2021 Autumn Term 2


  • Clockwork Tomato
    Geoff Barton explores the less familiar areas of leadership in the hope we can appreciate that each and every leader leaves behind an education system better than the one they inherited. More
  • Here to Help
    Supporting you is at the heart of everything we do. Director of Member Support, Richard Tanton, says it's been an exceptionally busy year for his team, advising and representing leaders through extremely challenging times. Here he provides an overview. More
  • Considering Headship?
    Taking the step from senior leader to headteacher or principal can be daunting. Here, Headteacher and ASCL Consultant Gareth Burton shares top tips to help leaders considering their next move. More
  • Keeping Track
    As a multi-academy trust (MAT) leader, navigating assessment data across your schools is essential but it can be complicated and time consuming. Here, Sue Macgregor from Alps shares top tips on how trust leaders can better manage the process. More
  • Making a Difference
    Over the last three years, we've put our work on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at the heart of everything we do at ASCL. Here Rachael Warwick, Immediate Past President, highlights the work undertaken so far and shares our future plans. More
  • Levelling Up
    In their new roles, Nadhim Zahawi and Michael Gove have a chance to deliver true levelling up, but it will take more than one policy or initiative to unpick the inequalities behind poor outcomes for some children in education, says NFER's Dr Angela Donkin. More
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Supporting you is at the heart of everything we do. Director of Member Support, Richard Tanton, says it’s been an exceptionally busy year for his team, advising and representing leaders through extremely challenging times. Here he provides an overview.

Here to Help

"Member Support is the backbone of our service to ASCL members, whether that’s our 7 days-a-week, 52 weeks-a year Hotline, the challenging and complex casework supervised by our regional and field officers, or the legal support and advocacy provided by our bespoke team of employment law solicitors.”

Those of you with a good memory will have a distinct sense of déjà vu, as these were the exact words I wrote in my Leader article last year and gosh, don’t they resonate and hold true right now? We know that for all our members, these last 12 months have been like no other. A blizzard of consultations, Covid restrictions, teacher-assessed grades, vaccination programmes… and so on. Unsurprisingly, your interaction with ASCL’s Member Support Team has very much reflected the national picture. 

How we’ve helped you 

Over the last academic year, there were 7,026 contacts to our Hotline – the highest number we have ever recorded. Of those, 1,784 resulted in a referral for further support, with 1,191 becoming casework for our regional and field staff. These are stark figures and perhaps not surprising, but they also illustrate the importance of that daily contact and frontline service with your professional trade union. 

Our Hotline Team’s ability to sustain the highest quality of service through the most intensely demanding days and weeks should not be underestimated. The team continues to demonstrate and provide the most professional of services to our members. 

The message is clear: we’re here for you when you need us, so please continue to contact us. You can be assured of a confidential conversation with our Hotline Officers, all of whom have experience of leading schools and colleges. One of the main reasons for members calling the Hotline last year was about employment, with 2,631 contacts during the last academic year about members’ own employment. 

Individual pension queries also constitute one of the most frequent issues with 258 referrals requiring specialist input from ASCL’s Pension Specialist, Jacques Szemalikowski. 

Additionally, it has been as much a challenge for the team as it has for you to keep up to date with the ever-changing Covid-related guidance for schools and colleges. We’ve estimated that there have been more than 450 government consultations since the start of the pandemic. 


Please be reassured that all our regional and field officers (ROFOs) have many years of school or college leadership experience and are also highly experienced in managing a wide variety of challenging employment issues. Once you call our Hotline, the officer on duty may conclude that your case be referred on to one of our ROFOs and you will be able to quickly access their professional expertise, insight and representation. 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

Over the last year, we have become ever more adaptable in using technology to support and represent our members in a myriad of contexts. However, it remains the case that much of our work requires legal input. Whatever the context of your workplace or the nature of your concern, you can be assured of the confidentiality and objective, professional advice our team provides. Our solicitors continue to 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 or Wales. 

Employer engagement 

During the course of the last academic year, ASCL’s Employer Engagement Team became part of the Member Support Department. There is a real and necessary synergy between the work of that team and the other areas of Member Support. Our work concerning employer engagement is very much reflected by the fact that over the last year, we have successfully influenced 15,798 members’ terms and conditions of employment.  

Become a Local Representative 

We have also had a high level of interest from members interested in becoming ASCL Local Representatives. Local Representatives are 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 – find out more at www.ascl.org.uk/localrepresentatives 

Have your contract checked for free 

One of the cornerstones of your employment is your contract of employment. We offer a free contract checking service to ASCL members which can be accessed through our Hotline. To find out more, watch this video from our Legal Team www.ascl.org.uk/contractchecking 

We’re here 

With the end of the first term in sight, it has been without doubt a very busy and demanding start to the academic year for ASCL members, wherever they work and whether that be on a professional or personal basis. So far this term, calls to Hotline continue to be at a high volume. It is difficult to predict what lies ahead, but with a new Secretary of State for Education, a plethora of current issues demanding your attention and any number of issues that might become prescient in the coming months, we are here, every day of the year, to listen to you and to advise. 

Whether that be to confirm your understanding concerning a specific issue, to explain a situation in your school or college or to discuss a personal employment concern, please be assured that ASCL’s Member Support Team is here to listen, advise, support and represent your best interests.  

ASCL’s Member Support Team is here to listen, advise, support and represent your best interests. 


Key figures 2020/21 

  • We dealt with 7,026 enquiries from members. 
  • That is 30–40 calls a day on average. 
  • Covid-related questions and queries, plus those relating to your employment were the main topics for calls. 
  • A total of 1,784 members were supported for ongoing individual professional issues. 

Hotline calls by job role 

  • 2,842 calls from heads 
  • 1,666 calls from assistant heads 
  • 1,546 from deputy heads 
  • 482 from business leaders 
  • 397 from executive heads 
  • 93 from other roles 

Do you need our support? 

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: “From the minute I contacted Hotline to the conclusion of my case I cannot fault the service provided. I am so glad that I chose to join ASCL at the start of my senior leadership career.” 

And as another member commented: “I’m not sure I can find words to do justice to the quality and fully comprehensive support, expertise, knowledge and wisdom that I received.” 

Richard Tanton 
ASCL Director of Member Support