Catholic Schools Consultation on Academies
Last week teaching unions met with representatives of the Catholic Diocese and the Corpus Christi cluster of Catholic schools to consider their proposal to convert from Voluntary Aided schools to Academies. The city schools involved are Sacred Heart, St Joseph's and St Thomas More, plus two schools in the county. Each Primary school would become an Academy within a wider Academy Trust.
The NUT had previously leafleted parents at the schools, parishioners at two of the churches and attended the parents. meetings. At these meetings parents had been assured there would be almost no change. However, in the meeting with the unions the diocesan legal adviser admitted that continuity of local government service would be lost for teachers, affecting their future maternity rights and sick pay entitlement if they moved school. It was also admitted that pensions. contributions for support staff could be significantly higher and the schools would have to buy in a range of additional services, while losing Local Authority Initiatives such as 'Whatever it takes'.
Unions expressed concerns over the differences in pay and conditions between city and county schools, which threatened a two tier workforce (as currently there are different policies and procedures for county and city schools), the absence of any drawn up plans for future representation of unions and the failure to carry out an overall risk assessment and an equalities impact assessment.
It is to be hoped the schools will recognise that what will be lost is far greater than anything gained by privatising Catholic schools by turning them into Academies.