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what questions to ask in meeting regarding school becoming an academy?

(21 Posts)
allinahuddle Wed 23-Mar-16 19:04:57

The school in which I work is due to become part of a MAT in October and we have received a letter this week telling us that our first CPD after Easter will be a meeting regarding this change. We have to confirm our intention to attend in writing and put any questions to the Head in writing so they can be considered by the legal team and then answered at the meeting. I just wondered if anyone here teaches in a school that has joined a MAT and has any advice about what should be asked. I have some ideas (terms and conditions, wages etc) but would appreciate any suggestions of questions people would advise with the benefit of hindsight.

noblegiraffe Wed 23-Mar-16 19:07:03

Will you be guaranteed teaching at your current school only, or will they be able to timetable you into any school in the MAT?

SawdustInMyHair Wed 23-Mar-16 19:24:17

Similarly - how will you have your PPA time allocated - will it be at cross-chain training/meetings, or do you get to manage it yourself/in your school?

kaitlinktm Wed 23-Mar-16 20:33:14

Will your pay and conditions be TUPEd across and for how long - or will you have to re-apply for jobs/sign new contracts?

Will there be any restructuring?

Who will own the site?

t4gnut Thu 24-Mar-16 10:30:46

What pay scale will be used.

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 24-Mar-16 10:50:47

Will the position of the unions be upheld and if not what procedures will be put in place for complaints/appeals.

allinahuddle Thu 24-Mar-16 13:10:25

We have been told we won't have to reapply for jobs and will be transferred on the same pay and conditions but not clear whether this can then change as they have also said they can change pay structure 'to attract most attractive staff.' Does anyone know whether transferring on same P and C automatically means they will be maintained for existing staff?
Some questions I hadn't thought of already though, thanks.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Thu 24-Mar-16 14:47:11

What type of contract will be offered and will the contract in effect start again? If it starts again you might lose the protection you have when you've worked at a place for two years.

I'd want to know whether the staffing structure remains the same E.g. Head, deputy, etc. Or will there be an executive head and head of school.

kaitlinktm Thu 24-Mar-16 15:38:16

Your unions should really be involved here. Our union reps were primed with questions to ask.

allinahuddle Thu 24-Mar-16 17:24:31

Think I will contact the union and see what they say. We have been told that from our point of view everything will stay the same but I was told the same as a parent when my son's school became part of a MAT and it has changed beyond all recognition in just over a year. The entire senior leadership has changed (except one) , the staff are leaving in droves and seem to have been replaced by cover supervisors. I'm feeling apprehensive to say the least.

Eelus Thu 24-Mar-16 17:38:15

TUPE means your current terms and conditions cannot be changed, however any staff changing contracts (change of hours, TLRs) and new staff will be employed under new contracts.
The previous questions are all good questions and I would want to include will your pensions be affected.
I think it's important that they clarify what they intend to do, and what the academies rules allow them to do. For example you may have a great head who intends for everyone to remain working in the school in which they were employed, intends to continue to implement current teachers pay and conditions for changes to contracts, and intends to continue to use the Teachers Pension Scheme as your pension provider. But that could change very quickly under new leadership / tightening of budgets.
My school are looking into MATs and senior SLT all seem quite keen and keep saying that nothing will change. I can't decide if they are genuinely naive or deliberately pulling the wool over our eyes and having secret meetings where they plan how they are going to spend they're big pay rises!

allinahuddle Thu 24-Mar-16 18:42:54

Mmm yeah I think my Head does genuinely believe nothing will change but I'm worried that much of it will not even be down to her. It seems likely that consistecy will be expected with other schools in the MAT so that will affect decisions for a start. I have agreed to a temporary increase in hours for a year with an agreement that it will revert to previous hours after a year. I have no idea whether tho will still stand. Another question to ask I suppose.

ketchupontoast Thu 24-Mar-16 22:59:30

What happens to teachers pensions? My inkling is that this is a back handed idea to deal with the issue of teachers pensions. They will be able to say they never stopped giving the pensions to public sector workers...however no one will be able to keep theirs because they will no longer be public sector. That is my opinion as to why the government are going down this route.

allinahuddle Thu 24-Mar-16 23:21:58

Well I had assumed the pension just stays the same but, of course, that isn't necessarily true. We keep getting reassurances that nothing will change but it's a different employer so it seems really naive to just go along with that belief.

ketchupontoast Thu 24-Mar-16 23:27:13

I don't know if the pension thing is true and it may be just me being sceptical as they had such an issue with it 3/4 years ago. I may be wrong but it could be their get out clause.

allinahuddle Fri 25-Mar-16 08:32:06

Thanks. I'll talk to the union and hopefully get that clarified.

Emochild Sun 27-Mar-16 21:24:27

I would want to ask...

How long before you make up some spurious reason to get rid of the head and bring in one of your own people to run the school?

But i'm guessing that question would be vetoed

allinahuddle Sun 27-Mar-16 22:30:05

Oh that doesn't sound good Emo! Haven't heard of that happening around here, except in cases where the Head was retiring anyway (or so they said!). It's all very worrying.

Emochild Mon 28-Mar-16 04:53:49

Yes several of our local heads 'retired' early

with no notice and no send off

Noodledoodledoo Mon 28-Mar-16 18:25:16

What will happen when the money runs out? We went 4 years ago with lots of promises of being far better off financially - we now get the response of we have no money left in the pot to pay for ........

We aren't part of a MAT though we did the optional transfer.

How are our terms and conditions protected, is directed time protected

In our case its not been too bad but have noticed a creeping of small changes over the past years! We are still in Teachers Pension as well.

What are the benefits apart from more money for the staff/students?

allinahuddle Tue 29-Mar-16 09:24:00

We need a new build school as well. Ours is falling apart. The MAT we are going to be part of seems very small so I'm wondering how (whether!?) they will fund any major work to the building.

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