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Durand Academy - considerations if you wish to work there?

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Durand was formerly a GM School, then a Foundation. It applied to become a Trust School, then with Gove's rush to create Academies, successfully applied to become an Academy in September 2010

It has a wide range of facilities, including a swimming pool. It is situated in a residential area between Clapham Road and Brixton Road.

It is now 4 forms entry, classes being at most 25, usually less. Most classes have teaching assistants at all times.

Durand - a 'good' school

But why was this report removed from Ofsted's website?

When criticised, Durand has always responded by saying 'we're outstanding' according to Ofsted. This was usually to suggest that local authority schools were not. Whereas a large number of Lambeth schools remain 'outstanding', in their December 2013 Ofsted, Durand were downgraded to 'good'. (The term 'downgraded' is the best we can come up with as Ofsted is all about grading, but 'good' schools should not be sneared at).
It is particular, we notice that there is criticism of their high staff turnover and the impact this has both on management and pupil learning. As a union, we were ostracised mainly because we were concerned about their management.
There's always time for humility and learning lessons. Listerning to those you disagree with is hardest of all.

One of the advantages that the school can offer, in particular to teachers coming from outside London is accommodation, which is onsite and available for as long as your employment continues.

Accomodation in London is difficult, but our advice is think very carefully before any decision is made before accepting a job

Prior to Durand becoming an Academy, it would have by law have worked on the Burgundy Book framework for teachers conditions of service. These conditions may or may not apply to Academies, as they are able to draw up their own contracts, own pay scales etc. However, the part that follows relates to issues that were frequently raised in this school. (And indeed in other schools on occasion)

As things stand, teachers in maintained schools must have a minimum of 10% non contact time and NQTs a total of 20%. For maintained schools, this is statutory. Academies are not bound by this, so whilst accepting this, we also consider it important that teachers are aware of their working arrangements wherever they apply. This has not changed as a result of Academy conversion.

Academies are bound to provide NQTs wih 10% non-contact time.

Perhaps because of the representative from the local authority insisting on statutory NQT support, Durand have dismissed Lambeth as their 'appropriate body' and have appointed an employee from West Sussex, where they intend to set up their boarding school. In the event that you need to speak to her, we can assist.
Are you thinking of accepting a job at Durand?
You may need to consider the following:
'NQT's will receive a total of 10% non-contact time'.
The school's justification is that classes will be smaller with TA support and that you will not be expected to complete administrative tasks such as counting dinner money or photocopying. This has to be considered in the light of teachers not having to carrying out administrative tasks already being a statutory right .
Teachers have an entitlement to 10% PPA time, in addition, NQTs have a right to an additional 10% non-contact time according to DCSF regulations. The school should not seek to negotiate away NQT's entitlements.
From September 2009 local authorities have the power of enforcing compliance on maintained schools on matters such as non-contact time as laid down in the School Teachers' Pay & Conditions Document, so we are asking the local authority to check that all schools are complying with all the regulations.

Offers of employment are usually made after an interview. But it's been reported to us that teachers may not be told much at interview about what their pay and conditions will be and there could be problems later.

So we strongly recommend that before you before you accept any offer at interview, you -

  • " ensure that you ask whether your contract is permanent or otherwise. Expect permanent - if not, there has to be good reason. "
  • ask about your pay and conditions In particular your starting salary and where you will be placed on the Teachers' pay scale. "
  • find out whether you are expected to carry out any extra-curricular duties, e.g. running school clubs out of normal school hours, as part of the contract being offered to you. You may not be told this at interview unless you ask. The NUT considers that these activities are voluntary and should not form part of a teachers' directed time.
  • ask whether you will be allowed to have a clear lunch break during which you cannot be directed to undertake any work "
  • clarify that the rules governing resignation dates are consistent with those in the Burgundy Book. The Burgundy Book provides for resignations to take effect on 31st December, 30th April (or the end of the Easter vacation period if you are moving to another teaching job) or 31st August, by two months notice up to the 31st December and 30th April dates and three months notice for the 31st August date. Pay entitlement should extend to those dates. If in doubt about this, contact us. . "
  • check what Durand expects from you in terms of lesson planning are and how this compares with the guidelines from the Government Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF - formerly DfES). Ask whether you are allowed to collaborate in your planning with other teachers and whether you will be permitted to download planning materials from the DCSF website. You can find the DCSF guidance on its website at http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/_doc/3179/DfES-Planning%20Guidance.pdf "
  • clarify whether you will have 10% Planning Preparation and Assessment (PPA) time. This shouldn't be a problem. It is a legal entitlement for teachers in "maintained" schools and the government regards it as essential to its education standards policy. Make sure you get it? "
  • if you are an NQT, check whether you will have access to Lambeth's excellent induction programme and whether you will get 10% additional non-contact time on a weekly basis. Reports we have received suggest that NQTs at Durand may get only half a day per fortnight - below the guidelines. The school seeks to justify this on the basis of small classes and teachers not undertaking certain administrative tasks. These tasks are tasks that teachers would not be expected to do in any maintained school, in any case. The union's view is that schools should not seek to trade off statutory rights for working conditions.
  • Are you a working mother? Ask how they apply equality legislation to ensure that your rights are upheld. If you have a young child (under 7) or a disabled child - ask whether they have facility to allow you to care for that youngster, particularly in case of sickness.

We also recommend that you enquire about when you will receive details of your contract in writing. By law, you must receive written particulars of the most important terms of your contract within two months of starting work, or at least a clear statement of where you can find these terms set out in writing in a readily accessible document. As Academies are not bound by law to offer the same conditions as laid down in Burgundy Book, we would be happy to peruse any statements of particulars or contracts checked for you.

