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The regulations that place requirements on maintained schools do not directly apply to academies. General employment law applies to academies in the same way as to other organisations
The Academy Trust has responsibility for setting pay and conditions.
Older academy funding agreements require any person employed as a teacher at an academy to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or be otherwise eligible to do specified work which includes the following activities:
For staff who transfer to an academy under TUPE who were previously employed to do specified work, and will undertake specified work in the academy, but who do not have QTS and are not eligible to do specified work under the regulations, the Academy Trust must use best endeavours to ensure that those people meet the requirements as soon as possible.
The current funding agreement removes the requirement for teachers to have QTS. Teachers must be suitably qualified. Older academies may seek a revision to their funding agreements to gain this freedom.
The funding agreement sets out that all teachers employed at an academy must have access to the Teachers Pensions Scheme and that the Academy Trust complies with the statutory provisions underlying the scheme. All other employees at an academy must have access to the Local Government Pension Scheme.
Q: Do academy principals need to hold a headship qualification?
A: There is no requirement on academy principals to hold the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) or any other qualification.
Q: Are academies bound by the School Teacher’s Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD)?
A: Unlike maintained schools academies are not bound by the STPCD but staff may have been TUPEd over from the predecessor school on their existing pay and conditions. The Academy Trust/governing body is responsible for setting the pay and conditions of academy staff. This enables governing bodies to be innovative in how they reward and incentivise staff.
Q: Will the new Teachers’ Standards apply to staff in academies?
A: New standards for qualified teachers will be introduced from 1 September 2012, setting minimum requirements for teachers’ professional practice and conduct, from the point of qualification. These standards will be used by maintained schools to monitor performance and steer professional development. The standards will apply to academies only according to the processes they decide to adopt:
From April 2012, the new Teaching Agency will use Part 2 of the Teachers' Standards, relating to personal and professional conduct, to assess cases of serious misconduct against teachers in any educational setting.
Q: When appointing a teacher, what checks need to be done?
A: When an Academy Trust/governing body appoints a teacher, it must check that the person meets any qualifications requirements and the governing body must be satisfied that the candidate has the necessary physical and mental capacity for the post.
An Academy Trust must comply with the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010 (or such other regulations as may for the time being be applicable) in relation to carrying out enhanced CRB checks, obtaining enhanced criminal records certificates and making any further checks, as required and appropriate for members of staff and supply staff, as well as governors and the chair of the governing body.
Q: Does an academy have the same responsibilities as other employers around avoiding discriminatory practice?
A: Yes, applicants for posts at the academy must be judged on their merits against the objective requirements for the job. It is unlawful to give one candidate a better chance than another. Allegations that candidates have been given preferential treatment, or similar, may lead to an Employment Tribunal. There are slightly different arrangements for academies with a faith designation. These are dealt with below.
The Academy Trust, as the employer, will need to be aware of its duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equalities Act 2010.
Q: What disciplinary and grievance procedures can an academy use?
A: The Academy Trust is responsible for setting their own disciplinary rules and procedures for staff. These must include rules and procedures for dealing with a lack of capability on the part of any member of staff. They must also have procedures for staff to follow if they have a complaint about their employment. Both the Academy Trust and the principal have power to suspend on full pay anyone who works at the school, if necessary. Each must inform the other if it takes such action. Only the Academy Trust may end a suspension.
Q: What is the process if an academy wishes to dismiss a staff member?
A: The normal expectation is for principals, where appropriate, to lead the process of making initial dismissal decisions. The Academy Trust would normally delegate these matters to the principal unless particular circumstances apply. Any appeal against an initial dismissal decision should be before a hearing of at least three governors who have had no previous involvement. Dismissal proceedings at an academy must give the person the right to explain matters before a decision is taken and to appeal before the decision is made.
The principal has the right to be present or represented at any meeting to consider a dismissal. Where the principal does not have delegated responsibility (or the principal is being considered for dismissal), the initial decision should be delegated to one or more governors. The Academy Trust must give the employee a written statement of the reasons for dismissal. An employee who thinks that he or she has been unfairly dismissed can complain to an Employment Tribunal.
Q: Can an academy make a staff member redundant?
A: If an academy no longer needs the post of a member of staff whose contract says that his or her place of work is the academy, the Academy Trust may declare that person redundant. Before any person is dismissed on grounds of redundancy, all relevant statutory requirements, such as those concerning the selection of staff for redundancy and consultation with trade unions and others, must be observed.
Q: Can an Academy Trust grant premature retirement and award compensation for redundancy?
A: The Academy Trust decides whether to grant premature retirement to teachers who are retiring, and whether to award them added years’ service. The Academy Trust has discretion to grant premature retirement either for reasons of redundancy, or if the employer terminates a teacher’s employment in the interests of the efficient discharge of the employer’s function.
The Academy Trust also decides on the level of compensation to grant a redundant member of staff. Although under the Employment Rights Act 1996 it must make a statutory compensation payment for redundancy, it is for the governing body to decide whether further compensation on top of that should be paid. The governing body should take legal advice before they any decision about how much the pension should be increased.
Q: Do academies have to make the Teachers’ Pension Scheme available?
A: Academies must ensure that all teachers have access to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and that all employees other than teachers have access to the Local Government Pension Scheme. Academies receive funding for pensions in their General Annual Grant, although local authorities may contribute to pensions accrued whilst the member of staff was under their employment.
Q: Can Faith academies take account of a job applicant’s faith?
A: An academy designated as having a religious character can take into account an applicant’s faith in appointing staff (i.e. whether the applicant is of the designated faith of the academy).
Academies that were previously foundation and voluntary schools with a religious character will retain their rights and obligations, including:
If a governing body is considering the award of premature retirement benefits, it should email Teachers’ Pensions to check a person’s minimum pension age.
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Information about the new Teachers’ Standards effective from 1 September 2012.
Information about statutory induction for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in England, with access to relevant research reports and assessment forms.
An overview of the requirements for overseas-trained teacher (OTT) employment, including background information, details of the four year rule, advice for OTTs, and information about OTTs after the four year rule and UK Border Agency requirements.