Monday, November 21, 2011

Prince Henry's School Strike

Have corrected the embarrassing oceans mix up in the previous post, which lends weight to the theory that if I hadn't been in charge of the navigation, they would have had it wrapped up by mid September.

Anyway, up in Otley, staff at Prince Henry's School are on strike because their school is converting to an academy. The teachers are concerned that their pay and conditions might change, whereas Janet Sheriff the Head, says that they have no need to worry and the school has absolutely no intention of changing them.

Now in my experience words don't mean a great deal, so if Ms Sheriff is telling the truth then why not put this in writing and offer the teachers a contract, worded along the lines of: 

"We, the body tasked to run Prince Henry's Academy, undertake always to employ teachers under the same pay and conditions as Leeds City Council do. We further undertake not to pass control of the academy to any group not honouring the above guarantee"

Right, that's that sorted out, so you can all move away from the charcoal brassieres and get back to work.
(By the way, you might wish to get a solicitor to draw up that contract as my legal abilities are on a par with my knowledge of Geography). Oh and if any reader has contacts at the school, perhaps they could pass on this suggestion to Ms Sheriff- her reply would be interesting...


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately schools are not allowed by the government to guarantee no change in Terms and Conditions otherwise they are not accepted to become Acadamies.
They could put their "intention" not to change Terms and Conditions in writing but legally it wouldn't mean anything.

Anonymous said...

Quote from Lord Hill letter:

‘We consider the ability to set the pay and conditions of staff to be one of the key freedoms of academy status. Consequently the existence of any such agreement will be a significant factor in the assessment the Secretary of State will make before deciding whether or not to enter into a Funding Agreement for an Academy’

In other words, don't put any guarantee to maintain national Terms and Conditions in your Acadamy Constitution or you won't be accepted.
If it wasn't for this there would be far far fewer complaints about Academy conversion.

Anonymous said...

I quote from Mrs Sheriff's communication to parents dated 21/11/11.
"Governors will put in writing their intention to continue to adhere to the national and local conditions of service currently in place."

I love the word intention; to the uninformed of the law around academies it sounds like a brilliant offer and if i was a parent i'd be demanding the slackers get back to work. An excellent example of manipulation of the facts for your own benefit Mrs Sheriff well done!

Anonymous said...

As it happens this is the local comp where my daughter goes - the "grammar school" moniker is of historical interest only, it's a comp.

And wouldn't you know that the ones the pupils say are the worst teachers are all out?


As of now, the head has asked twice for the unions to go to ACAS.

(bottom letter entitled "Strike Action Update 21 Nov 2011"

"We have already approached ACAS to support conciliatory discussions but the unions have declined to engage in the process. We have now approached ACAS a second time and we will wait to see if unions are willing to engage this time.

The proposals put forward by the unions did not address the three issues that form the basis of the trade dispute"

In any case it is done now so this is all just politicking.

The true purpose of Academies as you all know is the back-door abolition of the LEAs (by peacemeal removal of schools from their control into the hands of parent governors) and of national pay bargaining (to allow more local flexibility in wages than just "London weighting").

Those two are the entire point of Academies. Labour know that and that is why they are so dead against them. Parents know it too and that is why they are in favour. 40% of secondaries are academies already, and before the next election it will probably be well over 60%.

Anonymous said...

Academies can not agree to preserve pay and conditions which is why I guess the only action that will agree with union demands is not to become an academy (political? OR the only solution to the dispute).

ACAS is all well and good but considering the academy comes in to existence on the 1st December I can't help but see how ACAS would resolve anything in that time frame, hence why the union asked for a delay in the 1st December start date.

This is the destruction of state education, i suppose the decision to be made now is like the NHS. Do we want a state education and health service or do we want it semi-privatised? Of course people will be split. No problem with privatised education - that's a choice. But we've seen before how privatisation of state resources is a game of greed where a few profit and the people who use the service suffer in how much it costs them or what they get for their tax payers money. A sad state of affairs

Anonymous said...

Re comment anon @21:33

I would like to retract paragraph 2 which on reflection is untrue and an unfair dig.

PHGS teachers are actually very good on the whole, and I am sorry for making such a nasty remark.

Anonymous said...

Which is more than can be said for the management or, specifically, one management husband, who is the prime mover and shaker in getting Prince Henry's to join his little empire of successful high schools, with himself as Emperor.

Of course it makes a difference: for a start, your unbroken service with the authority ends when an Academy becomes your employer. If you're ever up for redundancy after 20 years with Leeds City Council, see how much of a difference that makes to your payout.

Anonymous said...

To the last commenter - TUPE rules apply, won't they?

Anonymous said...

Re: comment anon@07:26
Thank you for (very rightly) withdrawing this statement.

Anonymous said...

You can see the union response to parents and the community at:

Anonymous said...

TUPE applies so no break in service and no changes to contracts unless agreed with the individual. In the real world your occupational pension would not transfer and you would become a deferred member. In the wonderful public sector world of schools becoming academies your pension is protected. You would have thought the unions would have understood TUPE!

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