UK: education unions merge to form new organisation

published 1 September 2017 updated 4 September 2017

The creation of a new education has become a reality in the UK following the amalgamation of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Union of Teachers, creating the National Education Union.

With more than 450,000 members, the National Education Union represents teachers and other education professionals and provides broader support in maintained and independent schools and colleges and a stronger voice in the education debate.

Combining the expertise and experience of both the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT), both affiliates of Education International (EI), the National Education Union is committed to making the education sector a great place to work. It will continue to campaign for sustainable workloads, fight for a fairly-funded education system and champion pay and working conditions. It will make education a great place to teach - which values and promotes professional expertise and learns from relevant data; and a great place to learn - with a broad curriculum to motivate learners, allowing them to develop their interests and skills for the future.

“The National Education Union is a game-changer combining ATL’s diversity of members, excellent training and policy expertise with the NUT’s campaigning and lobbying skills and well-established, effective local activity,” Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, pointed out.

She went on to highlight that the newly created educators’ union brings together teachers, lecturers, support staff, heads and managers in their workplaces to share their expertise and improve their working lives, and it is  “a union ready to meet the current challenges, particularly in funding and in workload”.

The other joint general secretary of the National Education Union Kevin Courtney also stressed that “this is a pivotal moment in education, and members need a united voice to speak loudly and authoritatively on the issues that matter”.

The school funding crisis, high workload, threats to pay and conditions, and the dire problems in recruitment and retention, all are burning issues within the profession, and the National Education Union will be “a formidable presence at the forefront of those debates”, he noted.

Members formally in ATL or NUT will continue to be supported by their union’s current staff and lay officials until the end of a transition period on 1 January 2019. Current general secretaries of both the ATL and NUT, Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, will continue in place as joint general secretaries of the National Education Union until 2023.