Joint statement on sixth form colleges and academy status

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03 January 2017 by ATL
The SFCA, ATL, NUT and UNISON have drafted guidance which is intended to help sixth form college corporations and trade union representatives work together cooperatively and avoid disputes when college corporations pursue applications for conversion to academy status.

The Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) recognises that it is the trade unions’ right to represent and protect the interests of their members employed in sixth form colleges both individually and collectively. In turn, the trade unions recognise that it is each college corporation’s responsibility to manage and deliver education to students at the college and seek to ensure the security of the college as an institution.

The SFCA and the trade unions remain committed to the joint institutions and working practices which have existed in the sixth form colleges’ sector since incorporation in 1994 and which have helped secure stability and harmony in the sector. The SFCA recognises that the trade unions have concerns about the implications of academy status for their members with regard to matters such as pay and conditions, employment security, trade union recognition and negotiation and consultation arrangements in the academy sector.

The SFCA and the trade unions wish to continue to work together and with individual colleges for the good of the sixth form colleges sector. To that end, the SFCA and the trade unions have agreed that, when any sixth form college corporation decides to pursue conversion to academy status, it is the joint view of the SFCA and the trade unions that the college should agree the following principles at college level with trade union representatives in order to provide assurances about these concerns:

  • Existing arrangements for trade union recognition and for negotiation and consultation within the college will be maintained.
  • The college will maintain its membership of the SFCA and its participation in the NJC for sixth form colleges to the greatest extent permitted by its new status.
  • Teachers and support staff at the college will in all cases be employed under the “Red Book” and “Lilac Book” nationally agreed pay and conditions arrangements and there will be no worsening in any other employment procedures following change of status.
  • There will be no worsening of the existing entitlements for employees, parents and students to participation in governance following a change of status, to the extent permitted by its new status.
  • Existing arrangements for communication, for participation and involvement of staff, for effective and prompt resolution of issues and disputes and for discussion of professional issues such as teaching and learning will be maintained.
  • The college will continue to facilitate employees to become union members and to provide facilities for trade union representatives.

While each situation will need to be considered individually, the trade unions have agreed with the SFCA that, in general, where such assurances have been given and the above principles are being acted upon, there will not normally be reason for opposition on these grounds to the proposal to convert. The trade unions and the SFCA will jointly make every effort to resolve any difficulties which may arise in individual situations. 

Joint statement on sixth form colleges and academy status


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