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Guidance on transfer of school staff to academies
This page highlights some key employment issues relevant to the transfer of schools from maintained to academy status, including TUPE and continuous local government service. It also provides links to LGA guidance relevant to the transfer process and points to Department for Education FAQs on academies. Together, these provide a resource for schools and local authorities going through this period of change.
Background and TUPE
The Academies Act 2010 gives all maintained schools the opportunity to become academies. These are publically-funded schools that are independent of local authority control. Like all schools they will be able to buy in private services, such as HR services, including buying back services from the local authority should they so wish. In terms of the workforce the main implication is that the school will be able to set its own pay and conditions for staff.
However, when a maintained school becomes an academy, the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) will apply, meaning that employees working in the maintained school will transfer to the academy, and the academy will become their employer. This brings with it the requirement to consult with employee representatives on the proposed change of employer and the implications of the transfer.
Transferred employees will also have protected employment rights under TUPE. Therefore, in the immediate future when schools convert to academy status, teachers and support staff will retain their current contractual rights. This means that the statutory School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) will be incorporated into their contracts, as will the Conditions of service for school teachers in England and Wales ('Burgundy Book') and any local agreements between the local authority and the recognised teacher unions. Similarly, whatever arrangements currently apply to school support staff - whether this is based on the national agreement negotiated within the National Joint Council for local government services in respect of staff in community schools, or other local arrangements which apply to staff in foundation schools and voluntary aided schools - will transfer. For newly-appointed staff, however, the academy will be able to determine new pay and conditions arrangements.
Links to relevant information
The Department for Education website contains a range of FAQS relating to HR matters in respect of academies, including TUPE and pension arrangements, as well as further guidance for schools becoming academies, which includes some advice on TUPE transfers.
The LGA provides comprehensive advice on TUPE matters, including:
- Handling the TUPE Process - Staff transfer checklist
- Guidance on data protection issues in TUPE transfers
- A guide to the 2006 changes to the law on TUPE
Continuity of local government service employment
An employee who transfers to an academy under TUPE will have continuity of service preserved for redundancy entitlements. An employee who voluntarily goes to work for an academy (not under TUPE) will have that period of employment counted as continuous service within local government under the Redundancy Payments (Continuity of Employment in Local Government, etc.) (Modification) Order 1999 (RMO).
Existing academies established under section 482 of the Education Act (EA 1996) are covered by the RMO (under paragraph 8, section 3 of Schedule 1). New academies are also covered because sub-section 17(4) of the Academies Act 2010 says that "EA 1996 and sections 1 to 13, 15 and 16 of this Act are to be read as if those sections were contained in EA 1996".
Further details of how the RMO operates are on the LGA RMO webpage.