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Academy chains

(36 Posts)
theduchessstill Thu 08-Feb-18 06:13:22

Is there a website for teachers where you can find out about working conditions in particular chains? I can find stuff aimed at parents, but not teachers. I'm considering leaving the school where I have been forever, and don't want to have the dreaded conversation if it turns out I would be withdrawing anyway due to having to work Saturdays/be there until 7pm each night etc. Also, I obviously don't want to find myself worse off than I am now in terms of work-life balance...


MrsPatterson2014 Thu 08-Feb-18 07:40:59

If it's a South London academy chain - don't. Horrendous ethos, never ending observations. You will be working until 7 and weekends.

theduchessstill Thu 08-Feb-18 10:39:41

That's what I'm scared of - but this one is in the East Midlands. It seems so hard to get any info on working conditions and you hear so many horror stories...

TuftedLadyGrotto Thu 08-Feb-18 20:53:11

I work for a teaching trade union and don't hear much good about any of the big chains tbh. If you want to pm me the name I can see if its one I've dealt with positively or negatively.

Bobbiepin Thu 08-Feb-18 20:54:25

Can you inbox me which one it is? I've worked for two so can tell you my experiences of those but frankly any large multi academy trust is awful.

theduchessstill Thu 08-Feb-18 20:56:28

Thanks for those offers - I will pm both.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 08-Feb-18 20:57:24

I work for a MAT. Still on STPCD, supportive leadership. The only problem is the bureaucracy of centralised services. It takes ages to do an ESPO order...

phlebasconsidered Thu 08-Feb-18 21:06:43

Research them. I just left a chain which instantly began to force out older and more expensive teachers. To replace them with unqualified and nqt's. I was routinely told to work later and they controlled all ppa time. Expectations were awful. We were all told to buy our own pencils once our free 30 had run out and were working without a TA, yet we supported a huge management structure.

I wouldn't touch our local 3 MATS with a barge pole.

EvilTwins Sat 10-Feb-18 13:24:32

I left a school that had been destroyed by AET - avoid them like the plague. They are too big and don't give a s**t about any individuals in their schools. The regional guy used to come in and swan around like some kind of monarch, but didn't have a clue about the school, its circumstances or context. He would introduce himself every time he came in, despite the fact that he'd met most people plenty of times before. He never remembered anyone by name.

The school was with them for 4 years, in which time it went into special measures, got through 7 temporary head teachers (and 1 "substantive" head who lasted 3 months) Even at top AET level, their turnover was huge. We had 2 different regional people within that time, and never knew who was running what. Horrendous.

leccybill Sat 10-Feb-18 13:32:19

I work in an academy that is not part of a chain. I don't think it's as bad as some of the big chains but it's still bad. Expectations are very high, in terms of deadlines, QA, scrutiny, observations. Things like lunch duties and intervention in the holidays are all unpaid and expected.
There's no union rep and never any mention of wellbeing or worklife balance. You're meant to be 'on board' with everything or you're not and you leave. (I'm not and I will leave in the summer!). Lots of young and keen staff, very corporate feel. Good CPD opportunities and rapid progression to management roles if you're looking for that (I'm not!). Think carefully.

theduchessstill Sat 10-Feb-18 14:44:13

Thanks - so many horror stories out there yet it seems so hard to get information about particular chains unless you happen to know someone there.

At the moment I'm in a stand alone academy which took on that status to avoid being taken over. I've been there for years and it's really gone down hill recently due to poor leadership. The chair of governors is an absolute joke, yet it seems there is no getting rid of him, or even anywhere to complain to. Amateurs can run schools into the ground it seems, and you just have t sit and wait to be taken over, rather than being able to do anything proactive about it if you're a teacher.

This is why I'm considering a chain. Perhaps I'd rather be somewhere corporate where there is a degree of competence, rather than being at the whim of someone who runs a school for a hobby! Don't want to end up even more overworked than I am already though. Aaargh - wish you could 'try before you buy'!

Shadowboy Sat 10-Feb-18 14:47:22

Academy chains are horrendous to work for. I’ve been teaching 11 years and the one year I survived in an academy was horrible. I used to cry on a Sunday night.

Bobbiepin Sat 10-Feb-18 15:23:00

@eviltwins do you work at my AET school? Thst sounds exactly like mine!

MaisyPops Sat 10-Feb-18 15:28:36

It depends on the chain.
I work in a small chain and there's been little difference since we converted to being an academy.We went around the time it was 'strong schools should jump'.

Others (such as a large one around the north/ midlands) i wouldn't work in if you paid me twice my salary. Very much they have THEIR way which they copy and paste to schools. Amusingly, they're having issues in one school in my region because it turns out you can't copy and paste.

EvilTwins Sat 10-Feb-18 15:31:19

@Bobbiepin - don't know... I'm not really there any more - left in the summer but go back now to teach KS4 as they didn't replace me and were going to take the subject off the curriculum instead. That'll give it away if you do know me!

theduchess don't assume that corporate means competent.... That's not how it's been in my experience!

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Feb-18 15:37:21

Google it and see if it's one of the academy chains that are in financial trouble, is run by fraudsters or has had to hand back schools.

theduchessstill Sat 10-Feb-18 15:47:19

Haven't been able to find anything worrying by googling. In fact, nothing comes up other than their own sites - perhaps a good sign as it suggests no other parties have had cause to write anything about them?

Their website states that they like to support new schools while still enabling them to keep their own character/uniqueness. Promising, or bollocks?

EvilTwins Sat 10-Feb-18 15:50:29

Who is it?

EvilTwins Sat 10-Feb-18 15:51:22

Lack of info could also mean that they have a legal dept who shuts things down if there is negative publicity!

theduchessstill Sat 10-Feb-18 15:58:20

Gosh - I hadn't thought of that confused.

It's L.E.A.D - Midlands based and into S Yorks, mix of primary and secondary and 25 schools altogether. Don't know if that is actually considered to be a large chain?

EvilTwins Sat 10-Feb-18 16:02:05

this on the NASUWT website suggests there have been issued with regards to fair pay.

theduchessstill Sat 10-Feb-18 16:10:58

Thanks, Evil. It's disappointing. I've never had pay problems where I am now, but others have. The way things are headed I suppose it's jump now to somewhere not perfect, or wait until we are taken over by a group that could be a lot worse sad.

Bobbiepin Sat 10-Feb-18 16:15:39

@eviltwins I don't think so. Reading your post again our head teachers haven't been quite so bad (although 7 in 6 years is terrible) so must be a different school. I hope to never work for a large MAT again.

EvilTwins Sat 10-Feb-18 16:21:35

Bobbiepin doesn’t say much for AET does it? Ours was taken over by them in 2014 and one of the first things they did was get rid of the Head. The school has now gone to a different academy trust (in January this year) so between Feb 2014 and December 2017, there were 8 heads. Ridiculous.

Bobbiepin Sat 10-Feb-18 16:53:53

Oh very little. They're all the same. The last CEO drama sums it up for me.

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