The Department for Education announced on Friday that academies could employ teachers who do not have Qualified Teacher Status – for example scientists, musicians and overseas teachers. This brings academies in line with independent schools, Free Schools, Studio Schools and University Technical Colleges. It allows academies to enhance their specialist areas, giving pupils access to new skills and a wider range of experiences.
The Department has amended the model Funding Agreement to allow schools that convert after 1 November 2012 to employ teachers without QTS – as long as they have consulted on that basis. Existing academies will need to seek changes to their funding agreements. For some multi-academy sponsors, where the Department is seeking to agree a second Master Funding Agreement for new academies, this can be addressed as part of a broader discussion on amendments. For existing academies, the Department suggests a deed of variation to the Master Funding Agreement.
The announcement is already subject to negative comment. Existing academies will need to give careful thought to their consultation obligations against the background of their particular proposal and local views. If a proper process is not followed, there is a risk of aggrieved unions or parents seeking judicial review.
If you would like to discuss how best to implement the required changes, please contact Steve Lorber of our Education team, or your usual Education contact.