Welcome to teaching! You’ve chosen a career that gives you a unique opportunity to inspire the next generation. As a student or trainee teacher, you probably have a lot of questions. Whether you’re starting your training in a school or at university, the National Education Union is here to support you throughout your teacher training and your career.

Reasons to join the NEU

As a member of the UK’s largest education union, you will benefit from:

  • It is free to join
  • Expert advice and guidance
  • The support of our nationwide network of workplace reps
  • Access to the NEU free advice helpline
  • Subsidised CPD courses in your local area
  • Money-saving member benefits and services, including insurance protection at work
  • Educate, the magazine for teachers delivered by post and the NEU app
  • The chance to get involved in networks for young members and new teachers just like you
  • The opportunity to be part of a campaigning union shaping the future of education 

All of this is completely FREE for students and trainees.


We are the NEU: join us

Listen to this year’s regional rep of the year award winner, Rachel, explain what made her join the NEU.

We are the NEU: join us

What is the National Education Union?

The NEU is a trade union. Find out more about what a trade union is.

We are:

  • The largest education union in Europe
  • Fourth largest trade union in the UK, with over 450,000 members
  • The majority of teachers in England and Wales are in NEU membership
  • We represent everyone working in schools and colleges, including teachers, head teachers, support staff, lecturers, trainees and NQTs.

What is a trade union?

A trade union is an organisation that represents workers in a specific field of employment. Its main goal is to protect and advance the interests of its members. There are approximately 6 million trade union members in the UK. Some large trade unions represent workers in all sorts of different jobs, whereas others, like the NEU, specialise in just one area (education).

By joining a union, you don’t have to deal with any issues that affect your job on your own. As a union member, by coming together with your colleagues, you will have a stronger voice when tackling issues that are important to you at work, including negotiating your pay and conditions of employment or challenging discrimination. In addition, union members can access advice, support and workplace representation, and have access to professional development as well as a range of benefits, including insurance. It is a good idea for anyone who works in education to join a union before entering the workplace.