Delegates at the TUC Congress were today told that, for the sake of thousands of students, parents and staff, the Government must urgently  commission an independent inquiry into last weeks’ shock announcement that Wakefield City Academies Trust is to abandon 21 schools it operates,

In the debate on the emergency motion the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union called on the Government to act immediately for the sake of pupils and staff in the Trust’s schools and to review how many other pupils and staff are at risk of facing the same crisis.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT said:

“For the pupils and staff in these schools instead of starting the new academic year with stability and optimism, they now face chaos and confusion as the academy trust collapses around them.

“This isn’t the first example of a trust collapsing, putting in jeopardy the future of young people and the livelihoods of teachers and other staff. Regrettably it won’t be the last.

“How many more pupils, parents and staff must face this anxiety before the Government acts to address the major flaws in its academisation programme.”

Moving the motion NASUWT’s Robert Barratt told delegates:

“The Government is playing Russian roulette with the lives and futures of our children and young people.

“An urgent, independent inquiry into what happened at the Wakefield Academies Trust is needed.

“The sponsors of this and other failed academy trusts cannot be permitted to simply hand schools back to the government and walk away. It is important that lessons are learned and those responsible are held to account.”


Working people are increasingly seeing their rights eroded at work and being victimised by hostile employment practices as a result of the anti-trade union legislation introduced by successive Conservative governments, delegates at the TUC Congress heard today.

A motion moved by the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union deplored the attacks on trade unionists in a climate where employers routinely denied the rights of workers who were often in low-paid and precarious employment.

These conditions often mean that some workers are fearful of victimisation if they join a trade union.

The NASUWT, in partnership with the GMB, UNISON and Unite is campaigning with school and college employers to value teachers and support staff.

NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates said: “This Government wants to restrict, stifle and silence opposition and attack our fundamental democratic rights and freedoms. Their programme is an attack on basic rights, freedoms and entitlements and on democracy.

“As a movement we will continue to push back against attempts to undermine and diminish workers’ rights, to extend trade unions’ reach into workplaces and to continue to ensure that unions remain a strong, progressive force in civil society.”

Moving the motion NASUWT President Fred Brown told delegates: “We have seen some truly shocking examples of employers creating conditions akin to Victorian workhouses rather than 21st Century workplaces.

“Education is no exception. Supply teachers are increasingly exploited by unscrupulous agencies, often through the use of offshore-based umbrella companies, and where abuses include teachers being required to pay their employers’ national insurance contributions.

“However, we must recognise that there are employers who treat their employees fairly, with dignity and respect.

“These employers should be recognised and used as an example to those poor employers, and to highlight to prospective employees the employers who will treat them well.”