ATL ready to work with revised-role academies

6 Sep 07
A leading teaching union is softening its stance on city academy schools following a shift in the government's attitude.

07 September 2007

A leading teaching union is softening its stance on city academy schools following a shift in the government's attitude.

Copies of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' new position statement will be circulated at the Trades Union Congress's annual conference in Brighton next week.

The union has been heartened by recent ministerial statements on academies, which have emphasised the importance of collaboration with neighbouring schools and promised better relationships between academies, local authorities and universities.

Martin Johnson, ATL's acting deputy general secretary, told Public Finance that the union was taking the statements seriously and was reassured that they addressed many concerns the union had had about the academies.

He denied that the ATL had softened its position, but said the union would be prepared to work positively with academies that met expected standards on pay and conditions, union recognition, governance and admissions.

'Insofar as the model increasingly being adopted is one in which the local authority is a sponsor, or at least has a close relationship [with the academy], we can expect those criteria to be met, we can expect those academies to be part of local communities of schools,' he said.

In July, Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls announced that nine universities had expressed an interest in sponsoring new academies.

'An academy sponsored by a university and a local authority looks like a different kind of institution from a free-standing academy under the control of a carpet salesman,' Johnson said.

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