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NAHT life members' newsletter – summer 2021

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Welcome to the summer 2021 life members’ newsletter. 

As we put the finishing touches to this newsletter, we were looking forward to the first meeting of the life member sector council. This follows on from the successful AGM motion and subsequent changes to the NAHT constitution. This change gives the national life member committee enhanced status as a sector council. The council membership will comprise of 12 members representing each of the regions, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland. These positions were created at each of the regional meetings earlier this year.

I am delighted and honoured to be the first life member to be elected to hold office as a member of NAHT’s National Executive for the next three years, and I will do my utmost to ensure that life member issues are brought to the attention of the Executive and addressed appropriately. To help me to do that effectively, I would like to extend an invitation to all life members to raise any issues that you feel are worthy of National Executive attention through your life member sector council representative or directly to myself by email at john.killeen@nahtofficials.org.uk.

This newsletter is coordinated by Mike Wilson, and he works tirelessly to put together content that is of interest to you, and I am sure he would welcome articles from all members. We want the newsletters to be informative and interesting so your contributions would be welcome for future editions.

Members may be aware that the NAHT website has undergone a major update. A migration of content from the old site is the first stage. Mike and his communications sub-committee are working closely with HQ staff to ensure that all life member information on the new site is both accurate and up to date. We hope that you will shortly be able to get all important life member information easily once this work is completed.

NAHT life members number nearly 14,000 at the present time, increasing each month. Many continue to play important roles in local branches and regions, and on some national committees. You have a special place in this organisation and the changes that have taken place recently recognise your contributions both past and present. I would personally like to thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the association. I look forward to meeting some of you at NAHT Officials’ Conference and NAHT Policy Conference from 7 to 9 October 2021 in London.

Stay safe and keep well.

Sincere regards,

John Killeen
Life member sector chair

Click on the links below to read more on these topics 

A video message from NAHT national president Tim Bowen

Earlier this year, NAHT president Tim Bowen said: “A ‘return to normal’ would be a huge disservice to the young people in our care. I would like to be more ambitious for our school system and the people in it. That is something that should involve and occupy every single one of us."

You can watch his full message on Twitter here.

A message from Paul Gosling, NAHT national vice president

I began my teaching career nearly 30 years ago when I returned as a teacher to the primary school that I attended as a child. The school was in Canning Town in east London, and it was at this school, in a culturally diverse but highly disadvantaged community, that I honed my craft as a teacher and developed my passion for doing the best I can for children.

I spent nearly a decade working at the school and then for the local authority, the London Borough of Newham, before moving to Devon in 2001 and returning to teaching, the job I love.

In 2009, I became head teacher of Exeter Road Community Primary School in Exmouth, where I still proudly serve today. Exeter Road is a one-form-entry school with a nursery; we serve a predominately white-British community and have about 40% of our intake in receipt of free school meals. I truly love being a head teacher; I love being with the children, I try and visit every class every day. I am on the school gate every morning and afternoon, I have my lunch with the children, I know every child in the school and their families. My professional motivation is to do the very best that I can to provide the highest quality of education possible to the children at my school.

I have an amazing team at Exeter Road, and over the past 12 years we have shared many joys and overcome many challenges together ranging from successful Ofsted inspections to the untimely death of a young teacher. The past two years have been very challenging as not only have we had the pandemic to contend with, but we have also had to navigate the complications of a major school refurbishment project and overcome some significant financial challenges. But we are on the other side of that now, still together and stronger as a team.

I became a member of NAHT 15 years ago and I have been the Devon, Torbay and Plymouth (Devonshire) branch secretary since 2010. In my first few weeks as branch secretary, I had to organise the local response to the SATs boycott. I have also been the president and regional secretary for the south west in that time.

The NAHT is really important to me and here is why. Nearly 20 years ago, I worked at a three-form entry rural primary school with a fantastic head teacher, I will call him Pete. Pete was everything that I aspired to be at the time. He was warm and kind towards the children and the people in the school community. He worked hard to make education broad, inclusive and fun. He was an excellent boss. I loved working at the school, and I learned much from him. Pete saw the leadership potential in me. He made me the coordinator of key stage 2, put me on the NPQH and advised me to join NAHT. After a couple of years, like many other women and men before me, I left the school to take up a leadership post elsewhere.

