Gove stands accused of ‘union busting’ as he backs private rival

 

A private company endorsed by Education Secretary Michael Gove has become the first in the country to offer legal advice and protection to teachers who are not members of a union.

Edapt, the brainchild of a former assistant headteacher John Roberts, is setting out to woo what it believes are thousands of teachers who have only joined unions because of the protection against abuse allegations and disciplinary proceedings they offer – but are reluctant to take industrial action.

The company, which is understood to have more than 1,000 teachers on its books after five months, is expecting to boost its numbers if teachers’ unions embark on industrial action this year. Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, has already said strike action is “inevitable” if Mr Gove fails to soften his line on pay curbs, pension contribution increases and spending cuts.

The firm’s emergence comes at a time of war between Michael Gove and the teachers’ unions – with the Education Secretary seeking to weaken their stranglehold on the profession by reducing their numbers.

Edapt has already been praised by Mr Gove, below,as “a marvellous new organisation” and he is understood to want to make it easier for specialist firms like Edapt to represent teachers.At present the law states that teachers – as with other public servants – can only be represented by a colleague, union representative or legal officer appointed by a union.

Mr Roberts, who became one of the youngest teachers in the country to be appointed an assistant head four years ago at the age of 24, said: “During the time I was teaching I was asked ‘ have you joined a union?’. I said ‘no, do I need to?’

“The answer was you need it for support and protection in case a child makes an allegation against you.”

He added: “There was strike action while I was there and I didn’t want to get involved with it and in quite a lot of conversations with other staff I realised they didn’t want to get involved in it either.”

Mr Roberts, who became a teacher as part of the Teach First initiative, which parachutes top  graduates into inner city schools, said the firm had received financial support from former and serving teachers to get it started. It charges £12.50 a month to teachers who subscribe.

“We’re not anti-union,” he said.  “We just want to offer teachers an alternative to make them look like a profession rather than a workforce.”

Chris Keates, of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: “I don’t believe they’re any threat to us. I don’t think many teachers would want to join an organisation endorsed by Michael Gove.”

The private company endorsed by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has become the first in the country to offer legal advice and protection to teachers who are not members of a union.

Edapt, the brainchild of a former assistant headteacher John Roberts, is setting out to woo what it believes are thousands of teachers who have only joined unions because of the protection against abuse allegations and disciplinary proceedings they offer – but are reluctant to take industrial action.

The company, which is understood to have taken on more than 1,000 teachers in five months, is expecting to boost its numbers if teachers’ unions embark on industrial action this year. Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, has said strike action is “inevitable” if Mr Gove fails to soften his line on pay curbs, pension contribution increases and spending cuts.

The firm’s emergence comes at a time of war between Michael Gove and the teachers’ unions – with the Education Secretary seeking to weaken their stranglehold on the profession by reducing their numbers.

Edapt has already been praised by the Education Secretary in a blog as “a marvellous new organisation” and Mr Gove, below, is understood to want to make it easier for specialist firms like Edapt to represent teachers. At present the law states that teachers – as with other public servants – can only be represented by a colleague, union representative or legal officer appointed by a union.

Mr Roberts, who became one of the youngest teachers in the country to be appointed an assistant head at the age of 24, said: “During the time I was teaching I was asked, ‘Have you joined a union?’ I said, ‘No, do I need to?’

“The answer was, ‘You need it for support and protection in case a child makes an allegation against you’.”

He added: “There was strike action while I was there and I didn’t want to get involved with it and in quite a lot of conversations with other staff I realised they didn’t want to get involved in it either.”

Mr Roberts said the firm had received financial support from former and serving teachers to get it started. It charges £12.50 a month to teachers who subscribe. “We’re not anti-union,” he said.  “We just want to offer teachers an alternative to make them look like a profession rather than a workforce.”

Chris Keates, of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: “I don’t believe they’re any threat to us. I don’t think many teachers would want to join an organisation endorsed by Michael Gove.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate - Newly Qualified Teachers Required For Sept 2015

£21000 - £50000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate Teachers/ Newly Qua...

Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate - Newly Qualified Teachers Required For Sept 2015

£21000 - £50000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate Teachers/ Newly Qua...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required for a 'Good@ school - Ofsted 2015

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: My client primary school loc...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teachers Required in Norwich and Great Yarmouth

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am working on behalf of a ...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue