What you can do
You can see these actions in more detail in ATL's academies checklist.
1. Check if your school has applied for academy status
Contact ATL to see if your school has applied to become an academy.
2. Elect a rep
Having a rep will help make sure your school is organised and can run an effective campaign.
3. Attend TUPE meetings
Employers must inform and consult representatives of the employees who may be affected by the transfer. ATL should always be represented at TUPE meetings - contact your branch secretary if you need support. TUPE rules are complex and advice may need to be sought from ATL's London office on specific queries. For more information, see:
- ATL's introduction to the transfer of undertakings
- ATL's guide to TUPE consultation and the move to academy status
- joint union template letter for reps to give to their headteacher.
4. Secure ATL recognition
If a maintained school is converting to an academy, or, in the amalgamation of more than one school where ATL was already recognised, recognition should be transferred under TUPE arrangements. You or your rep should submit the TUC model recognition agreement to the school, preferably with reps from the other education unions, along with a covering letter. The model agreement contains an annex that provides a framework for schools to establish a joint consulative and negotiating committee (JCNC) and the TUC has also produced guidance to help with discussions between school managers, governors and trade unions. Also see ATL's document Your JCNC - why it is important.
Recognition should be sought/maintained even where there are currently no members at the school. When an independent school is seeking academy status recognition may need to be sought using the TUC model recognition agreement.
ATL is already recognised by and has established policies with a number of existing academies - see ATL's recognition agreements and policies with academies.
ATL has also produced guidance on facilities time in academies.
5. Protect existing terms and conditions
The TUC model recognition agreement includes both a commitment to maintaining School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD), Burgundy Book and Green Book terms and conditions, and to the establishment of a framework for ongoing employer-union negotiations, hence the importance of submitting it to your governors.
Existing teachers will 'TUPE' across to the academy under the STPCD and the Burgundy Book. Ensure the STPCD and Burgundy Book will continue to apply to existing and new staff.
If the school chooses to move away from the STPCD and Burgundy Book, ensure a forum is established to negotiate replacement policies with staff immediately. Clear policies and structures should be in place before any new staff can be appointed.
Existing support staff will 'TUPE' across to the academy on their existing terms and conditions. This means the Green Book will still apply, except in the handful of LAs who have previously opted out. If the school chooses to move away from the Green Book, you should ensure, with the recognised support staff unions, that a forum is established to negotiate replacement policies with staff immediately. Clear policies and structures should be in place before any new staff can be appointed.
AMiE has produced some guidance for its members on academy status and the TUC model recognition agreement.
6. Seek to preserve continuity of service
The move to academy status means that staff will no longer have the automatic right to continuity of service for the purpose of redundancy payments and some other contractual benefits, such as annual leave and occupational sick pay, when moving between schools.
Your reps and branches will need to raise the issue with both the old and new employer during the TUPE discussions, to ensure that teachers and support staff can move between an academy and a maintained school (and vice versa) without any loss of rights. See:
- ATL's guidance on TUPE consultation and the move to academy status
- ATL's factsheet on leaving an academy and continuous service.
7. Protect pensions
Pensions are not covered by TUPE transfers, but all academies must provide membership of the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS) or Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) to all eligible staff. Ensure the school is aware it needs to provide access to the TPS and LGPS and that contributions are collected. See:
8. Keep colleagues informed
Keep colleagues fully aware of what is happening within the school, and consider whether it is appropriate to hold meetings for members. Where appropriate, these should be joint meetings with members of the GMB, NASUWT, NUT, Unison and Unite. See ATL's guidance on arranging staff meetings.
9. Keep ATL informed
It's important you keep in touch with us so we can give you the support you need. Liaise closely with your ATL Branch, and you can also contact ATL's London office.
Full list of resources for schools that have been given the go-ahead to convert to academy status:
- ATL's FAQs on academies for governors
- Joint union FAQs on academies for staff
- Joint union FAQs on academies for parents
- Downloadable version of ATL's academies checklist (see section 2)
- ATL guidance on TUPE consultation and the move to academy status
- ATL factsheet on leaving an academy and continuous service
- ATL academies and facilities time guidance
- ATL guidance on arranging staff meetings
- TUC model recognition agreement for academies in England
- TUC guidance to help with discussions between school managers, governors and trade unions
- Covering letter for the model recognition agreement
- ATL's introduction to the transfer of undertakings
- Your school joint consultative negotiating committee - why it is important
- AMiE guidance on academy status and the TUC model recognition agreement.