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Getting active as a Workplace Rep

Michelle Codrington Rogers

The NASUWT Workplace Representative (also known as a School Representative) is a key role for the Union. There are many activities that Workplace Representatives can get involved in, the most important of which is acting as a vital communications link between the members in the school and the local association. By having effective communication the NASUWT will recruit more members within the school and Workplace Representatives have an important role in making sure each new teacher to the school, newly qualified teacher and student teacher on their workplace placements are asked to join the Union. 

 



Recruiting and Organising

The NASUWT is committed to the Organising Agenda which means the Union's message being actively communicated across the wider membership in schools and members being encouraged to take an active part in the Union. The Workplace Representative is a vitally important part of this process. Workplace Representatives are very often the first contact that members and the teaching workforce in the school have with the NASUWT, therefore it is essential that Workplace Representatives encourage all new teacher members of staff, newly qualified teachers and student teachers on their work based placements to join the Union. Workplace Representatives are also central to communicating information from the national and regional Union to the membership in the school. 

There are a number of activities that Workplace Representatives can undertake to raise the profile and activities of the NASUWT within the school.

  • Workplace Representatives could encourage teacher colleagues to get active in the Union by undertaking other representatives roles and building the union team within the school. For more information and guidance on building the NASUWT school team go to in the workplace.
  • ensuring all information from the national and regional Union is communicated to the membership in the school.
  • Call regular members meetings at a time and place that is accessible to all.
  • making sure that every teacher including newly qualified teachers and student teachers on their work based placements are asked to join the Union.
  • Ensure that the school notice board is kept up to date with NASUWT information, see the NASUWT notice board pack.
  • all workplace representatives should ensure that they keep in regular contact with their local association. Local Association Officers will provide essential guidance and support and will also be able to inform you about any new resources available to you and relevant training that you want or need to go on. Find out more about getting active in the local association.

Representing Members

Workplace Representatives may also be the person members first approach with issues they are facing in school. Representing members may seem a daunting task for many Workplace Representatives and in the first instance it is essential that all Workplace Representatives undertake the appropriate training course as soon as possible after they are elected. However Workplace Representatives shouldn't feel like they have to take on board all of the issues that are raised with them. Many of the problems members raise may have to be dealt with by the Local Association Secretary, the National Executive Member for the district or even the Regional Centre. Therefore it is important that Workplace Representatives communicate at all times with their Local Association in the first instance about any issues that are raised by the membership in their schools.

Once a NASUWT Workplace Representative feels confident enough, other important aspects of their role are; 

  • raising with management the concerns of the members
  • advising and supporting individual members in the workplace on employment-related matters. Remember the law requires those representing members at grievance or disciplinary hearings to be accredited by the Union.

Training for Workplace Representatives

It is essential that all NASUWT Workplace Representatives get trained on the most appropriate training course as soon as possible after they are elected into their Union position. The first course Workplace Representatives should undertake is the Working Together Stage 1 course. There are then further essential training courses that Workplace Representatives should undertake as they gain more experience. Workplace Representatives have rights to time off to attend appropriate trade union training. If you are a Workplace Representative and you are having difficulty gaining time off then speak to your Local Association Secretary in the first instance. 

Find out more about the Workplace Reps training courses, to book a place on a course make sure you inform your Local Association Secretary in the first instance, you can see relevant courses for you by going to book a training course.

For more information about the other NASUWT represenatives roles see links below.

In the Local Association
As a Health & Safety Rep
As a Union Learning Rep
As a Teacher Governor Rep

Resources for Workplace Representatives

The NASUWT produce numerous resources to help Workplace Representatives undertake their role and also to recruit and organise members in their schools.

Standing up for Standards

The NASUWT is the only teachers' trade union that has followed the day of national action on 30 November 2011 with continuing Action Short of Strike Action. The NASUWT membership overwhelmingly agreed to take this course of action with 91% voting in favour in the recent ballot. This action is pupil and parent friendly action and is intended to protect teachers contractual rights, so that they can spend more time in the classroom delivering high quality education. This is a major strand in the Union's overarching campaigns that aim to protect state education and teachers terms and conditions. Workplace representatives have a vital role to play in communicating important information from the NASUWT to the membership in schools in regards to the Standing up for Standards Campaign. In particular workplace representatives have a vitally important role to play in explaining the action short of strike action to members and in supporting them undertake such action. There is more information and resources for workplace reps to utilise on the Standing up for Standards section of the website.

The Schools Representatives Handbook is an essential guide that gives a thorough overview of the role of the School Rep and where they can get help and support.

The NASUWT also produces an abundance of communication resources that will help workplace representatives to encourage teachers to join the Union. Effective communication between NASUWT representatives and members and potential members is the lifeblood of the Union.

All Workplace Representatives should always have a stock of NASUWT applications forms to hand. To download copies of all the NASUWT application forms and other recruitment materials go to recruitment and organising resources for the workplace.

Regional Centres often produce their own regional materials, to find out if your region have produced appropriate materials speak to your Local Association Secretary or your Regional Centre in the first instance.