These tips, guidance and resources will help you to work with members to protect your rights for now and into the future, whichever route your school or college is taking.

Changing to academy status

Maintained school governing boards and sixth from college proprietors may choose to convert to academy status, overseen by a sponsor.  Your school or college might become a stand-alone academy, run by a single academy trust.  Alternatively, your school or college might join together with a group of schools under a multi- academy trust (referred to as a MAT).  This might involve your school or college joining an existing multi-academy trust or creating a new multi-academy trust.

Each of these changes will involve the transfer of work, land, buildings, pupils/students and staff from one body to another body.  The school or college staff will transfer to a new employer – the academy trust.

Transferring from a single academy to a multi-academy trust

Existing stand-alone academies may choose or be forced to move to a MAT.  Again, these changes will involve the transfer of work, land, buildings, pupils/students and staff from one body to another body.  The staff in the single academy will transfer to a new employer – the MAT.    Changing multi-academy trust
We have seen some MATs taking over existing MATs.  The work, land, buildings, pupils/students and staff transfer from one body to another body.  The staff transfer from the old MAT to the employment of the MAT that takes over.  In some circumstances the change may also mean a change of employer for the staff in the MAT that is taking over.  The NEU can advise you in these circumstances.

A note about free schools

In the majority of cases, the creation of a free school will differ from a transfer to an academy school in that the free school will be a new school on a new site with new pupils and new staff.  There is unlikely to have been a transfer to a new employer in these circumstances.

However, some existing private schools are becoming free schools and, in these circumstances, the transfer will involve a change in the employer for existing staff.

Also, some free schools are being created when existing schools or colleges are merged, taken-over or closed.  In these cases, the NEU argues that the change would involve a transfer to a new employer.  If you believe that your school, or a distinct unit of your school, is closing in anticipation of the creation of a free school, or is being merged with a free school, please contact your branch, NEU contact or the NEU AdviceLine for advice.

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