Issue 129 - 2023 Autumn term
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.

Essential support for you

Richard Tanton
ASCL Director of Member Support
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. 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 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 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 

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: 

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.

Do you need our support?

If you need any help or advice, call the ASCL Hotline on 0116 299 1122 or email 

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.” 

ASCL Hotline

Key figures from 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.

Breakdown of calls to Hotline by job role:
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

Your Association
We think it is important at this time of year to report back to you as members on what your membership fees pay for and what we’ve been doing on your behalf. Read about what has been a seismic year for the Association and our members as we’ve fought for a better settlement for education, and about the services and support we provide. Wherever you are, whatever your context, ASCL is working on your behalf.

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