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Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Mash1710, Jul 19, 2015.
Hi, Just wondering whether anyone had any suggestions regarding which union to join?
As a trainee, you should be able to join them all and see if there's one that stands out to you. There isn't a right or wrong answer, just a personal preference.
Really depends on your politics, too.
For me, a proactive union with a clear sense of solidarity and community is crucial. For others, their union is little more than professional insurance if things go wrong with their career.
Are you willing to strike, or take action short of strike action? If not, that will impact your choice.
I joined the three major unions as a trainee - it should be free - and my union happened to be the first to contact me as I approached my NQT year, and offered a reduced rate. As it happens, it rather suits me, but I wasn't to know that at the time.
And as much as I'd like to pitch for my union, just make sure you join at least one. BEFORE you get in the classroom.
Rusty feathers is spot on.
1) You can join as many as you want. Probably free as well as a trainee. They may send you some resources etc. So i would probably do this.
2) After this it depends on your political stand point. Traditionally the NUT are the most 'militant' (I use the term carefully and with no hint of hostility to it) NASUWT are a bit more moderate and the ATL more moderate still (only been on strike once i think, that was last year) groups like VOICE and EDAPT are good if you simply want the protection. For me that is what a union is not about, but there you go.
3) A bit of advice. I am in NASUWT. I joined because I am comfortable with the politics of the organisation and (probably most importantly) they were the biggest union in my first school and had an excellent staff rep. It is sometimes better to be in the flock than outside. That is only my opinion though, many will differ.
Oh yes - that's a good point! If you can find out who is best represented in your school, do so. I kind of flout this, but that's because the pros of being in my union outweigh the cons of being in a union that's got (including me) 2 members in the school and no school rep. But I make sure I know who my local rep is!
so can i join all the unions now before my course starts in september?
I'm starting SCITT training in September, and I didn't realise that trainees can join unions. Is this recommended? Is it frowned upon by the training providers or school leaders? I'm not from the UK, so forgive my ignorance on this matter.
You're bonkers if you DON'T join a union. You need to have a look at a few of their websites to see what they offer, but the legal support alone is worth it. Your provider and leaders expect you to join at least 1 union as a trainee, if not more, and then settle on one when you qualify. If you end up with legal problems, whether due to employment issues or worse, the union is your first call and provides other advice, training and support.
We had the unions in to our SCITT induction day, and I encouraged the trainees to join them all. It's not just about the legal backing: the unions offer excellent free CPD to trainees too.
Any school leader who frowns upon union membership is a school leader I would NOT want to work for!
Join. A. Union.
You don't have strike entitlement as a student teacher (or didn't when I was training) but you get the legal cover and the support and the community. One of my first lectures on my PGCE course was, essentially, "join a union".
If you encounter a school that DOESN'T want you being part of a union, I'd take that as a red flag that you NEED a union more than ever in that school.
Also, I know you'll be swamped, but do look at the stuff they do outside of legal cover/protection and advocating for teachers professional rights. My union runs conferences, one of which I'm a regular attendee at (others as and when I can), has links to activism I do, and has great (and often free) CPD.
Thanks for clearing that up. I'll definitely join a union then.