Sunday 6 June 2010

Letter and meeting for reps in 'outstanding' schools

Below is a model letter - based on that drafted first by Bradford to send to NUT reps in 'outstanding' schools. Also encorage reps to attend:

London NUT Regional Office have called an emergency meeting for all school reps in “outstanding” schools to plan together how we can oppose an increasing numbers of academies and mechanisms to support all NUT members.
The meeting will be at 5pm on 16th June 2010 at Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1 H 9BD.

Dear NUT Representative

Michael Gove’s Academy invitation is one that must be refused

I am writing to you because we believe that your Headteacher has recently received a letter from Michael Gove, the new Secretary of State for Education, inviting your school to become an academy, possibly from this September. Nationally, some schools have apparently already registered an interest.

If, as we believe, your school has been rated as “outstanding” by OFSTED, then this change to Academy status can happen virtually automatically. All that is needed is for the Headteacher to complete an online registration form on the Department for Education website, and for the governing body to subsequently pass a motion confirming the request.

This would mean that you and your colleagues would very quickly change from your present employer (legally required to honour national pay scales and hours of work and local agreements such as maternity leave and sick pay) to one with new powers to change your pay and conditions. Indeed, the ability to make such changes is one reason Michael Gove gives to encourage schools to take this step.

For this reason, it is very important that you find out, and let me know as soon as possible, what your headteacher’s intentions are, and whether a Governing Body meeting is being arranged to discuss the issue.

The new Government is seeking to end local authority involvement in education. If they succeed in this new “opting-out” drive, schools will become totally fragmented, operating under regulations set in London, with less rather than more capacity to influence the context in which they work.

The effect of a significant number of schools in XXXXX becoming academies will be to threaten the capacity of the Local Authority to provide a wide range of services, from special needs to Occupational Health; from pensions to payroll services; from school transport to NQT induction; from governor support services to in-service training. The only extra money that Academies will get is the money that currently funds these services – but an Academy would still have to purchase these kinds of services.

School admissions arrangements will become increasingly chaotic, threatening comprehensive education in the Authority, and the mechanism for schools to work together will be broken.

The capacity of your Union to represent you will also be threatened, because people like myself who are freed from teaching to represent, advise and support you and your colleagues will find it virtually impossible to get that release time if there is no local authority to fund and arrange it.

Please take this situation very seriously and let us know what you can find out so that we can offer you any support necessary.

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