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2008 Local Government Service Group Conference
12 June 2008

This Local Government Service Group reaffirms its opposition to the Government’s academies programme.

We note with concern the Government’s plan to increase the number of academies to 400. We believe that this expansion will lead to the increased privatisation marketisation of education and encourage the development of the two tier workforce.

The government is putting pressure on local authorities to agree to academy schools in their area, for example, in Manchester there are currently two Academy schools operating. However, consultation is underway on proposals to open a further seven new Academies in Manchester.

Conference recognises the danger that Academies will expand the two tier workforce and undermine the national agreement on pay and conditions of service, and the lack of engagement with local communities.

Conference believes that we need to continue our work, alongside the other education unions, to campaign against the academies programme. At the same time as opposing academies, we must also organise in the new academy schools to protect our member’s terms and conditions. Therefore it is important that the union responds by:

a)Campaigning against plans to open new academies in their local area;

b)Winning recognition in existing academies as a means of best protecting the terms and conditions of employment of those members employed by academy schools.

This Conference therefore calls on the Service Group Executive to:

1)Work with the other education unions to campaign against the academy programme at government level by highlighting the failures of the programme

2)Support branches campaigning against the opening of academies within their local area and produce materials that branches can use to campaign locally against plans to open new academies

3)Encourage regions and branches to organise in existing and new academies

4)Publish a model academies’ recognition agreement

5)Campaign for support staff in academies to be brought into the scope of any national negotiating body

6)Set up communications networks for those branches that have members working in academies, and convene appropriate national meetings for branches who have members working for the main academy sponsors, such as Oasis Community Learning and the United Learning Trust to co-ordinate UNISON organising work

7)Work with regions and branches to ensure the RMS is fully updated to cover the new academies and that the election of lead lay negotiators for academy sponsors is transparent and in accordance with UNISON Rules and the Code of Good Branch Practice

8)Work with regions and branches to try and ensure that academy providers commit to following national terms and conditions for all staff in all maintained schools to avoid a two tier workforce

9)Step up its campaign for academies to be covered by codes of practice aimed at eliminating the two tier workforce

10) Pending the achievement of point 5 above, work for single table bargaining in both new and established academies