2023 Autumn Term


  • End Child Poverty
    Geoff Barton says that the next government must tackle child poverty in order to give children and young people an equal chance to thrive. More
  • Interconnected Leadership
    Trust CEO John Camp OBE says becoming ASCL President is one of the proudest moments of his career. Here, he shares his love of education and his mission to ensure that interconnection is at the heart of his year in office. More
  • Leading AI in education
    Rob Robson explores the ethics and practical implications that school, college and trust leaders should consider so that artificial intelligence (AI) can be used safely and well in their institutions. More
  • Essential support for you
    Taking care of you and your best interests is at the heart of everything we do. Here, ASCL's Richard Tanton provides an overview of what has been another busy year for his team, advising and representing leaders through challenging times. More
  • Cost-of-living Impact
    Research Manager Megan Lucas highlights the devastating impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on school recruitment and retention. More
  • Send Funding: Crisis Point
    ASCL's Julia Harnden and Margaret Mulholland urge the Chancellor to do the right thing in his Autumn Statement by pledging sufficient funding for some of our most vulnerable children. More
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Essential support for you

Taking care of you and your best interests is at the heart of everything we do. Here, ASCL’s Richard Tanton provides an overview of what has been another busy year for his team, advising and representing leaders through challenging times.

We all understand that there will be many reasons why you’ve chosen ASCL as your trade union. Without question, what members say to us is that it’s the quality of our support to school and college leaders on an individual basis that ranks high on their decision to become an ASCL member. Member support is at the heart of our service to members. We’re here for you when you’re seeking support – a unique, bespoke service providing you with objective, professional advice and representation. 

How we’ve helped you 

Over the last academic year, there were 6,520 contacts to our Hotline. Of those, 1,900 resulted in a referral for further support. That’s an overall referral rate of 29.1% and 1,361 went into casework for our regional and field staff. These are significant and, in many ways, worrying figures, but they also illustrate the importance for members to be able to have that daily contact with the frontline service of their professional trade union. 

Our Hotline Team gives members access to the highest quality of advice through the most intensely demanding days and weeks of an academic year. The team continues to provide professional advice and support to our members every single day of the year. 

As General Secretary Geoff Barton frequently says: “We’re here for you when you need us”, so please continue to contact us (www.ascl.org.uk/hotline). You can be assured of a confidential, professional conversation with our hotline officers. 

One of the main reasons for members calling the Hotline last academic year was about their employment, with 3,177 contacts about members’ individual professional circumstances. 

Individual pension queries constituted one of the most frequent issues, with 253 referrals requiring specialist input from ASCL Pension Specialist Jacques Szemalikowski. 


All our regional officers and field officers (ROFOs) are experienced practitioners in managing a wide variety of challenging employment issues, whether that be investigations, allegations, hearings, grievances or redundancies, to name but a few. So when you call our Hotline, the officer on duty may conclude that your case needs to be referred to one of our ROFOs and you will immediately be able to access their professional expertise and individual support. 

ASCL’s Legal and Member Support Policy is available at www.ascl.org.uk/LegalandMemberSupportPolicy and makes clear the parameters of our support and, importantly, how this support works in practice. 

Legal support 

Without doubt, access to our legal team is invaluable and so much of our work requires specific legal input. Whatever the context of your workplace or, indeed, the nature of your concern, you can be assured of the confidential and professional advice that our Legal Team provides. Our solicitors continue to successfully guide and represent members through internal employment processes, employment tribunal proceedings and on professional disciplinary referrals before the teaching regulatory bodies, whether they be in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. 

Industrial relations and collective bargaining 

Our Industrial Relations Team continues to lead the delivery of ASCL’s collective bargaining work, negotiating improved terms and conditions on behalf of our members and working directly with employers alongside other trade unions. The team is an example of one of the many ways that ASCL’s various components work in synchronicity, taking position statements agreed by Council (www.ascl.org.uk/position-statements) and working with employers to see them realised, as well as working with our Policy Team to gather information from joint negotiating committees (JNCs) to inform ASCL’s views. 

Become a local representative 

We’ve also had a high level of interest from members interested in becoming ASCL local representatives (ASCL members who are usually serving school or college leaders, who volunteer to represent members either in a geographic location/ locality or a trust). We provide full training and accreditation to all our local representatives. Find out more at www.ascl.org.uk/localrepresentatives 

Have your contract checked for free 

Fundamental to your employment is your contract of employment. We offer a free contract checking service to ASCL members, which can be accessed through our Hotline. Watch this video to find out more: www.ascl.org.uk/contractchecking 

We’re here 

As ever, it’s been a demanding start to the academic year for ASCL members, wherever they work and whether that be on a professional or personal basis. Calls to Hotline continue to be at a high volume. 

Whether it’s to confirm your understanding of a specific issue, to explain a situation in your school, college or trust, or to discuss a personal employment concern, please be assured that ASCL’s Member Support Team is always here to listen, advise, support and represent your best professional interests. Remember, we’re here every day of the year. 


If you need any help or advice, call the ASCL Hotline on 0116 299 1122 or email hotline@ascl.org.uk As one ASCL member said: “ASCL has been amazing and supported me throughout one of the most difficult times of my professional life.” And as another member commented: “I cannot put into words the debt of gratitude I have for ASCL.” 



1 September 2022 to 31 August 2023 The Hotline dealt with 6,520 enquiries from members. 

That is 30–40 calls a day on average. 

A total of 1,361 members were supported for ongoing individual professional issues. 


2,580 calls from heads 

1,705 calls from assistant heads 

1,339 from deputy heads 

430 from business leaders 

406 from executive heads 

60 from other roles 

Richard Tanton
ASCL Director of Member Support