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“swelling” number of employee disputes in schools

11 November 2011

The TES reports that the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has seen a marked increase in employee disputes in schools. Though Unions are perhaps unsurprisingly attempting to link this rise to the expanding academies programme, it is more likely a consequence of the financial climate which has led to a number of redundancies in schools and a renewed focus on performance management.

Both the private and public sector have seen a rising number of employee-related disputes. There is no evidence that this has any link to academies. Though ACAS figures show employee disputes in academies have risen from 10 in 09/10 to 38 in 10/11, the obvious reason for this is because there are some 1,000 more academies than there were before, so ACAS is more likely to be called into them.

Since academies lie outside local authority control they, like any other company, need to ensure that they protect themselves from damaging conflicts with employees and procure appropriate HR advice. However, just like the conversion process itself they will have to ensure they have open and transparent communications with their staff.

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