Several years later, I got a call from Pete. He had had a visit from Ofsted, and it was not going well. To cut a long story short, the Ofsted machine had chewed Pete up and spat him out, ending his 34-year career abruptly. His governors, the local authority and his link adviser, turned their backs on Pete and only NAHT, through a regional officer, put an arm around him and guided him to safety. At the time, I was angry with the cold way that Pete had been treated.

But anger is not healthy, so, with the encouragement of a friend who was active in another union, I decide to turn that anger in action, and I become actively involved in NAHT. In my involvement with the local branch, I am proud to have been able to provide some warmth and humanity to a number of colleagues when times have been hard for them.

I am therefore very proud to be vice president of NAHT, and I want to use my time as vice president, and then president, to make a difference to education across the three nations. I believe that over the last couple of decades, the ‘machine algorithm’ has driven some of the warmth and humanity out of the education system. This has been highlighted over the past year in the way that government ministers, the Department for Education and Ofsted have treated school leaders. They have displayed not only a lack of empathy, warmth, and compassion, but also an utter contempt for the collected wisdom and experience of tens of thousands of school leaders, both those currently serving, and those retired.

That must stop. We must resist this ‘tin eared’ robotic system. We need to fight, not only for the well-being of school leaders, but for the wellbeing of the children and teachers in our schools.

My school is a place of warmth, humanity and security, as well as a place of learning and fun, which is probably why I enjoy being part of NAHT so much. It fits with my core purpose and beliefs. I believe that warmth and humanity are the powerful weapons that we need to deploy to defeat the ‘rise of the machine’ and to grow peace, tolerance, and inclusion in the world.

I am very much looking forward to supporting Tim Bowen in his role as president this year and I am very much looking forward to meeting more members, both serving and retired, of our highly respected professional association and trade union.

Paul Gosling
NAHT national vice president

NAHT Policy Conference and Officials’ Conference 2021

We are pleased to announce the dates of the NAHT Policy Conference and the NAHT Officials' Conference for 2021.

These two conferences will be held consecutively at the same venue in central London from Thursday 7 to Saturday 9 October. 

The Officials' Conference will take place from lunchtime Thursday 7 October to lunchtime Friday 8 October. Policy Conference (part of Annual Conference) will take place from lunchtime Friday 8 October to 3.30pm on Saturday 9 October. These will be in-person events.

Timetable of events



Thursday 7 October

Attendees to Officials' Conference to travel to London

Thursday 7 October

Part 1 of Officials' Conference

Thursday 7 October

Officials' Conference dinner
Accommodation provided Thursday evening for Officials' Conference attendees

Friday 8 October

Part 2 of Officials' Conference
Delegates to Policy Conference only to travel to London

Friday 8 October

Policy Conference
Attendees to Officials' Conference only to travel home

Friday 8 October


Gala dinner
Accommodation provided Friday evening for Policy Conference delegates

Saturday 9 October
All day (3.30pm finish)

Policy Conference


Please also be aware that, following decisions made at the AGM in May, associate and Edge members can now attend NAHT Policy Conference as delegates.


A form for the submission of motions is available from your regional organiser. Branches and regions are reminded that there is a limit of two motions per region and per branch. 

Guidance for submitting motions to NAHT Policy Conference can also be requested from your regional organiser.

The subject of motions should be our education policy work, as we have already held our AGM this year.

The deadline for receipt of motions is 5pm on Monday 2 August.


Booking for both Officials' Conference and Policy Conference can be done at the same time, or individually if you are only attending one of the events, you should receive an email with full instructions. Further details on how to book a place is being sent to branches and regions.

AGM 2021

The NAHT AGM was held virtually on 30 April this year with around 200 attendees. NAHT accounts for 2020 were approved and rule changes to update membership categories were passed. Edge members have now come into the mainstream of NAHT membership and, along with previously full members, are now known as a membership category of serving members. Affiliate members were also given further representational rights at branch and regional level.


