Indepndent sector recruitment leaflet cover

Independent recruitment leaflet

The NEU believes there’s strength in numbers and that by working together, we have a powerful collective voice.


What we do

Workplace representation

If you experience a problem at work, you will have the support, advice, and representation of a strong union.

Winning better terms and conditions

One of the main roles of a trade union is collective bargaining. That means the union negotiates with employers on behalf of members on issues like health and safety, pay and working arrangements, and redundancies.

The NEU has a proven track record of using our strength to win improvements to our members’ working conditions in the independent sector.

Making your voice heard

The NEU has a powerful voice when speaking to Government and policy makers. The NEU holds an annual independent sector conference and other forums which ensure that the voice of independent sector members is reflected in NEU policy.

Campaigning to shape the future of education

The NEU is proud to be a campaigning union with a clear vision of what our education system should look like.

Together, we want to shape the future of education for the benefit of teachers, support staff, and pupils. Recent NEU campaigns on pay and pensions in the independent sector have led to significant wins for members.

The NEU is not affiliated to any political party. The union campaigns on behalf of members to ensure that all political parties take action on the issues that matter to you.

Advice and guidance

Whether you need guidance about your employment rights or help with problems such as workload, NEU members benefit from a wealth of expertise. You will also find resources targeted at independent sector members.

As well as the support of your workplace rep, your branch and your regional NEU team, you’ll have access to a free employment advice line.

A chance to get involved

The NEU wants you to get involved in your union and to meet colleagues from other schools in the independent sector. Opportunities to get involved in the union include a national council (independent sector) of elected members, an annual independent sector conference, local meetings, equality conferences and an independent sector rep network.

Training and CPD

The NEU is committed to supporting you throughout your career whether you are a teacher, member of support staff, lecturer or you hold a leadership role. The majority of courses are free to NEU members and include topics from behaviour management to supporting pupils with EAL, to understanding dyslexia and dyscalculia, and a middle leader development programme accredited by the UCL Centre for Education Leadership.

Member benefits

NEU Rewards gives you more for your membership by providing you and your family with a wide range of money-saving benefits and services. This includes a low cost will writing service, shopping discounts, financial advice, and mortgages designed for teachers.

NEU members also benefit from free insurance protection for personal accidents at work and loss or damage to personal property at work, including teaching equipment and personal effects.

Who can join?

The NEU is an education union for all school staff. Whatever your role is in an independent school, whether you’re a teacher, a head teacher, a teaching assistant, caretaker, school office staff, matron, or a school librarian, the NEU is here to represent and support you.

Supply and agency teachers can also benefit from NEU membership.

If you’re a student or trainee teacher, you can join for free. Early career teachers pay just £1 for membership for the first year after qualifying.

Support staff

The NEU welcomes all staff working in the independent sector, including support staff. We represent teaching assistants, technicians, librarians, matrons, office administrators, cleaners, site maintenance and caretaking staff, and many more.

NEU wins 50 per cent pay rise for matrons

In 2024, matrons at Brighton College won a 50 per cent pay rise, plus union recognition, following a campaign led by their NEU reps.

The campaign started after a member raised the issue of matron pay at a union meeting. Within a week, every matron had become an NEU member, and they elected their own rep. Around the same time, the prestigious school published an advert for a window cleaner on a higher rate of pay than the matrons. Understandably aggrieved, the matrons were determined to demand a pay rise.

The rep team was honest with the matrons about what it might take to win, and clear that nothing was guaranteed. But they also explained that, if the matrons stuck together and were willing to fight, anything was possible. The matrons took their complaint to the employer and when they had exhausted all other avenues, they voted to take industrial action.

Their willingness to take action, and unity during the campaign, propelled them to victory. The matrons won a 50 per cent pay rise (with the option of moving to a full-time contract, which would mean a 90 per cent pay rise). As well as being financially better off, they also won the security of union recognition so that they can raise matters with the employer in future.

The NEU rep said “The collective strength of the matrons, as well as their good humour and willingness to fight, was uplifting and inspiring. It has been the highlight of my teaching career to be part of this campaign.”

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