About the NUT

NUT History

The NUT was founded as the National Union of Elementary Teachers (NUET) for all teachers in England and Wales in June 1870, the year that Forster’s Education Act set up elected local school boards to build elementary schools. In 1888 it became the National Union of Teachers.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is a trade union for school teachers in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It is a member of the Trades Union Congress. The Union recruits only qualified teachers and those training to be qualified teachers into membership and currently has over 300,000 members, making it the largest teachers' union in Europe.

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.

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 advice line for members in England or the local association secretary and the appropriate regional office or the NUT Wales Office, NUT Cymru.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The NUT campaigns on educational issues and working conditions for its members.

Among the NUT’s current policies are:

  • Fair pay for teachers
  • Work-life balance for teachers
  • Against academies
  • Abolition of National Curriculum Tests (SATs)
  • One union for all teachers
  • Teachers workload
  • Curriculum
  • Stand up for education
  • Protect teachers, defend education

Support for members

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.

The NUT offers legal protection to its members. Automatically available to all members are the union's legal and professional services. All members are covered by group insurance and support services including insurance cover for: personal accidents, hospitalisation, personal property (inc spectacles), malicious damage to motor vehicles in school or college premises. Also available are a wide range of NUT endorsed services bringing good value and integrity.

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, NUT Cymru, is designed to meet the needs of all teachers, including head teachers, deputy head teachers, supply teachers, part-time teachers, overseas trained teachers and students on courses leading to qualified teacher status, 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 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 education, teachers, schools and colleges.

Constituent Associations

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 education authority, and local associations where there is more than one association within the area of the local authority. 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 National Conference.

Central Associations

The central association of the Union is the Central Overseas Service Schools Association (COSSA).

Divisions

Responsibility for negotiation with local authorities rests with the Union’s divisions, there being a division for each local authority. Local associations affiliate to the division relevant to their local authority area.

NUT Representatives

Our NUT representatives in schools and colleges are critical to the success of the Union. They are often the first point of contact for members and are an essential Union presence in education workplaces throughout the country.

Reps can be involved in:

• being the public face of the NUT
• recruiting new members to the Union
• representing members’ concerns to senior management
• leading workplace conversations about education and learning.

NUT reps are encouraged to work together through their local associations and other networks to share ideas and successes. Reps have access to a high-quality programme of training and support to develop their skills and confidence in Union activity.

The workplace rep role can be shared by more than one member and there is a range of other rep roles, including health and safety and union learning. In this way reps can build an effective team in their school or college.

The NUT will be most successful if there is a rep in every school and college in England and Wales. If there is no rep in your workplace, talk to other members and contact your association to get involved.

AdviceLine

Members seeking advice and guidance should contact the NUT AdviceLine by telephoning 0203 0066 266 or emailing nutadviceline@nut.org.uk

Conference

The policies of the Union are determined at National Conference through debates on motions submitted for consideration by associations, divisions and the Executive. Conference is the supreme policy-making body of the Union.

Executive

The affairs of the Union are managed by the Executive. The Executive consists of the officers of the Union, elected nationally, and 40 members, elected from 27 electoral districts and 3 equality constituency seats.

Headquarters

NUT Headquarters is at Hamilton House in London. Headquarters departments are responsible for policy development and implementation, national negotiations, national issues, membership recording and collection of subscriptions, and providing support to the regional and Wales office structures. The first points of contact for Union members wishing to get involved in Union activities should always be the NUT representative or the local association secretary.

Direct Support

Protection for teachers is a major priority for the Union. The Union has always offered members a far higher level of service than any other teachers’ organisation.

In order to provide direct support and guidance to members, the Union has an AdviceLine service for immediate advice and assistance to members in England by email and phone (see above).

The Union also has a network of regional offices in England and the NUT Office in Wales, NUT Cymru. England is divided into eight 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, case workers, organising team, 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.

The Union has a team of solicitors, based at the regional offices in England and the NUT Office in Wales, 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 NUT representatives who advise and assist members.

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