Lord Hill (the Schools Minister, do keep up at the back there) has written to the heads of schools wanting to become academies to threaten them that they can’t become academies if they reach agreement with the NAS/UWT union.
Lord Hill has threatened headteachers that their bid for academy status is in jeopardy if they enter into any agreement with the NASUWT to maintain national pay and conditions of service.(from the NAS/UWT site)
Here’s the offending document. I can’t work out how to link to it so I’ve copied and pasted it here, with apologies to the NAS.UWT.
LORD HILL LETTER TO ACADEMIES JAN 2011.pdf
Lord Hill says in his first paragraph that “We consider the freedom to set the pay and conditions of staff to be one of the key freedoms of Academy status.”
If the reader is under any illusion that these “key freedoms” include “paying staff over the national rate”, he threatens that any school that reaches an agreement to keep to the national rate will not get Academy status.
Maybe my English Comprehension skills just aren’t up to the appropriate standard but this threat seems pretty clear. I never studied Fundamentals of English/European Law but the legality of this seems at least doubtful.
The NAS/UWT seem to be of the same opinion:
The letter also offers advice on academy conversion that, if followed, would place schools in breach of their statutory obligations, leaving them vulnerable to legal action.
Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary,said:
“Quite frankly, I am astonished that a Minister would commit to writing such threats and deeply flawed advice.
“For a peer and a Minister to encourage the flouting of the law is, I believe, unprecedented.
“Academies” aren’t exactly covered in glory, as it is, even before they are entered in an unseemly rush for the cheapest teachers.
On 12 January Sky News reported that
Around a quarter of the worst performing secondary schools in England are academies, according to the latest set of league tables.”
Quite how bad are these academies going to be when they only employ teachers on lower pay and conditions?