What do I need to know about TUPE?
You might be concerned about your employment rights if your school is converting to academy status. TUPE is a process designed to protect employees against unfair treatment as a result of a transfer of their employment. It is a common process and many thousands of school employees have gone through the TUPE process.
In this article, we outline what TUPE is, what happens during the TUPE process and what you can expect from your school.
When does the TUPE process happen?
Your entitlement to the same terms and conditions of employment is protected by legislation known as the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, or ‘TUPE’.
If you school is converting to an academy or to a trust or foundation school, your employer will change from your local authority to the academy trust or foundation. The extent to which this will affect your school will vary, but in all cases you are entitled to have the terms and conditions of your employment remain the same.
What happens during the TUPE process?
Your current employer, the local authority or governing body, will conduct a consultation to gather feedback on any concerns about the transfer, and allow sufficient time for these concerns to be considered.
The Academies Act requires a consultation ‘with those they think appropriate’ (usually the school governors, parents and teachers), concerning the conversion. TUPE regulations require a consultation with employees specifically about their employment.
Practically, your school could publish an FAQ document for staff outlining the answers to common questions about the change to academy status. Ideally all staff should be consulted at least a term before a school changes status to an academy.
Your terms and conditions of employment cannot be changed, and your employment cannot be ended, as part of the transfer unless the academy can show they have a valid economic, technical or organisational reason for doing so. This is very difficult to do.
It should be noted however that TUPE is a complex issue and it does not offer unlimited protection of your pay and conditions after the transfer. You could be made to sign a new contract if you are offered a promotion which could alter your working terms and conditions.
If you have any concerns about conversion to academy status, the consultation, or your new employment, we can provide support and advice.
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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.