Report from Parliament by Steve Elsey, Branch Communications Officer

On Monday 19th July Jane Heath and I represented our membership in participating in the protest against the academies bill and removal of BSF funding. Following the Rally and a march to Westminster we met with Stafford’s MP Jeremy Lefroy, and addressed a number of our concerns regarding the academies bill and the implications it could have for our members and staff working within his constituency. 

The main issues raised included:

  • The lack of the requirement for proper consultation with all stakeholders, including parents, communities, trade unions and staff including the requirements of TUPE in light of the first academies proposed under this legislation.  The legislation is being pushed through Parliament at a fast pace, using timescales only usually reserved for National Security issues and Anti-terrorism legislation. The timescale being looked at is the introduction of legislation for September 2010 (when Schools resume for the start of the Academic year. (The first proposed academy in Staffordshire under this bill is John Taylor High School – Barton-under-Needwood, in November 2010). 
     
  • The impact of funding Academies with the loss of funding to other schools in an area was well illustrated by the speaker at the Rally regarding the impact to Tamworth and could well be mirrored in other areas of the Authority.  Resulting in further losses to the community if the new Academies move away from those good quality services currently provided by the SCC.  The concern was this may well result in further job losses, in addition to the efficiency savings already identified.  Job losses within the administrative centre and the resulting impact this would have on the local economy.  Where would the replacement jobs come from within the area? 
     
  • The other concern was the Transfer of land.  Transfer to academy status will involve the transfer of land from the current owner.  That is transfer of assets paid for by the tax payer to the academy and it’s backers which is land provided for community use, which under academy regulations, would no longer be designated as such. 
We also raised our concerns regarding the current stalemate regarding the SSSNB proposals, and the withdrawal of funding for training of school support staff (£30m has been withdrawn nationally).
 
We hope to see Mr Lefroy contribute to the debate watch the debate on www.parliament.tv