National Union of Teachers: Role and Structure
The NUT organises teachers in England, Wales, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey and in Service Children’s Schools throughout the world. As by far the largest teachers’ union, the NUT has the resources and staffing to meet the needs of teachers in all aspects of their professional work. The Union’s structure at headquarters, in the English regions and in Wales is designed to meet the needs of all teachers, including headteachers, deputy headteachers, supply teachers and part-time teachers, all of whom may require professional support, advice and guidance at some stage.
As the major professional organisation, the NUT plays a leading role in influencing education and employment policies at national and local levels. The Union is represented on major national educational bodies. At local level NUT representatives participate in the various policy-making, negotiating and consultative bodies. The Union makes representations to central government on all matters affecting the contracts of teachers and schools. Through its Parliamentary consultants the Union seeks to influence education legislation.
Membership of the Union is through constituent associations. These are the central associations, single-association divisions where the association covers the whole geographical area of the local authority (LA) and local associations where there is more than one association within the area of the LA. Subscription is collected nationally. The officers and committees of associations are elected by the membership. Policies are determined at general meetings which are subject to rules and standing orders approved by the National Executive. Associations submit motions and send representatives to Annual Conference.
The Central Associations of the Union are the Central Overseas Service Schools Association, the National Association of Youth and Community Education Officers and the Further Education and Youth Service Association of Wales.
Responsibility for negotiation with local authorities rests with the NUT’s
divisions, there being a division for each local authority. Local associations
affiliate to the division relevant to their LA area.
The policies of the NUT are determined at Annual Conference through debates on motions submitted for consideration by associations, divisions and the Executive. Conference is the supreme policy making body of the NUT.
The affairs of the NUT are managed by the Executive. The Executive consists of the officers of the Union, elected nationally, 37 members, elected from 27 electoral districts, and one Black Member Constituency Seat.
NUT headquarters is at Hamilton House in London. Headquarters departments are responsible for policy development and implementation; national negotiations; national issues; membership recording and central collection of subscriptions; and providing support to the regional structure. The first points of contact for Union members should always be the local association secretary and the appropriate regional office or the NUT Wales Office, NUT Cymru.
Protection for teachers is a major priority for the NUT. It has always offered to members a far higher level of service in the area in which they teach than any other teachers’ organisation.
In order to provide direct support and guidance to members the Union has a network of regional offices and the NUT office in Wales, NUT Cymru.
England is divided into nine regions, with a full time staff of between eight and eleven people serving each region. Each office is headed by a regional secretary and contains a team of regional officers, principal officers, professional and clerical staff, whose major responsibility is to support, assist and defend members.
Wales has its own office, NUT Cymru, fully bilingual, staffed on similar lines, with the addition of a specialist education officer.
The Union has a team of solicitors, based at regional offices and in the NUT Wales Office, NUT Cymru, whose role is to provide legal assistance to members.
All this is in addition to the many hundreds of voluntary division and association officers and school representatives who advise and assist members.