BRIT POLITICS:Advanced 16 - 18 Years:Role of Interest Groups:Case Study: National Union of Teachers (NUT)

Case Study – National Union of Teachers (NUT)

Origins

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. ... From 400 members when it was founded, the NUT grew rapidly. [1]

Aims

The NUT campaigns on educational issues and working conditions for its members. Some of their current policies are:

- Fairer pay and better work-life balance for teachers (pressuring for a reduction in workload)
- Campaigning against recent governmental proposal that all schools should become academies
- Abolition of SATs at primary level
- Merging with another teacher union ATL to form a more representative and unified union for teachers [2]

Insider or Outsider?

The NUT is consulted by government after they have put on strikes or protests, however they are not an insider pressure group. This is because government does not consult them before passing a law that will affect them. 

Interest or Cause?

The NUT is an interest pressure group because you must be a teacher to join, and they only protect and campaign for the interest of teachers. 
The NUT currently has around 400,00 members, making it the largest teachers’ union in the UK.
The NUT offers legal protection to its members. 

Successes

The NUT has established two financial service companies for teachers, the Teachers Assurance in 1877 and the Teachers Building Society in 1966
1896: when four teachers were sacked for not starting work at 7:55 am, the NUT organised a strike in Portsmouth and eventually managed to have these teachers reinstated.
1907 West Ham Strike: The Council here became a very anti-union one rejecting to acknowledge the NUT. The NUT began a strike, which forced the council to acknowledge the union and settle an agreement with the NUT.
2013: Teachers in conflict over policy with the then Education Secretary, Michael Gove. Many one day strikes took place on the subject of pensions, pay, and working conditions. A Department for Education report found that 27% of schools nationally were affected by these strikes.

Failures

Teachers Pensions Failure: When the government announced pensions increase in 2015, the NUT protested against this as it would lead to an increase in CPI inflation. In the end, they were not able to successfully combat this government measure.

References

[1] https://www.teachers.org.uk/members-reps/your-union/about-the-nut/nut-history

[2] https://www.teachers.org.uk/campaigns

Case study provided by Advanced Level Adviser - Zoe Lynes