Amy Forrester (@amymayforrester) is a secondary English teacher, Head of Year and Director of Pastoral Care at her school. Amy is also a TES columnist on the topic of behaviour. Views expressed are her own, and not necessarily that of her employer.
Why I subscribe to Edapt
When you go into teaching, the strongest bit of advice you ever get is “join a union”, to the extent that you find trainees with memberships to every union going!
The fear of God is instilled: what if a child makes a malicious allegation? What if there are redundancies? Don’t get me wrong, they’re valid concerns. They’re also scary – you’d never want to be in a vulnerable position when you’ve got a mortgage to pay, or mouths to feed, or a career you love. You swiftly sign on the dotted line of the cheapest union you can find.
When I tell people I’m not in a union, then, their reaction ranges from shock to horror. It’s only when I then explain that I use Edapt, which provides specialist legal support for teachers, that they calm down a little. Most don’t realise there is an alternative to unions.
Decisions about spending your own money on professional protection are personal. It’s been instilled into me from a young age to be pro union.
So why do I subscribe Edapt? In short, I don’t find any of the current union options fully represent me as a teacher. Some are so deeply politicised, and for a Gove liking, Labour voter like me, who sees value in Tory reforms to education, I don’t quite fit the mould. I know I’m not the only one. Do I want my money paying the wages of unionist staff who make it clear that they don’t represent me? Well, no, frankly, I don’t.
High quality edu-legal support
Edapt are different. They’re apolitical. Their support is high-quality expert edu-legal advice for teachers; a service that I am more than happy to give my money to.
I don’t feel shame or embarrassment by the bizarre actions of the teaching union leaders. I feel proud that I’ve made a decision not to fund beliefs and actions that I fundamentally disagree with. Like I said, it’s a personal choice.
I’m really very grateful that this option exists for teachers. I can go to work each day safe in the knowledge that I am as well protected with them as I would be in a union.
And I’m not alone in that. Lots of teachers up and down the country are making the same choice. And those that I know have had to call on their support, without question, comment on how excellent, informed and valuable their support has been.
What Edapt offers is excellent; a specialist level of legal cover for teachers. It’s an excellent alternative to union coverage for teachers who want to make a different choice but remain just as well protected and supported in their profession.