We receive at least a few calls every week where a member of staff is seeking immediate support because of an incident in school but they are not a subscriber to Edapt or have access to support through a teaching trade union, or other service.
Unfortunately Edapt (as well as the teaching unions) are not able to provide support in pre-existing cases where facts and circumstances exist prior to the start of subscription.
Even though it is not compulsory to sign-up to edu-legal support or a teaching union, the consequences far outweigh the inconvenience or perceived costs when deciding the best support for you.
Is it possible to defend myself?
Defending yourself through an allegation, disciplinary process or even a Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) hearing on your own would be incredibly difficult and even more problematic to secure a positive outcome in your favour.
It would also be extremely expensive, securing legal advice and accompaniment which could be well in excess of £5,000. A significant case which proceeds to employment tribunal or TRA hearing could indeed lead to costs in the tens of thousands of pounds. The emotional impact of navigating the process yourself would also be very personally demanding.
Even though you might think the worst-case scenario couldn’t happen to you we talk to teachers every week with unblemished records who receive allegations from pupils, parents and members of staff which can put their career, livelihood and families in jeopardy.
Also, it’s not just the major cases where most school staff need support. It is often checking details with employment contracts, working hours and sick leave where we can provide independent support and advice with positive outcomes.
I might be biased, but as a former teacher and someone who views the cases each week, I believe it is crucial to sign-up for high-quality employment support such as Edapt. Many of our subscribers provide feedback each week saying we provide an invaluable service.
Why do school staff decide not to subscribe?
There doesn’t seem to be any recent research which indicates why some school staff decide not to be supported by an organisation such as Edapt or a teaching trade union. It could be due to a range of issues from:
- Expectation that they won’t receive any allegations or issues during their employment
- Previous negative experiences of support either with quality of advice or availability of regional reps in a trade union
- Awareness of the importance of signing up and not being aware of the reputational and financial risks
- Paying subscription fees which go towards activities which they are not affiliated with (Edapt is apolitical and does not have a political fund)
- Lack of time to subscribe (it takes less than 5 minutes to subscribe to Edapt)
- Influence from other members of staff who have decided not to subscribe
Surprisingly, trade union membership in the education sector is just less than 50% of the workforce. This takes into account a high proportion of teaching staff who are supported by Edapt or teaching union, with lower uptake from support staff such as teaching assistants. This still leaves 100,000s of school staff who are currently unsupported. This is a worrying statistic as it means many school staff are at financial and reputational risk of having their careers severely impacted due to a false allegation from a pupil or an issue such as restructuring in school.
What support can I receive if I subscribe to Edapt?
Edapt provides teachers and school staff with casework services and edu-legal support in individual employment disputes and allegations. We’re apolitical and independent. Our team supports our subscribers individually, with integrity, consistency and with confidentiality.
If you subscribe to Edapt you will receive:
- High-quality, experienced and legally trained caseworkers working on your case
- Up to £150,000 of legal costs should you need it for an employment tribunal, or professional conduct hearing
- Extended opening hours. Access to support and advice from 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday
- Access to our Knowledge Base of support articles where you can research topics from performance-related pay, what to expect in an investigatory meeting to whether you are expected to attend school in extreme weather conditions
- Our monthly Policy Insights Newsletter (you can opt-in) and receive invites to our exclusive education events
- PR advice and media support if your case is published in the media