You will get a letter formally offering you the post, but this is not a contract as it does not set out the main terms and conditions of the contract or refers you to a readily accessible document where they can be found. And for NQTs again, please note that Lambeth has a high rate of success for NQTs, approaching 99%. It is not clear that the figure at Durand compares favourably with this.

The evidence suggests that many NQTs in September do not finish the year at Durand (although from all accounts they did succeed when they have continued their careers in other posts). Based on figures given by Lambeth Authority between 2001 and 2006 101 NQTs started teaching at Durand, but 39 left prior to completing their induction.

Are you already working at Durand?

If you are an NUT member and need advice, do not hesitate to contact us.

The Burgundy Book contains provisions for example about sick pay and notice periods. The NUT will object to any variation from these provisions

  • School Teachers' Pay and conditions that governs numerous matters such as pay scales, lunchtime, working hours
  • Conditions of service in England and Wales (Burgundy book)(This governs sickness absence, notice periods)
A great place to go if you want to see Michael Gove pop in on you!
 
 

Conflict of interest....

For a decade, Lambeth NUT were a lone voice supporting members as best we could at Durand whilst asking questions about the use of financial assets by Durand management. For our sins, NUT received the odd 'long brown envelope'. National newspapers and cabinet ministers ignored questions by us, the former being frightened by the likes of Carter Ruck. (Private Eye alone were prepared to stick their necks out)
Times change. Lately due above all to a group of residents in West Sussex (see below) campaigning against large sums of public money being wasted on a project in their area and one or two invetigative journalists.
Now the brave chaps at the Telegraph and BBC have decided to come out for air.
GMG Ltd contract must endBBC discover contractual problem
Who knows - maybe MPs or cabinet ministers might soon have something to say?

Boarding School

The DfE has approved Durand being granted £17 million to establish a residential boarding school for 14-16 year old children and also to be all through on their present site.
We are concerned about their admissions policy as we have not been informed of this, but also the effect it may have on other secondary admissions in the borough.
In relation to the boarding school in Sussex, we are aware that there has been local opposition to the school being there. However, in as much as we can ascertain, although such opposition cites 'transport and access roads', whereas we have doubts about the project and certainly about the school's management, we cannot oppose any initiative that attempts to improve the well being of Lambeth children. In that regard, we do wish them well. However, we have our reservations, as you'd imagine. We were asked by local campaigners to express them, and we did. As Toby Young thought it fitting to ridicule us in his Telegraph blog (without even reading what we had written!) we are sure Durand couldn't object to us publishing here something in the public domain anyway. (Well, maybe Sir Gregory will object or Toby Young wouldn't have been on the case)
Durand have appointed a PR firm headed by a member of the governing body, former Lambeth Councillor, Kevin Craig.
We are not aware that this appointment was put out to tender, but we are aware that the package costs £200,000 per year.
We are not suggesting that their use of this money is illegal use of public money as it is unclear as to whether the money is from a public or private source.
However, there has been concern about this, including from hereon this and other aspects of Durands financial activities.

Stress and Academy workers

Employees of Lambeth are automatically offered support under the employee assistance programme in the event of health issues arising from work, including counselling. This however does not apply in the event of academies, so you would be advised to check out this site if any problems arise that are not covered by your employer's conditions of service.

Durand and the courts

Of course if everyone, not just the wealthy, had access to the courts, who might complain. Judge for yourself on Durand's disclosed legal costs since 2008.

'Durand only takes legal action as a last resort' The termination of their legal case against Lambeth.

ex-Durand Teachers cleared of allegations taken to GTC by Durand School. The school management then appealed against the GTC outcome in the High Court. The High Court ruled that the GTC findings were sound.
Why did the school pursue these teachers? Maybe the following explains their reasoning?
We are restricted in terms as what we can publish here, partly through the law, but also because of the wishes of those involved who have bene affected. In both cases, we respect those requests.
An NUT member who worked at Durand Primary School was forced in 2007 to obtain a County Court Order to enforce an award in her favour made by an Employment Tribunal. The award had remained unpaid for several months. During the course of this case, management practices and attitudes were revealed which the Union considers to be wholly unacceptable. Members of the NUT thinking of applying for posts at Durand are strongly advised to contact Lambeth NUT or the NUT Hammersmith office (020 8846 0600) for further advice.

In case you need to be paid .....

Tribunal orders school to pay ex-teacher

South London Press - Apr 9 2007

A SCHOOL has been ordered to pay a former teacher more than £1,000 by an employment tribunal. Jenny Newall took Durand Primary School in Stockwell to the tribunal, claiming unauthorised deductions from wages, sex discrimination and not being given proper terms and conditions of employment. Last week, the tribunal ordered the school in Hackford Road to hand over £1,162 to Ms Newall in unpaid wages.

Lambeth National Union of Teachers said she had worked as a teacher for just two months last year before leaving. Joint secretary of Lambeth NUT Ray Sirotkin said: "The teacher in the case was not unusual in terms of young, experienced teachers wishing to leave after being at Durand for a short time. "That a tribunal ruling has been found against them is of no surprise to me. "We just want to see normal relations between ourselves and the school and the school with the local authority."

Associate headteacher Mark McLaughlin would not comment on the case.

It didn't stop there.

Mr Newall was pursued by the Durand management. The TES reported the final outcome. The High Court found that allegations against Durand mistreating NQTs was unfounded.

Headteacher earns additional £85,000 from school's associated companies

Christian loses Harry Potter case But Durand still shown to be breaking the law!

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Glenbrook

Stockwell Primary

Heathbrook

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