Go compare on academy disputes

25th November 2011 at 00:00

Your story "Calls for academy arbitration rise four-fold" (11 November) implies that all is not well with employeeemployer relationships in academies. The evidence cited is the increase in disputes referred to Acas in the last 12 months.

But there were 203 academies in May 2010 and now, according to the story, there are 1,419 - a seven-fold increase in 18 months. So a four-fold increase doesn't seem unreasonable in referrals. Unison's Jon Richards is quoted saying that the number of disputes is likely to increase as the number of academies increases. It doesn't require a degree in statistics to appreciate that, in all probability, he's correct.

The argument that these employment disputes are a problem specific to the new academies only holds water if we are shown corresponding figures for the number of disputes from non-academy schools. As these are shrinking in number, perhaps there is a corresponding reduction in the number of disputes going to arbitration.

David Rowlands, Cheltenham, Gloucester.

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