A LEADING multi-academy trust has signed an agreement with trade union chiefs to ensure its ongoing commitment to its teaching and support staff.

Representatives from Unison put their names to a Trade Union Recognition Agreement following five months of discussions with the Hartlepool-based Extol Academy Trust.

Extol Academy Trust oversees the governance of Eldon Grove Academy, Hartlepool, an outstanding national support school, New Silksworth Academy Infants, and New Silksworth Academy Juniors, both in Sunderland, as well as being an approved Department of Education sponsor for other schools.

Executive headteacher and chief executive Julie Deville, who signed the agreement on behalf of Extol Academy Trust, said: “As an academy we have stepped away from the governance of both Hartlepool and Sunderland local authorities, however we recognise the legal and moral requirement to look after the interests of all of our 250 staff members. Extol Trust strives to be an employer of choice and the signing of this agreement highlights the value we place on our greatest resource, our staff, and their representatives.”

“Extol Trust has established strong working relationships with the local trade unions and this agreement ensures that if there are any changes to employees’ terms and conditions in the future there will be full consultation and engagement with staff and their unions before any decisions are made.”

All academies based within Hartlepool have now signed the Trade Union Recognition Agreement highlighting the borough as leading the way nationally in education-based industrial relations.

Edwin Jeffries, secretary of the Hartlepool Joint Trade Union Committee, said: “We look forward to continuing our good working relationship and social partnership with all the schools within Extol Academy Trust and maintaining terms and conditions for all of our teaching and support staff.”

“This agreement gives our members confidence looking forward; staff can be reassured that Extol Academy Trust has a genuinely good relationship with the unions and that we will work in partners