NEU is recognised by more independent sector employers than any other union. Approximately 100 independent schools negotiate staff terms and conditions with NEU, of which roughly half include all support staff as well as teachers.

As a modern trade union, NEU believes in the ethos of the school community and that the contribution of all staff is equally important. Consequently, the NEU welcomes into membership all staff working in the independent sector: teachers and teaching assistants, technicians and librarians, office administration and cleaners, grounds and caretaking staff.

NEU monitoring political party policy on independent schools

The National Education Union represents 32,000 teachers and support staff working in the independent sector.

We are closely monitoring the situation regarding the policies on independent schools agreed at the Labour Party Conference.

As an independent trade union, unaffiliated to any political party, we will use, as and where appropriate, all our powers and good offices to protect our members. Discussions are on-going. These policy proposals have a long way to go, with significant practicalities and decisions on priorities. We wait to see if, and in what format, they appear in the manifesto.

The debate on independent schools’ charitable status and tax concessions is not confined to the Labour Party. The Liberal Democrats have already adopted policy to remove such benefit and there are notable voices in the Conservatives calling for the same. Scotland has already decided to remove Business Rate Relief from Scottish independent schools from 2020.

While it is only just over half of all independent schools that enjoy charitable status, many are not wealthy, and some could face closure if tax concessions are removed. The NEU is concerned about such a scenario.

Our members working in the independent sector, teachers and support staff, do a fantastic job educating our children. We need to ensure that their professional contribution and commitment to the education of our children is not lost.

The NEU will robustly defend our independent sector members jobs and terms and conditions. Just as we are currently doing in the real and present threat to teachers pensions, caused by the significant increase to the employers’ contribution.

Specialist support

In addition to all the usual services you would expect such as first-class advice and support, NEU commits considerable resources to supporting our members in the independent sector.

NEU is the only trade union to offer all of the following:

  • staff solely dedicated to the independent sector
  • your local NEU branch, which can help you with any questions or issues that you have.
  • an elected member advisory group which advises NEU's Executive Committee
  • a termly newsletter on independent sector issues
  • the annual Independent Schools Conference, with keynote speakers and seminars, and the opportunity to meet other colleagues in the sector, as well as NEU's annual pay and conditions survey of the sector
  • dedicated publications such as NEU's guide Working in the Independent Sector and our Work-life Balance Toolkit for Teachers in Independent Schools
  • tailored sector specific training courses
  • campaigns, such as NEU's campaign against the culture of working excessive hours in the independent sector.
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