UNISON has won a significant step in the long-running campaign to stop the privatisation of frontline services at the biggest academy chain in the country.
Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) announced plans in January to effectively privatise an unprecedented range of services in its 77 schools.
AET plans to set up a joint venture with a private company and run vital schools services and jobs such as business managers, finance staff, school improvement services, catering, cleaning, security and IT for a profit. UNISON believes this would mean school heads losing control over budgets and services.
But campaigning by UNISON and other unions has seen AET put back its original timeline for awarding the contract.
UNISON has also secured a written guarantee from AET that it will not agree a legally binding contract over the summer holidays, or before staff and local communities have been properly consulted in the new school year.
This gives an opportunity to build the campaign and continue to raise questions and concerns with the AET board and politicians.
UNISON fears that if the original proposals go ahead, pupils could face cuts in vital school services as aprivate company pushes for bigger profits.
It also believes that AET’s plans undermine the government’s claim that academies would not be allowed to be run for private profit.
UNISON head of education Jon Richards, said: “We thank all of our members for the hard work that they have put into this vital campaign.
“Over the next few weeks, we will produce further campaigning and lobbying materials for members to use in schools and their local communities at the start of the new school year.
“We are absolutely determined to do all we can to protect AET school services.”