In January of this year, the life members’ committee approved a protocol for circulating information in the event of the death of a past president or a prominent member of NAHT. Where this becomes known locally, please pass the news onto your life member representative or email Magnus Gorham at magnus.gorham@naht.org.uk

Every year as part of the NAHT AGM we hold a minute’s silence for members who have passed away in the previous year. Member’s names that come through this protocol will be included on this list.

NAHT services for life members

NAHT Extras

NAHT Extras is our money savings platform, created exclusively for NAHT members. Members can save on a range of high street names such as M&S, John Lewis, Matalan and TK Maxx. Members can also save on their weekly food shop at some of the biggest Supermarkets, such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrison’s and Waitrose.

NAHT Extras makes saving money on your everyday shopping simple. Simply create your account, log in, choose your retailer, get your discounted e-voucher or reloadable card, then head to the retailer's website or store and start saving.

NAHT Extras is also available via an app. Search 'Hapi' in the App Store or Google Play, and download the app so you can start saving on the go too!

NAHT Personal Financial Services

You’ve worked hard for your money, so you want your money to work hard for you. An advisor could support you with investment, retirement, and inheritance tax planning. 

NAHT Personal Finical Services take the time to get to know you and provide advice that's tailored to your specific needs – all with the aim of helping you to make informed decisions about your future financial plans.

There’s nothing to pay to find out if you could benefit. Your advisor will clearly explain any recommendations they have for you. Plus any charges that may apply will be outlined beforehand. You’ll only be charged if you decide to go ahead with the advice.

Most importantly, you’ll have the time you need to decide if you’d like to act on the advice.

NAHT Personal Financial Services is offering NAHT members an exclusive £50 M&S voucher if you book and attend a financial advice review:

  1. Start with a free initial consultation to find out if its advice is right for you (a minimum of £20,000 savings is required) 
  2. Next, book your review with an advisor – quoting ‘INCENTIVE’ 
  3. Once you have attended (must be by 31 August 2021), you’re able to claim your voucher. 

Terms and conditions apply.

Whether you have financial goals you’re working towards or existing plans you’d like to review, NAHT Personal Financial Services could help. Even if you do not act on the personalised advice you receive, you are still able to claim your voucher.

Capital at risk.

Lloyd & Whyte

Home and personal insurance from a broker you can trust. Lloyd & Whyte believe it’s all about making your cover as reliable as possible. After all, that’s the point of insurance. 

  • Contact Lloyd & Whyte’s dedicated NAHT member direct line (no waiting in a queue) on 01823 250730.

Education Support 

Our Charity Partner, Education Support’s free services don’t stop when you stop working in education. You can still access their dedicated NAHT helpline as an NAHT life member on 0800 917 4055. Available 24/7/365, whatever your worries or concerns.

A member of their friendly support team will find out why you are calling and choose the best person for you to speak to. 

Depending on your needs they might:

  • Offer emotional support straight away
  • Offer action plan support (coaching)
  • Transfer you to one of our accredited counsellors for counselling
  • Connect you to one of our other services such as grants or information
  • Assist with referral for long term treatment (for example, to your GP)
  • Support with financial problems caused by ill health, sudden life events, bereavement, or a personal injury. 

Contact Education Support’s dedicated NAHT helpline as an NAHT life member on 0800 917 4055. Available 24/7/365, whatever your worries or concerns.

Health and well-being: NHS Health Check

What is an NHS Health Check?

The NHS Health Check is a free check-up of your overall health. It can tell you whether you're at higher risk of getting certain health problems, such as:

During the check-up, you'll also discuss how to reduce your risk of these conditions and dementia. If you're over 65, you will also be told the signs and symptoms of dementia to look out for.

How will an NHS Health Check help me?

You will have your individual cardiovascular risk (risk of getting conditions related to the heart or circulation) calculated and explained to you. While the cardiovascular risk levels vary from person to person, everyone is at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and some types of dementia.

