Insight Placement at the National Education Union, Belfast

A student teachers' experience of working with the NEU.


Hello NEU members and readers! 

My name is Caolán, and I am a final year Post-Primary B.Ed. student teacher in Stranmillis University College, Belfast and for the past two weeks I have been completing my insight placement in the National Education Union offices in Belfast. As for those of you who may not know, an insight placement is something many teacher training institutions have begun sending  their students on in order to give them experience in settings which are still educational in nature, but not strictly confined to the classroom. I can say without a shadow of doubt coming up on the end of my placement with the NEU that I would recommend it to other students coming through Stranmillis 100%. 

Although I have been based in the NEU York Road office, my experiences with the NEU team have taken me all over Belfast and further afield. From joining sister unions at protests at Hillsborough Castle, to visiting NEU members in their respective schools and hearing their concerns and ideas surrounding necessary educational change in the coming academic year, it has certainly been insightful in every sense of the word! 

Getting to witness first-hand the hard work NEU staff and teacher representatives are putting in behind the scenes to secure better deals and working conditions for teachers has been fantastic and very encouraging as someone who is months away from entering into the profession as an Early Career Teacher. What’s more, the research carried out by staff members along with the level of knowledge amongst the NI regional secretary and officers is reassuring to say the least. Pauline, Mark, Danielle, Alistair, and Simon certainly know their stuff! As for the NEU Northern Ireland President- Edel McInerney, I’m sure lots of members will agree with me when I say her energy and passion for educational change and supporting teachers needs is positively inspiring! 

In my time at NEU, I have learnt the fundamental value of unionising and how there is power in numbers. I also found it encouraging to see most of the NI teaching unions work together to achieve a common goal and, on that note, I think teachers, lecturers, school leaders and support staff are in safe hands and can rest assured knowing the NEU is on their side.😊

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