It may be the case that there's no better aphorism for academy converters than "act in haste, repent at leisure". As more "funding agreements" for academy converters -- schools that are converting to academy status -- come to light, it's becoming increasingly clear that, on average, most schools will need to give the Department for Education seven years notice before they can become maintained schools again. It's a point that the Anti-Academies Alliance
have been saying for some time, while other schools are aware of it, such as Thurstable
. Sadly, I wasn't actually aware of this today when a representative for the NASUWT told me some very depressing facts about academies
Once a school has given notice that it wants to become maintained again, it appears that it can be vulnerable to being taken over by a private company, if the Secretary of State is so minded. Furthermore, while pay and conditions may be the same for most staff, the school has the discretion to rip them up overnight and start again. Basically, as the union rep saw it, the Academies drive is about eroding the power of the unions to negotiate fair pay and conditions for staff. He spoke softly but eloquently about how this government doesn't have a mandate for what it's doing it, but is nevertheless pressing ahead with the privatisation of our education system.