At your NHS Health Check, you will be given advice on how to prevent them. Your NHS Health Check can detect potential health problems before they do real damage.

What happens at the NHS Health Check

An NHS Health Check takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

The health professional – often a nurse or healthcare assistant – will ask you some questions about your lifestyle and family history, measure your height and weight, and take your blood pressure and do a blood test. The blood test will be done either before the check with a blood sample from your arm or at the check.

Your blood test results can show your chances of getting heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes.

If you're over 65, you will also be told the signs and symptoms of dementia to look out for. You will then receive personalised advice to improve your risk. This could include talking about:

Read more about what happens at an NHS Health Check.

Find out about the pros and cons of having an NHS Health Check.

Where do I have an NHS Health Check?

This depends on where you live. You'll usually have your NHS Health Check at a GP surgery or local pharmacy, but it could happen at your local library or leisure centre. In some areas, NHS Health Checks are offered from mobile units to passers-by and in workplaces. Look up the NHS Health Check in your area.

How can I arrange to have an NHS Health Check?

You'll be invited for a free NHS Health Check every five years if you're between 40 and 74 years of age and do not already have a pre-existing condition. If you're registered with a GP surgery that offers the NHS Health Check, you should automatically get an invitation. Do not worry if you have not been invited yet – you will be over the next five years.

Alternatively, your local authority will send you an appointment letter explaining where you have to go for your NHS Health Check.

If you're not sure if you're eligible for an NHS Health Check and would like one, or if you are eligible but have not had an NHS Health Check in the last five years, ask at a GP surgery for an appointment.

Do NHS Health Checks work?

The health conditions picked up by the NHS Health Check are when added together, the biggest cause of preventable deaths in the UK, with around seven million people affected by them. In its first five years, the NHS Health Check is estimated to have prevented 2,500 heart attacks or strokes. This is the result of people receiving treatment after their Health Check.

The latest research suggests that:

  • for every 30 to 40 people having an NHS Health Check, 1 person is diagnosed with high blood pressure
  • for every 80 to 200 people having a Health Check, 1 person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
  • for every 6 to 10 people having an NHS Health Check, 1 person is identified as being at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

I was not happy with my NHS Health Check. How can I give feedback?

The NHS Health Check programme is run by your local authority, so you can contact them with any questions or feedback about the way it's delivered in your area. Look up the NHS Health Check in your area, or contact your local authority directly.

More information

You do not have to wait for an NHS Health Check to learn more about taking care of your health. You can find information about most health conditions and how to have a healthier lifestyle on the NHS website. For example:

NHS Health Check videos

Life member profile: Eugene Symonds

I joined NAHT as a deputy head teacher in 1989. I have been an active member since 2003, taking part in local branch meetings in Oxfordshire while leading a large Oxford Primary school and separate nursery school. I stepped down from headship in 2016, spending the last four years of my teaching career ‘back in the classroom’ as the head of a primary unit at a special school for pupils with autism. I retired from teaching in August 2020. I have remained as Oxfordshire president for the majority of this time, something I am both proud and privileged to be able to say.

I guess I thought that when my time as a school leader ended, so would my involvement with the NAHT. I am however, quietly delighted to still be an active member of both Oxfordshire and South Central executives. I have been a member of the life members’ committee for over three years, allowing me to see first hand how retired members can support the work of our association. Retirement from teaching has allowed a little more time to focus on the work of these executives, something I always struggled with when I was a head teacher. The unending ‘to do’ list that characterised headship is now a thing of the past. I am still busy, but keeping up with events is a whole lot easier.

My departure from the classroom corresponded with our country facing unprecedented challenge in the wake of the global pandemic and its potentially terrifying consequences. Witnessing our members face unimaginable challenges as schools were targeted by government to continue supporting our young people ‘face to face’, was as chastening an experience as it was daunting. The inspirational work of our serving members during this time was exceptional and humbling. So making sure all our members knew how they were being supported by the NAHT kept us very busy for sure. 

