of date and illustrated just how much the school does not know. I am not sure exactly about the running of the nursery they are putting the deputy head from school into the nursery as the "teacher" but all of us are leaving they are in a real mess. This is so painful as I set the nursery up 22 years ago and the parents fund raised for a building of our own, somehow we ended up on the school site in a fantastic new building, so six years ago I became the manager and not the owner. For the last year the Head has done so many things to try and get rid of me, not sure why we have never been busier and now with our Ofsted rating (cant officially say but you cant get better) she looks really silly.

 

LIllybeth...can i ask who are you employed by? you say you set up the business but then moved to the school site...so at that point did the school take you over? Thinking about redudancy you would be owed either a % of 22 years or 6 years!!! As Catma says they cannot just give your job to someone else it is illegal...if it is the same job and they should have interviewed for it and you should have been included in that process. This would indeed be constructive dismissal and you could take them to court over it (or even just threaten that ...they may have to pay to 'get rid' of you!!!!) get some advice and fight . Im afraid headteachers are just that...they are not always business savvy !

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If the school has taken over the nursery they will HAVE to have a QTS in the nursery. If lillybeth is not QTS it maybe they financially can't afford a QTS and a highly qualified manager?

 

I am a nursery nurse so 'non-teaching staff'. It does seem the teachers will come out of this in a much better position than non-teaching staff. The cleaning will go out to tender so the cleaners will lose their jobs-they could be taken on by a private firm but on what wages and conditions? Same goes for the kitchen staff. The school will opt out of the council school meals service and either take a private company or appoint a 'Meals manager' and keep the kitchen staff. Ethically I worry if we 'opt out' of all these council services what will be the knock on effect for the rest of the children in the city. It would put in danger, school meals (what about children on free meals?) music service, in service training......

 

All the non-teaching staff live locally, most have school age children and all are women. I think the options to move on if you are not happy are much strong for teachers.

 

I have not had a pay rise since 1988 when I reached top scale except the local government pay rise (which has been frozen for the last 3 years). No non-teaching staff will receive a local government pay increase. Ok at the moment but 5 years time we may not have had any increase in pay especially if the school struggles financially. Looks ok now but if something crops up??? roof need repairing, electrics are condemned etc Anyone who owns a house knows even with good budgeting unexpected bills arise.

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If the school has taken over the nursery they will HAVE to have a QTS in the nursery.

Really? Can you tell me where it says this? In one of our local schools this is not the case....thought this was a decision for the headteacher (and often to do with ratios...eg 1:13 not 1:8)

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Our teacher broke her ankle. The head was happy to let me as NN take control but when he checked with legal services he was told that it was not possible it had to be QTS probably because we are a 30 place nursery with 3 staff QTS, NN, TA ie 1:10 If they are short staffed in school and we have 26 or less children (1:13) we lose the TA. We have an SEN child in the afternoons who has 1-1 and if we are 26 or less we lose his 1-1.

 

Numbers equals money :(

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Biccy then we are both saying the same thing aren't we...if the ratio is 1:8 then ok but if higher then you need degree led professional ...but this doesn't mean you need a qts in all school nurseries so in Lillybeths case there is no need for QTS just a desire to take it over from the head....so therefore the legality of this offer is in question.

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Maybe it's about the use of the word nursery - in maintained school based provision this is obviously the 3+ classes and does require a QTS as per EYFS framework, but if the nursery provision taken over was also 0 + then the ratio/qualifications for those ages would apply as per statutory requirements surely??

 

cx

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Sorry guys you are absolutely right ...i have gone back to check on this and the school that i was talking about had a' teacher' in training in the class i was thinking about ...this is actually allowed under the section 122 education act...something i wasn't aware of. <_<

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Guest lillybeth

LIllybeth...can i ask who are you employed by? you say you set up the business but then moved to the school site...so at that point did the school take you over? Thinking about redudancy you would be owed either a % of 22 years or 6 years!!! As Catma says they cannot just give your job to someone else it is illegal...if it is the same job and they should have interviewed for it and you should have been included in that process. This would indeed be constructive dismissal and you could take them to court over it (or even just threaten that ...they may have to pay to 'get rid' of you!!!!) get some advice and fight . Im afraid headteachers are just that...they are not always business savvy !

Hi the school took over when we moved on site but continued to run it as a private concern. So i would imagine my redundancy will be based on 6 years. With regard to my job, the person they are putting into nursery is a teacher that is why I have not been offered the job apparently the head will be the manager of the nursery. I do think they are running scared because we are all leaving and the parents are so angry because they have not been consulted on any level, she also (the Head) appears to be angry of our Ofsted result (which was amazing).

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I think it will be to do with 'value' added. If your ofsted was so good and the Ofsted judgement of the schools Early years department and results at YR2 is lower there will be questions asked. It may even trigger a full school inspection. Headteachers now have to submit their own judgements of their school not just when Ofsted are in so if she was saying you were poor but Ofsted say you are outstanding they will also question her judgements of the rest of the school. Either way it doesn't put her in a good light.

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So are they in effect creating a nursery class which is run as part of the primary school like any other nursery class?? It does all sound just wrong somehow but I'm not an expert in hostile nursery takeovers!

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TUPE is fine but it only applies to a moment in time ie midnight at change over. At 10 minutes passed 12 they can change any thing! (in theory)

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Guest lillybeth

lillybeth ...would you have been prepared to train to teacher level? (sorry cant remember what level you are at present.)

Hi am NNEB plus diploma of pre school practice and have my foundation degree, they never gave me the opportunity of saying whether I would do further training. I think because I am 60 next year they thought i would just leave. My deputy who we had in line to do the EYPS is in the final year of her BA honours in early years they offered her the job of nursery nurse

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Guest lillybeth

So are they in effect creating a nursery class which is run as part of the primary school like any other nursery class?? It does all sound just wrong somehow but I'm not an expert in hostile nursery takeovers!

Hi yes the Head wants the nursery to be just like any other class in the school with a teacher and TA's but we are so worried about the two year old children.

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Guest lillybeth

If the school currently run the nursery as a "private concern" is it worth checking out whether you are covered under TUPE - the link below gives more details

 

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1655

 

It might be worth a phone call to ACAS.

Hi Sue because we went to Academy last September (the nursery included) we have been TUPE;d over I will call ACAS thank you so much xx

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update: we held a secret staff ballot and it went to governors vote tonight

 

"After careful consideration of your views, governors unanimously voted NOT to convert to an academy"

 

Everyone thought it was a forgone conclusion!!! If you don't want it fight it!

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