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BSF Thread, Merging into an Academy - What should I expect? in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Ok so it has been decided. We are to close along with another school and a new academy building is ...
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    woody's Avatar
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    Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    Ok so it has been decided. We are to close along with another school and a new academy building is to be built. £22 mil on the building and £2.2 on ICT.

    We are to be amalgamated into the academy. Boy, the politics surrounding the whole thing is incredible.

    But my main concerns come from two angles:

    1) A personal one. At an early stage we were told (this is both teaching and non-teaching staff) in a letter from the head-teacher that our jobs were safe and our terms and conditions and salary would be tuped over and fixed for three years. We recently had a meeting in which I found out that in actual fact, the three year thing was totally unsubstantiated, that Tupe would apply, but it had to be negotiated first. We are now trying to get UNISON to start the ball rolling on that one.

    2) A concern for the ICT precurement. At the meeting, it was heralded that £2.2 mil is the most that an academy project has had to spend fo far on ICT. That's great! But I really hope that it does not get creamed by some IT provider who is rubbing their hands together and eyes are rolling round hitting jackpot $ $. A company called Place Grouphas been appointed to oversee the whole shebang, and they have got in some ICT consultants called NEXUS Associates who will help develope the vision for the academy. One of these guys is an ex Head of ICT teacher, one is a technical ICT person, and the other fits somewhere in between. They have met up with myself and the NM at the other school, to see what we have got now, and how they can make the transition smooth. Don't get me wrong, these guys seem good, but I am still unsure at the end of it all how much we as the people on the ground will be listened to.

    So uncertainty is definately the flavour of the month. I was wondering if anyone else on here has been / is going through the same situation, merging into an academy, and what has happend to your job, conditions. Also whether ICT has been developed from a clean slate successfully?

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    Re: Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    Some muffin outfit will come in and leech all the money out of the place. Sorry, but I'm in one of those cynical moods this morning.

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    Re: Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    consultation at every level and openess is key here (we are a year into this exact process) i would suggest that you form an alliance with NM at the other place (despite any worrys about who gets the job in the new place etc etc) and work out what works well now, what you would like to see new. This will mean that you can both fight the same corner and start working together (this takes a huge weight off). I have the same worrys in terms of job etc but figure that there will be enough to do for everyone and the nature of academys means that the place will probally be open a lot longer allowing for shift managers etc.

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    Re: Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    Thanks for that Uraken. I am meeting up with the other NM and his colleague next week so will hopefully start to talk about what we want to see.

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    Re: Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    Quote Originally Posted by tech_guy
    Some muffin outfit will come in and leech all the money out of the place. Sorry, but I'm in one of those cynical moods this morning.
    No you're not - one of our local schools has gone "academy" - its a mess before it even opened, but not doing so was not an option. They have a 2 hours SLA on laptops - if you can spend 2 hours on the 'phone to the helpdesk in Ireland, that is.

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    Re: Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    Your job is safe under the Tupe process (although I've not heard of these lasting as long as 3 years, my wife's recent one was 1 year) and they are required to match or better your current pay and conditions. Be cautious of a slightly sneaky one here, though - if they opt to improve your conditions, you will sign a new contract with the Academy and are then NOT covered by the Tupe promises.

    Fight as hard as you can to get heard by the consultants - they might be the ones setting it up, but you will be the one supporting it. Uraken makes a good point about forming an alliance with the other NM.

    Many changes will happen, some will be for the better, some will be for the sake of change, some (sadly) will probably be for the worse. It will be a game of office politics as everyone jockeys for their place in the new structure, with resentment (and animosity?) when people don't get "their way".

    Of course, don't expect an overnight change - many of the problems which led to this decision will still be there, and you will still have the same students.

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    Re: Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    Our Build was fleeced over £1/2 a Million by "consultants"... and they just did what they wanted and advised to what they thought was right..

    And they have no concern about you or your department... They just work to a whole load of BSF / Government t Buzzwords..

    They pretend to be interested and care in what you have and have done.. but this is to let your guard down and make the assimilation of the Community easier.. as if they came in a told you what was really going to happen then you would resist and be obstinate and make their job harder

    In-fact they will advise the powers that be that the whole of the ICT Support should be outsourced as per BSF and BECTA guidelines...

    (this is where you'll have to fight as all the other staff will be TUPED in-house but the ICT will be handed over.. if you fight hard enough you might be able to keep ICT in-house)

    So if not in-house you'll be TUPED to the Managed Service Company that wins the ICT contract as a technician… but if you do well (as we were told at the Edugeek finder mission). You might become a lead technician if you prove yourself…

    From Place's website

    http://www.place-group.com/services_11.htm

    The Government's guidelines for 'Fulfilling Potential' and the drive for 'E-Confident' schools is the focus of our work to support the transformation of teaching and learning. We consider how to maximise efficiencies for the LEA and schools through area-wide managed services and facilities management, and the training requirements and technical support to provide inclusive learning for all

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    Re: Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    I'm jumping ship if BSF comes knocking on Warwickshite's door....

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    Re: Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Uraken
    consultation at every level and openess is key here (we are a year into this exact process) i would suggest that you form an alliance with NM at the other place (despite any worrys about who gets the job in the new place etc etc) and work out what works well now, what you would like to see new. This will mean that you can both fight the same corner and start working together (this takes a huge weight off). I have the same worrys in terms of job etc but figure that there will be enough to do for everyone and the nature of academys means that the place will probally be open a lot longer allowing for shift managers etc.
    Is your ICT Support staying In-house ?

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    Re: Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    Just an update, they have now brought the date forward one year so we will be an academy in Sept 2008 rather than 2009!!! What's more, they are sending all staff and students from the mergind school over to our building, while their school get's knocked down and the academy built. That means we will have temp classrooms (portacabins) everywhere around the school, 40 we have been told. An absolute nightmare. I need to be careful what I say about it on a public forum so I'll leave it up to your imagination to reason out whether pupils' education will be effected by this or not.

    We still don't know what is happening to jobs. We have been told TUPE will apply and that the ICT support will stay in house for the 2 year interim period on our school site before every one moves across to the new buildings, but after that it's anybody's guess. My guess is that it will be oursourced. I plan to fight for that not to happen but whether they will listen will remain to be seen.

    I will keep posting as things advance. Who knows, might be useful for other people who have to go through this.

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    woody's Avatar
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    Re: Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    Ok, consultation document has come back from Place regarding questions asked on all range of matters.

    This one is interesting but not surprising:

    70. Would there be any intention to buy in managed services?
    A. This is something the Academy will explore based on the chosen ICT solution, what is affordable and what meets our short term and long term needs for staff and students.

    So in otherwords, we are probably going to outsource but we won't own up to it yet.

    Has anybody been through this where the school / academy buys in managed services. Does the winning biddder then take on the current ict support staff?

    Things are getting scary at the moment

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    Re: Merging into an Academy - What should I expect?

    Yes, you get TUPE'd.

    http://www.out-law.com/page-448

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