There is still much to do. The role schools will play in re-shaping 21st-century teaching and learning, our young people, as well as society in general, will be crucial. I suspect we will continue to play a critical role in formulating realistic post-pandemic recovery plans. What school leaders will be asked to do and the resources they will be given to address this is another concern. To that end, I see a very clear remit for life members in supporting our members as we take the next steps toward ‘normality’. Developing the role of NAHT volunteers in our branch and region is a priority for us, a challenge that we are all looking forward to addressing.

Away from the work of NAHT. I love rugby, cooking, running (or “shuffling” as it now looks like), reading (especially the classics that I seemed to miss when working full time,) learning to speak French and Spanish, gardening and walking our daft dog (a five-year-old Hungarian wire-haired Vizsla called Pixie.)

NAHT Officials’ National Training Programme 2021-22

The National Training Programme for NAHT officials has been updated and specific courses are now available to attend either in-person or online – it's your choice. 

Your officials-focused, interactive training sessions are now open for your registration. All courses are free and expenses to attend in-person training should be covered by NAHT and/or your branch. Book now to avoid disappointment. 

The officials' National Training Programme includes:

  • courses that count towards your NAHT accreditation as a member’s companion in workplace grievance and disciplinary matters as a lay official
  • training in joint consultation, negotiation and campaigning
  • induction away-days for new officials
  • links to local TUC training courses for lay officials
  • training to support branch recruitment and inclusivity.

Click here to view the full programme and to register for an event – please note you will need to be an NAHT official and log in to see the programme. 

Should you require more information or support please contact your regional organiser by emailing organising@naht.org.uk

A legal view: allegations of criminal offences

Being accused of a criminal offence against a child is an occupational hazard of teaching, particularly so for school leaders who have responsibilities for discipline and maintaining order.

NAHT life membership covers members for legal advice and representation, through NAHT’s nominated solicitors, in connection with allegations of offences committed while they were employed and full members of NAHT or another teaching union but where the allegation is made after employment has ceased. This is a valuable benefit because sometimes allegations are made months or years after the offence was alleged to have been committed (NAHT legal advice and representation is provided at the discretion of National Executive in accordance with the Legal Advice and Representation Protocol available on NAHT’s website).

Allegations made years after the offence was alleged to have been committed are often of serious offences involving alleged indecent assaults. We advise that members should exercise their right to take legal advice and have legal representation before speaking to the police.

The police/CPS may deal with low-level first-time offending by offering the ‘accused’ a formal caution. This may be a simple caution or a conditional caution (conditions may for example prevent the offender coming into contact with the victim).

A caution may have advantages for the accused including:

  • it is a quick way of dealing with the offending
  • no conviction or penalty is imposed
  • no trial or court appearance 
  • lower risk of publicity
  • a simple caution is immediately ‘spent’ and a conditional caution is spent after three months for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (which means they don’t have to be declared when applying for non-exempt employment)
  • even though teaching is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act so cautions usually have to be declared, some older or minor cautions may not have to be disclosed - if in doubt, seek advice.

So cautions may appear attractive particularly to retired members, however, accepting a caution may have serious implications for the following reasons:

  • the person accepting the caution must first have admitted the offence
  • it may be used as the basis for unacceptable professional conduct proceedings before the NCTL or GTCW
  • a caution will normally appear on an enhanced criminal record certificate for at least six years
  • a caution forms part of a ‘criminal record’
  • employment working with children, including teaching, is exempt from the  

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

Once accepted it is difficult to overturn a caution. It may be possible if the caution was not administered in accordance with Ministry of Justice guidelines or if the accused was insensible through illness, drink or drugs to such an extent that he could not properly understand what he was agreeing to. It’s probably not enough to show the accused was depressed or distressed.

Under the Education and Inspections Act 2006, a teacher accused of assault will have a defence if the use of force was on school premises, or while the member of staff had lawful control or charge of the pupil, and the use of force was reasonable  for the purpose of preventing a pupil:

  • committing an offence (or what would be an offence but for the age of the pupil), 
  • causing injury to, or damage to the property of , any person (including the pupil himself), or
  • prejudicing the maintenance of good order and discipline at the school or among any pupils receiving education at the school, whether during a teaching session or otherwise.

