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Should / Can Cover Supervisors join a union?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by MathMan1, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. MathMan1

    MathMan1 New commenter

    Apologies if this is a question with an 'obvious' yes or no answer, but I wasn't sure so thought it best to ask on here.

    I'm presently studying for a maths degree with the OU with the aim to become a maths teacher. I've secured some regular voluntary work in a local secondary school's maths dept and also some paid days there too since they were pleased with the support I could provide - but covid meant that's on hold until Sept at the earliest.

    I'd like to transition from my 'other job' to spend additional paid time working in secondary schools and to that end have spoken to a couple of agencies who provide cover supervisors for this area.

    My question is this - can I / should I join a union at this stage?

    From the litigious nature of how schools can be I'd have thought this could be sensible, however, as a non-qualified non-degree person I wasn't sure if that's possible to do yet?

    I'd imagine that TA's would join a union so the non-degree issue may be a red-herring.

    I believe there are a few unions and so if it's a 'yes' to joining - is there one that may be more suitable than another?

    I've read on here that teachers have been recommended to join the 'main' union in their school, but for someone who may go to a few schools, that's not really plausible.

    I've also read the pinned post but that didn't refer to Cover Supervisors whatsoever


    Any suggestions gratefully rec'd.

    Thx all.
  2. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Yes. I think NASIWT will accept membership. Otherwise try Unison which is the one that many TA's join.
    Googler and MathMan1 like this.
  3. MathMan1

    MathMan1 New commenter

    Thx Blazer, I'll take a look at those.
  4. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Definitely join a union asap. As blazer says, many TAs are in UNISON - probably around two thirds of our TAs are members. The rest are in GMB.
    MathMan1 and Googler like this.
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    In my school most TAs are in Unison too. We have just one TA who isn't, she is in GMB.

    If you are not a teacher you are, loosely, a "TA".
    MathMan1 and Googler like this.
  6. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    Mathman, Yes you can join a union and I think the two teaching unions the NEU and the NASUWT may accept CS and TA's as well, I would suggest if the opportunity arises to join a union.
    MathMan1 and Googler like this.
  7. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Support staff can join the NEU. Other good suggestions have been made. You should certainly join a union.
    MathMan1 and Googler like this.
  8. MathMan1

    MathMan1 New commenter

    @blazer , @sunshineneed, @Rott Weiler , @historygrump , @becky70 , thanks to all of you for your suggestions re union membership.

    I'm currently re-drafting my (non-teaching focused) CV so I can send it to some of the local teaching agencies.

    A few phone calls have suggested there'd be tutoring / CS work around come Sept (but they all say that, though, don't they?) so I'll see how things progress then.

    I'm sure I'll be back with a few more qs as things progress.

    Appreciate your tips on here.
    becky70 and sunshineneeded like this.
  9. Kateray1

    Kateray1 Occasional commenter

    I could not get membership of any teaching union as cover supervisor or HLTA.

    try a general one.
    MathMan1 likes this.
  10. MathMan1

    MathMan1 New commenter

    That's interesting, especially since I've seen explicit reference on one of the union's websites as to what a CS is. It seems rather odd to define an 'officially defined' in-school position but not to cover it.

    Will look into this further and let you know what I turn up.
  11. Kateray1

    Kateray1 Occasional commenter

    I had the same issue when approaching the union regarding the 50% teaching timetable HLTA in secondary science role I had, or the 80% teaching supply role I had in another school. I got support whatever The teaching unions.
    MathMan1 likes this.
  12. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    You have to be in a union - have to be.
    Jolly_Roger15 and MathMan1 like this.
  13. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I think that may have changed recently with the merger of the NUT and ATL - it's now called the NEU and support staff can join. However, there are lots of options - most support staff I know are with the GMB or UNISON.

    That's the most important point. It doesn't have to be a teaching union.
    MathMan1 likes this.
  14. Babana

    Babana New commenter

    I’ve been a cover supervisor for 7 years and have been a member of the NEU (initially ATL) for all of that time. It has been invaluable.
  15. abwdSTEM

    abwdSTEM Occasional commenter

    Yes , join a union for your own protection.
    Jolly_Roger15 and MathMan1 like this.
  16. MathMan1

    MathMan1 New commenter

    Re unions and Cover Supervisors I thought I'd post an update so that if others searching on here for info would stay informed with the most recent info.

    I did contact the NEU to ask about whether cover for a CS role would be available, up until I secured a place on a PGCE, and the answer's "no".

    1. I would not eligible to become a member of the NEU until I had commenced my PGCE, and
    2. If I were to obtain employment in a school/academy as a Cover Supervisor etc, I would be employed as associate/support staff as such & was advised to join one of the support staff trade unions, namely UNISON, GMB or UNITE.
    So it's over to their websites (as suggested on here previously) to see what they say.

    Will update for others for future ref as & when
  17. elvispenhaligon

    elvispenhaligon Occasional commenter

    I have never, nor will I ever be a member of a union.

    They are troublemaking ****** and they just want to create problems for any government and not go to work.

    They are not necessary in modern first world Britain.

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