One of the recommendations of the coalition government was to transform state schools into academies. Instead of receiving funding from local authorities, academies receive funding directly from the government. On the face of it, this doesn't sound like a groundbreaking transformation, however, it has had quite significant effects already. Perhaps the main incentive for change was that academies are given a larger monetary sum allegedly intended for extra educational needs such as help for less advantaged pupils. Also, academies would be given more freedom and flexibility to manage their schools subject to legislative guidelines. Of course, whilst the management and running of the academy would be the domain of the head teacher, the board of governers would still retain the right to vote against any decisions they did not agree with...hang on, isn't that really similar to how companies are run? But companies are concerned with making money, whereas schools want to improve their educational standards. Right?
Perhaps a test to see whether academies really will have the best interests of their students (rather than their bank accounts) at heart will be reflected in whether they get rid of staff. We're are still very much in the midst of a recession so redundancies will be inevitable, but it will be interesting to see exactly who is dismissed. Although the teachers who have been there the longest are the most expensive to remunerate, they are arguably the most experienced and thus maintain the highest standard of education within the academy. However, with all this extra money coming in and more flexibility to change the way the school is run, it suddenly seems tempting to save some of that cash by cutting corners and minimising pay. There may even be enough for a nice healthy bonus at the end of the year. The TUPE regulations provide a right for teachers dismissed in academies to claim constructive unfair dismissal. However, this right expires after two years, from which teachers are restricted to bring unfair dismissal claims under the ERA. Academies aware of this regulation may strategically wait until the two year period has passed before dismissals are made. It will be interesting to see if there is a sudden floodgate of claims initiated by teachers dismissed for reason of 'redundancy'.