The NEU should be the ‘cradle to grave’ union for members from the start of their careers, through to leadership positions, and for all education professionals.
If the National Education Union is to achieve its ambition to be a ‘game changer’ in education, it must be widely seen to speak for all education professionals, including school leaders and college managers. The NEU’s ability to be the desperately needed force for change in education will be strengthened by increasing the numbers of leaders and managers who choose to remain in the NEU, participating in the development of policy and its implementation in schools and colleges.
The quality of leadership in schools and management in colleges affects, in direct and indirect ways, the quality of other education professionals (teachers, lecturers and support staff) working lives. Schools and colleges need to be effectively led by leaders and managers who are well supported and developed to meet and succeed in an immensely challenging education environment.
The alarming rate of teachers leaving the profession in early career (50% of teachers leave within five years), in the main because of excessive workload and stress, is damaging education, depriving schools and colleges of their most valuable resource, appropriately qualified teachers and lecturers.
Good employment practice, combined with a strong vision of the educational purpose of the school/college and trust for educational professionals, is essential if our schools and colleges are to places where educational professionals do work that is rewarding and enriching. The NEU sees the great value of supporting and helping to develop ethical leaders who recognise their colleagues’ professionalism and supports them in developing their careers.
School leaders and college managers are vital to the NEU. Their position of leadership within their institutions can strengthen or weaken (depending on their understanding and support) the NEU’s campaigns. For example, if the NEU were the leading union for primary school leaders, our campaign to stop the re-introduction of primary baseline testing, which most primary leaders oppose, would have greatly increased chances of success.
This defined leadership section, NEU Leadership, will retain members in the NEU as they progress into leadership and management roles in schools and colleges, stemming a wastage rate which is currently too high. This will increase income into the union (because NEU leaders will pay a higher membership fee) and strengthen the NEU’s capacity to effectively organise and bargain at school and college level.
Membership of the NEU leadership section
Current AMiE members and relevant NUT members in leadership posts will transfer to the NEU leadership section. Consideration will be given to other categories of members who will transfer to the section. Membership of the section will thereafter apply to those who are:
- Deputy Headteacher/Vice Principal
- Head of Centre/School/College (Post 16)
- Assistant Headteacher/Assistant Principal
- CEO/Executive Head/Leader of MAT
- Director/Assistant Director of Education
- Business Manager/Bursar/FE Manager/FE Finance Manager
The NEU leadership offer
The complex, professionally demanding work done by school leaders and college managers will be supported in the National Education Union by:
- The establishment of a leadership section within the NEU, called NEU Leadership;
- A NEU leadership committee, comprised of school leaders and college managers with representatives of the NEU Executive, to influence the policies of the largest education union in Europe;
- An annual conference for NEU leadership section members, offering all members the opportunity to make an input into the development of NEU policy and practice;
- A regular journal for NEU leadership members which is focused on their professional interests and needs;
- Bespoke CPD support for NEU leaders on issues and training needs which they have identified as important to their professional development;
- A Lead Officer in the Employment and Bargaining department (Steve Cooper, formerly AMiE Senior Regional Officer) who will work with leadership members to develop the NEU’s support and advice to NEU leadership members in key professional issues (for example school and college re-organisations), continue the development of ethical leadership policy, and work with all parts of the NEU’s staffing to ensure the fullest support to leadership members;
- A Leadership Officer in the recruitment and retention team (currently being appointed) with a specific responsibility for the retention of leaders and middle managers, who will work closely with the Learning team to ensure high quality CPD specific to these groups of members
- Specific casework support at the Adviceline, through ROs with support from the Lead Officer.