Headteachers should join a merged mega union, says ATL leader


The leader of ATL, who is negotiating a mega union with the NUT, has invited headteacher unions to consider joining them.

Mary Bousted, who will be co general secretary of the new National Education Union if their members agree in a ballot to merge, said that teachers need a single unified voice if they are to challenge the sort of policies that have created ‘multi-level crisis’ within education.

She said: ‘Teachers in Finland and Australia have single unions to represent teachers and it means the government simply has to involve them in policy decisions. Here, with five unions, we are more easily divided and played off against each other.’

She admitted that on pure education issues, rather than conditions of service like pensions, the unions had been unable to challenge very hostile policy developments that created the recruitment and retention crisis in education, chaos in the national exams and a curriculum that did not serve the best interests of many children and the country at large.

“When it comes to [political leverage] size does matter,” insisted Mary Bousted. “And my hope is that we will be able as a combined force to exert more pressure on the issues we care about and divert more time away from competing with each other”.

She welcomed the election of Geoff Barton at the ASCL and, whilst she felt he would initially have to get to grips with internal issues, the ‘door would be open’ to discussions about a merger.

Both the NUT and ATL have Leadership sections and many of the members within these have joined membership with the ASCL and NAHT.