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NASUWT large flag strike demo

A music teacher with over twenty five years of experience has been welcomed as the next President of NASUWT Cymru at its 2024 Conference in Swansea. NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union is the largest trade union for teachers in Wales.

Luke Lockyer, who has served as Head of Music at Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive School in Neath for the past fifteen years, gave a keynote speech on Saturday where he shared his biggest hope for teachers: that respect and pay for the profession will be fully restored.

“It’s a high honour and privilege to represent all NASUWT members in Wales,” said Luke. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I’d be standing here, making a speech as President of a teachers’ union – particularly given that in truth, twenty five years ago, it was a good friend of mine who handed in my application to teacher training. He thought, wouldn’t it be great if we did the course together? And now here I am.”

Luke was part of the first cohort of the UK’s NQT programme. “Nothing could prepare me for what was ahead,” he said. “In my first Year 9 lesson, one six foot tall male pupil was hanging another pupil out of the window of our second floor music department. When I challenged him, he said, ‘Well Sir, I was told that you’re a new teacher, and that we have to look after you. I decided to deal with a potential problem before you entered the room.’ The irony, of course, is that even though that pupil was engaging in dangerous behaviour, there was still an element of respect for his new teacher.”

Luke has been an NASUWT activist since the beginning of his teaching career, becoming the school representative while still an NQT. For the past four years, the father of two has served as Local Association Negotiating Secretary for Port Talbot. He is especially proud of the way NASUWT continues to campaign on the complex issue of violent and aggressive behaviour in schools. “We have much more to do here,” he said. “With the whole membership, officials, and friends by our side, I'm confident we can make a change that safeguards our members, fellow colleagues, and other pupils in our care.”

Luke feels strongly about pay restoration for teachers, having worked on associated campaigns for fourteen years. During his long career, he has observed the growing recruitment and retention crisis with a sense of real unease. “We are still at least 25% behind where pay should be, and this is important to retain our excellent members out there and encourage new teachers in and to stay,” he said. “We now have an endemic crisis of teachers leaving due to pay not matching their expectations and personal circumstances. A hard-working profession deserves and is entitled to a professional level of pay – and may I add working conditions – that respect the professional integrity of all teachers.”

As a music teacher, music education is a big priority for Luke.  When not at work or campaigning for teachers’ rights, he can be found performing in tribute acts for artists such as Queen, Nile Rogers, and Bruno Mars. “I love how music has enriched my life and the lives of others,” he said. “I’ll be campaigning to ensure that Music Education is always properly funded to keep the 'land of song' alive with our future generations.”

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said:

“NASUWT is privileged to count Luke Lockyer among its most experienced and ambitious activists.

“Over the past twenty five years, he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the fight for teachers’ rights, and a natural ability to gain the respect and trust of fellow members.

“I congratulate Luke on his election to President of NASUWT Cymru and wish him a fulfilling and successful year in the role. “

Neil Butler, National Official for Wales, said:

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Luke as the new President of NASUWT Cymru.
“Wales has long been famous for producing top class musical artists. There’s no doubt that it also produces some top class trade unionists. With a music teacher as its new President, I’m sure NASUWT has achieved a winning combination of the two.

“NASUWT is nothing without the dedication and drive of its members, and over his many years as an activist, Luke has shown just how important member involvement is to the Union. I look forward to supporting him as he represents his peers and continues to campaign for the many changes we need in the Welsh education system.”


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