Is it always horrendous working in an academy?

(31 Posts)
MyPreciousRing Thu 03-Apr-14 07:54:41

Looking increasingly likely that school I'm at will become an academy.
Is it time to find a new school?
Is it as terrible as everybody says to work in ab academy?

Endymion Thu 03-Apr-14 07:56:31

Depends on the academy I guess. Ok if self managed. But I've heard bad things about the sponsored (Harris for example) academies.

MyPreciousRing Thu 03-Apr-14 08:02:13

Thanks. Just don't know what to do for the best. Been here for years and a scary prospect to move on.

Endymion Thu 03-Apr-14 08:14:18

If our school became an academy it would be in a chain of local schools, similar ethos and goals. If our school was forced into academisation it would be a case of accepting Harris. I would be seriously considering removing my children if that happened - because I would be concerned about the impact that would have on staff morale, as well as the ability of the management team to shape the improvement of the school themselves.

Most schools round here are academies now. All the secondaries are and prob around 60% of the primaries. Academies per se are not something I agree with, but they seem to work where the school has decided to go it alone and without being pushed.

EvilTwins Thu 03-Apr-14 19:54:01

I work in an academy. It's fine. It's a sponsored academy (AET) which has had fair amount of bad press, but I really don't have an issue with it. AET have very little to do with us on a day to day basis, and my life as a teacher hasn't changed since we converted 2 years ago, other than the changes hoisted on us by Gove.

All of the secondary schools in my area are academies. It seems impossible to escape from them.

PuppyMummy Fri 04-Apr-14 19:39:31

we changed to an academy and now part of a multi academy trust. few negative changes tbh. pay and conditions same daily running mostly the same.

good things is that we are now getting loads of building and improvements done, which is well overdue.

flowery Fri 04-Apr-14 19:47:11

I'm interested. Why the perception that a school which is a good place to work will suddenly become a terrible horrendous place to work just because it becomes an academy?

I'm a governor at an academy, btw, intrigued by this perception.

EvilTwins Fri 04-Apr-14 19:50:26

I think it's the assumption that because an academy can change T&C, it automatically will. Lots of "we're an academy, we can do what we want" concerns.

mrsnewfie Fri 04-Apr-14 19:57:53

My experience has been really bad! I left today. It has really put me off teaching altogether. My school is part of a well know South London chain and there will be a mass exodus in the summer.

kittenmittens Fri 04-Apr-14 20:06:15

Fight it! My dad helped launch a successful campaign against their school being made into an academy.

Have a look at this website, you could contact a local group and see if they can help - antiacademies.org.uk/

LizzieVereker Fri 04-Apr-14 20:12:39

I haven't found it to be so. It's tremendously hard work but what school isn't these days? And the training and opportunities I've been offered are amazing.

flowery Fri 04-Apr-14 20:20:25

Surely it will largely depend on the leadership team and governing body?

GrumpyCat Fri 04-Apr-14 20:29:09

My experience has been awful to be honest. Staff morale is through the floor and people are being forced out in droves but hey at least they want to improve the buildings hmm

We keep telling ourselves that things will get better but I can't see it sad

EvilTwins Fri 04-Apr-14 20:29:36

Yes, but also on how much pressure comes from any sponsor/chain. Some put in an executive head, some have certain policies which must be adhered to. Depends also on why the school became an academy. Was it the head's idea? Was it something pushed on them. Lots of variables.

GrumpyCat Fri 04-Apr-14 20:32:05

If only that was true flowery - what do you do when your leadership team and the governing body have been binned and those appointed by the sponsor are dreadful? It is grim.

MissBetseyTrotwood Fri 04-Apr-14 20:34:25

I worked in an academy but with an 'old school' HT. It was very unionised too, mainly because he'd taken a lot of the experienced workforce at his old school with him when he was drafted in to set up the academy.

I'd take a good look at the SLT and HT and make your decision then.

MissBetseyTrotwood Fri 04-Apr-14 20:36:20

Sorry, X posted with GrumpyCat . It was different at ours because it was a new school opening and the SLT was 'transparent' from the off.

flowery Fri 04-Apr-14 20:58:57

Yes that makes sense Grumpy. I suppose a lot depends on the circumstances of the conversion doesn't it?

GrumpyCat Fri 04-Apr-14 21:42:41

The nature of the conversion is key. We were told to go, as in jump before you are pushed - Harris, aet, e-act were some of the options offered to improve our situation!!

Our local primary is going down the academy trust route by choice. I want to scoop up my children and run away to a place where there are no academies but then my view is tarnished by being part of a sponsored chain grin

flowery Fri 04-Apr-14 22:24:47

grin

Well if it reassures you, our school converted by choice, and it's a fab school, and I'm more than happy for my DCs to go there.

Clearly I'm biased being a governor, but not really, as I'm a parent also. grin

GrumpyCat Fri 04-Apr-14 22:45:19

That's good to hear flowery smile

what makes my head hurt more than anything is that the chain do not seem to appreciate that the vast majority of the school staff are also parents. Parents who, like any other parent, want the best for their children (and I'm not just talking about exam results). An environment where staff are treated in such a terrible way, threatened with constant redundancy, working practices chopped and changed as frequently as the wind changes direction and the constant criticism of not inspiring children as per the latest ofsted fad is not the future I want for my children. If I don't want to subject my children to this environment how on earth can I encourage others to attend this as their catchment area school?

phlebasconsidered Sat 05-Apr-14 08:19:38

Not scientific I know, but out of 5 friends in 5 schools that have been made into academies, all 5 of them have left for other schools, or the profession entirely! My own experience of (forced) academisation was vile, and truly bullying and cruel. I've never seen such tactics used on staff whose faces didn't "fit". And the school got worse.

I'm sure there are good experiences, but i've not met another teachers who has had one!

heymatilda Sun 06-Apr-14 07:25:54

Again my experience was with a well known chain in South London. Was honestly awful and resulted in me leaving the profession.

I would get in at 6.30/7am and the school car park would already be full. Teachers were working 12+ hrs a day due to constant deadlines, target setting, interventions, etc. Frequent obs, learning walks, etc, usually with very little notification but lots of criticism. Lots of teachers being told they were in danger of job loss as a result of these. I really felt a sense of fear and insecurity amongst staff and so many I knew were frequently in tears, having breakdowns. I left before it happened to me!

MyPreciousRing Sun 06-Apr-14 11:20:28

So on balance I could do with running far and running fast?
I will start looking now and keep my ear to the ground, a set of good results in summer could save us; perhaps I need to play it by ear with a move to making a decision which would see me starting a new school in January if things start to head in the wrong direction.
Many thanks to all of you who have taken the time to reply.

russetbella1000 Tue 08-Apr-14 21:59:29

Yep I'm in a primary academy in Croydon...Absolutely awful, no resources but plenty of money being made and suspicious tendering going on for building works etc. Headteacher using close friends/family to fulfil the contracts etc...Just a very negative feeling about. Everyone on edge and acting like robots mainly because they have recruited, deliberately inexperienced staff who they can mould and intimidate. Ridiculous pay scale based on performance etc etc

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