These defences are in addition to the general ‘common law’ defences available to persons accused of assault, such as self defence.

Our advice to members accused of assaults or other offences is that they should always exercise their right to have legal advice representation when arrested and/or questioned by the police and should take legal advice before accepting a caution. Members should contact NAHT’s specialist advice team or their regional officer, or if that is not possible ask for the duty solicitor.

National Pensioners' Convention

The NPC’s main objective is to promote the welfare and interests of ALL pensioners, as a way of securing dignity, respect, and financial security in retirement. The NPC represents around 1.5 million members over 1,000 different organisations across the UK. The NPC campaigns for both today's and tomorrow’s pensioners, and it aims to unite the generations in defence of the welfare state and public services.

The NPC’s federal structure promotes the principle of delegatory democracy so that the widest possible number of pensioners can have their views represented and discussed. Major policy issues are dealt with at the Biennial Delegate Conference, open to all recognised national affiliates and regional NPC groups.

For more information and details of individual membership see the following links.

End digital exclusion of older people

The National Pensioners’ Convention is asking the secretary of state responsible for tackling digital exclusion if he is simply paying ‘lip service’ to helping more older people get online.

In a letter to the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, NPC general secretary Jan Shortt cited the government’s current bid to ‘data grab’ everyone’s personal health files from GPs in England as a prime example.

The UK’s largest campaign group says all the information about NHS Digital’s plans to extract all the records to a central database by 1 September can only be found on their website – and the only way you can choose to ‘opt-out’ of the data grab is by downloading a form for your GP online.

The NPC had written to the minister asking about government plans on digital inclusion and exclusion of older people but were dissatisfied by his reply. In response, the NPC is calling on the government to invest more to ensure that the drive to digital-only by the government and businesses does not exclude those who are not or cannot for whatever reason, get online.

In a new letter to the minister on digital inclusion and exclusion, Jan Shortt said: “Although you say it is a priority to ensure that nobody is left behind, there is no actual action stated in your letter as to what is intended to make that so.

“The issue of patients’ records being collected by NHS Digital; the fact that everything to date has been online – nobody actually knew about it until a week or so ago – is a serious case in point. Although the process has now been delayed for two months, we are still concerned about the method of contact with 55 million patients, and an open, transparent explanation of the terms of reference for access to data, third party security and commercial use.” 

She added: “We would like to know what investment the government is making not only to encourage those who are currently not online to access equipment and facilities, but also to ensure that everyone can access information and services in alternative ways. There is a fundamental human right to information and the government has powers to use in the event of discrimination against one or more sections of society who are, for whatever reason, not online and are therefore deprived of that information.”

The letter also questions the government’s actions to tackle online fraud, which worries so many older people.

Jan commented: “The NPC gave the minister a whole list of ways in which older people and those without technology are systematically being ignored. His sparse reply seems to imply the government is simply paying ‘lip service’ to this serious issue.”

**The NPC has joined forces to stop an NHS Digital ‘data grab’ of GP records in England, with a non-profit coalition including Foxglove, Just Treatment, Doctors’ Association UK, all the Citizens, open Democracy, and David Davis MP. 

The group sent a legal letter to the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Digital, warning that unless the government pauses the GP data extraction, and seek meaningful patient consent, they would seek an injunction to halt the scheme. The government has now delayed the scheme until 1 September for further talks.

The option to take legal action remains, as rushing this major change through with no transparency or debate would violate patient trust and doing so without patient consent is unlawful.

Time to remember

Remembering an NAHT life member

Should any NAHT branch or region/devolved nation wish to record the life and service of an NAHT Life member who has passed away, please email michael.wilson@nahtofficials.org.uk and magnus.gorham@naht.org.uk.

Please ensure that you have the permission of the family to celebrate the life of the NAHT Life member via the NAHT Life member newsletter.


First published 19 July 2021