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Restructure involving peripatetic teachers?

Hi,

I'm hoping someone can help me on what advice to give our head teacher in an academy.  I have been approached to give advice on the process and the risk factors for the following Head teacher proposal:  The school must make substantial savings asap so they are considering proposing a restructure in phases.  The first phase involves the music dept.  They currently employ 8 part-time music teachers on permanent TTO contracts with a guaranteed minimum hours work per week.  They wish to remove these contracts and in the future, use peri teachers from the local music agency on an 'as and when' basis.  None of the music teachers have qualifications or skill sets in any other field within teaching so I think it will be difficult to redeploy them elsewhere within the Trust.  I'm concerned that, if the provision is still required by the pupils, can they justify redundancy?  Also what other advice should I be giving them?  Many thanks.  Rosemary.

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  • Hi all again, further detail on the proposal is that the Trust's aim is to outsource this function to the local agency. With this in mind the thought is that they can go through the restructure and redundancies legally - is this correct? By the way the number of teachers at risk is 8. I would really appreciate some advice, many thanks
  • Hi all again, further detail on the proposal is that the Trust's aim is to outsource this function to the local agency. With this in mind the thought is that they can go through the restructure and redundancies legally - is this correct? By the way the number of teachers at risk is 8. I would really appreciate some advice, many thanks
  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Its either TUPE or redundancy depending on circumstances. Preference is probably TUPE but the agency wont be keen
  • In reply to Keith:

    Thank you Keith. If the school decide with restructure/redundancy, then is it correct that they cannot provide the music service to the school for 6 months - otherwise it isn't true redundancy, because the service is still required? Or, can they justify redundancy based purely on the financial situation, but continue to provide the service to pupils, albeit using an agency? I'm confused.
  • In reply to Rosemary:

    The definition of redundancy in the Employment Rights Act 1996,  if their dismissal is wholly or mainly attributable to the fact that:

    1. the employer ceases to carry on the business in which the employee was employed;
    2. the employer ceases to carry on that business in the place where the employee was employed;
    3. the needs of the business for employees to carry out work of a particular kind cease or diminish; or
    4. the needs of the business for employees to carry out work of a particular kind in the place where the employee was employed cease or diminish.

    The difficulty is if you intend for an agency to carry out pretty much the same type of service in the same way using your premises, organisation etc etc then do any of the above criteria really apply? You would have to rely on (3) arguing  that you are no longer providing work of a particular kind (directly employed music teachers). the challenge is that the structure you are proposing lends itself to a TUPE situation and the staff rather than being made redundant should keep their jobs (and T&Cs) and transfer over to the new provider. 

    TUPE wouldn't apply if the way the new organisation proposes to carry on the work is significantly different. Is this the case?

  • In reply to Keith:

    That's the difficulty - I will be meeting the Head this afternoon to discuss further. I need to know if the school are intending removing the service altogether. I can't see how they can justify carrying on the work significantly different? At the end of the day it is music tuition which the school would need to remove entirely if I've understood correctly.
  • In reply to Keith:

    Hi Keith, I hope you don't mind me replying again - this was left for a while but has now re-surfaced! The TUPE option is still being discussed. However, the suggestion has been put forward to re-negotiate with the staff their existing contracts. Currently they have contracts which state that the music teacher is required to teach a minimum no of hours, which they are paid for whether they fill those hours or not. This is costing the school quite a bit because there is not the need any more for that level of teaching service, i.e. we don't have the same level of students requiring music lessons any more. Where do we stand with re-negotiating the contracts to give a lower no of minimum hours? How would we go about doing this? (I am aware of the change in Emp Law this April ensuring contracts state number of hours etc.)This is an Academy with no collective agreements with unions. I would advise consultations but not sure how many, what resistance we would get and how long it would take? Plus anything else I need to be aware of such as if all of them, or some of them do not want to change their current minimum hors - can we terminate and re-issue new ones? - rather nervous about doing this - What are the risks?
  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Hi Rosemary
    It sounds like you could be in a redundancy situation due to point 3 mentioned by Keith above as the amount of work has diminished.
    Through consultation, you will want to discuss the ways you could potentially avoid this being a redundancy situation which could include reducing everyone's hours or voluntary redundancy to have fewer people to share the hours between etc.
    ACAS have good guidance on consultation which you may find useful.
  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Hi

    My first instinct would be not to renegotiate but (if they can all teach different things) to make one or more redundant and keep the rest on their existing contracts. Its pretty straight forward and legally water tight if you do it well.

    If they all teach different things then you have to enter into meaningful consultation with them and seek to reach agreement. It will take a little while and be painful but they know deep down that the current situation is unsustainable. The challenge is the law doesn't allow t#you to make part of the job redundant.