The UK’s largest academy chain, Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), is facing a vote of no confidence by staff over job cuts, health and safety concerns and lack of transparency over its funding arrangements.
A survey of staff last year found that 71% of the trust’s school leaders had health and safety concerns about their schools following a restructure of site staff in which the number of site staff was cut by up to 50% in some schools, with management of the remaining staff (as well as control of the associated budget) moved from individual schools to the trust’s head office. Issues included vomit being left for hours, blocked toilets and repairs taking weeks to be fixed due to budgets now being controlled by AET rather than individual schools. Members continue to raise concerns about their own safety and that of the students due to poor building maintenance, lack of funding and lack of staff.
Milton Keynes is home to two of AET’s schools, Sir Herbert Leon Academy and Charles Warren Academy. Last month, nine members of support staff at Sir Herbert Leon Academy were made redundant, including the school’s Safeguarding Lead and Mental Health Lead. Meanwhile, the trust’s accounts show that the CEO was paid over £290,000 for the year to 31st August 2018. His salary for the current year has not yet been published.
More recently, AET have pushed ahead with the outsourcing of IT, despite concerns raised by unions and staff about the detrimental impact this will have on schools, where many IT technicians also undertake other roles around the school. The new employer has already confirmed that cuts to staffing levels are likely to follow.
And the cuts are not over yet. HR and Finance staff have already been warned that their jobs could be at risk as AET, once again, plan further staffing cuts. One has to ask, who’s next?
UNISON members working for AET schools will have received an email today asking for your views on AET’s management of your school and we would urge you all to click and the link in that email and complete the survey (completely anonymous) to let them know how you feel.
Further information can be found on the UNISON national website here.
If you’d like to join UNISON, you can do it online here.