By Claire West

The NASUWT, the largest teachers' union, has warned today that schools whose applications for academy status for 1 September 2010 are approved face detailed scrutiny of how the decision was reached and whether the provisions of legislation and regulation, particularly regarding the transfer of staff have been followed.

Should the review of the procedures they have used demonstrate a failure to follow the necessary statutory provisions regarding the transfer of employees then the school will be vulnerable to legal challenge.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

"The indecent haste with which some outstanding schools have rushed to apply for, and secure, academy status means that a number appear to have cut corners in terms of consultation with staff and trade unions.

"These schools are, therefore, vulnerable to judicial review and employment tribunal claims from employees.

"The NASUWT will be scrutinising the process schools have used, using the Freedom of Information Act provisions, if necessary, to obtain the relevant information.

"The Department for Education may have encouraged them to rush through the process but at the end of the day it will be the Governing Body, not the Government, which will be held to account if the school has failed to meet its legal obligations.

"It has been clear that the driver of the hasty decisions made by some schools to apply for academy status has been the belief that they will get more money as academies. They should now pause and reflect on how much money defending legal challenges in the High Court will cost, especially when, as academies, they will have no local authority to bail them out."