Howard Stevenson, Alex Alexandrou, John Macklin and Justine Mercer

Project Summary

School Sector Industrial Relations in Transition

The Coalition government’s aim of making every school an Academy represents one of the single biggest educational reform initiatives of the post-war period. A stated aim of the conversion to Academy status is to provide schools with the ability to determine their own pay and conditions of service for staff. Established structures at national and local authority level for dealing with staple industrial relations issues are likely to become increasingly irrelevant in an Academy School context.

This project seeks to understand how the move towards Academy status is impacting on industrial relations structures and processes within both local authorities and schools (LA maintained and Academy). How are employers (local authorities and Academy schools) and education unions responding to the new environment? What evidence is there that Academy schools are looking to depart from existing pay and conditions arrangements, and what school-based structures (with or without unions) are being established to manage this? Focusing on developments in two local authority areas the project will seek to assess to what extent the Academies initiative in schools presages a move towards school-based ‘plant bargaining’. Possible implications for local authorities, school management and education unions will be presented.

Howard Stevenson (University of Lincoln), Alex Alexandrou and John Macklin (University of East London), and Justine Mercer (University of Warwick)

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