Membership FAQs

Get the answers to any questions you may have about ASCL membership

Please contact membership@ascl.org.uk or 0116 299 1122 if you have any further membership enquiries.

You can join ASCL as a new member quickly and easily via our website. Just visit: ascl.org.uk/join

You will need your contact details, information on your employer and your bank details to hand when you join.

If you have any questions, our membership team with be happy to help. Please get in touch on membership@ascl.org.uk or 0116 299 1122

ASCL is dedicated to supporting senior leaders working in schools, colleges and trusts.

Our support and expertise stretch from early years and primary, through secondary to post-16 education.

We support members in both the state and private education sectors, in mainstream and in specialist and alternative provision.

ASCL has no political affiliation so 100% of our membership fees are used to support members.

We have an exclusive member support hotline which is run by former school, college and trust leaders who understand the issues that current leaders face and are available to help with issues relating to your personal employment and the running of your institution or organisation.

We have a team of in-house employment lawyers dedicated to working with senior leaders who are on hand to represent and advise members.

We also have dedicated policy experts covering funding, curriculum and assessment, inspection, accountability, pay and conditions, primary leadership, post-16, colleges, business leadership, pensions, independent education and trust leadership.

Our specialists have a dual role in influencing policy on behalf of members by working with the DfE, Ofsted, Ofqual and other bodies, and in supporting members with expert guidance and advice on key issues.

There are many more benefits which are exclusive to ASCL members including our newsletters, regular member webinars, podcasts, member magazine, networking groups and much more.

For our full list of member benefits please visit the website.

If you are joining ASCL and are currently a member of another union please wait until you receive your ASCL Membership Confirmation email before you cancel your other union membership.

Once you receive your confirmation you can contact your previous union to cancel your membership with them.

If your previous union suggests that ASCL may not cover you for historical issue, please take a look at our historical issues FAQ where we explain our policy and offer reassurance on this issue.

ASCL provides members with advice and support in relation to both school, college or trust management issues and personal employment concerns.

Whatever the issue, if there is something that you are feeling uncertain or uneasy about, please contact the ASCL Hotline as soon as you can.

We always advise that members contact us as soon as they start to feel concerned about a situation or when an issue first arises as often, with early support and advice, we can help you to avoid the situation becoming more serious.

Please contact us as soon as you are made aware of an allegation or you are notified, either formally or informally, that a process is being started in relation to your employment.

We are here to help with issues big and small and there doesn’t have to be a very serious issue for you to contact us.

If you just want to check facts before a meeting or need to clarify your understanding of a piece of DfE guidance don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Equally, if you have concerns during an inspection and need advice or you would like help with a funding submission, our specialist team can also be contacted through the hotline.

In relation to staffing issues, we are happy to provide a listening ear, but we will also advise you to contact your school, college or trust HR provider to help with specific issues.

And don’t forget our contract checking service.

If you are starting a new role or your current employer has asked you to sign a new contract, as an ASCL member our legal team can review your new contract and highlight any aspects that you need to be aware of
before you sign.

This can help avoid potential issues with your employer later down the line.

Although ASCL membership is personal to you, in a few cases an organisation may be paying the fees.

If your school is paying your membership fees you can still join online.

Once you reach Step 7, just select no when you are asked if you are the account holder.

This will allow you to complete the application details without submitting payment information.

The membership team will then be in touch with you to discuss alternative methods of payment.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the membership team on membership@ascl.org.uk or 0116 299 1122

If you apply to join ASCL online, you can commence your membership from as soon as the following day.

You can also start your membership on a date in the future.

You will need to declare that you are not subject to any current processes, allegations or issues when you start your membership.

If you are, we will need to discuss this with you before we can accept your application.

It’s often the case that all members of a leadership team will be members of ASCL. This is great because it ensures that everyone on the team has access to all of the same great resources and support, for example we know that many teams use our briefings, webinars and podcasts as the basis for SLT discussions.

In a scenario where multiple members of the same leadership team need support from us at the same time, or about the same issue, you can be assured that we will support each member individually.

Whether it is a situation where multiple members of the team are subject to the same process or allegation or, unfortunately, there is a case of conflict within the leadership team, each member will be assigned their own case officer who will work in their best interests. 

Similarly, if legal representation is required, each member will be assigned a separate solicitor to represent them. 

We operate a strict Chinese Walls policy where officers and solicitors working on cases involving members of the same team do not discuss cases or share information outside of formal meetings/communications regarding the case which the members will be involved with and/or aware of.

Most ASCL members pay their subscription by monthly direct debit.

Membership fees are based on the type of role that you hold.

You can see our latest fees on our website and if you are a current ASCL member your subscription information can be accessed by logging in to your My ASCL account.

New members joining receive a special introductory offer.

You can find out more about our current offer here.

ASCL membership is open to all senior leaders regardless of whether they are a member of SLT or paid on the leadership pay scale.

If you have substantial strategic whole school or college or cross-trust responsibilities, we would be delighted to welcome you into membership.

We have colleagues in membership who have specific responsibility for dedicated areas of teaching and learning across multiple schools, plus those in roles with strategic responsibility for areas such as behaviour, attendance, pastoral support, staff CPD and operational areas such as finance, HR and IT.

If you would like to check your eligibility, please contact the membership team on membership@ascl.org.uk or 0116 299 1122 

If you are not working in a school or college, you may still be eligible to join us.

If you are working in a trust central office in a senior leadership role, we would be delighted to welcome you into membership.

You may also be eligible if you work for another educational organisation such as an education charity or an education team within a local authority.

Please contact the membership team on membership@ascl.org.uk or 0116 299 1122 to check if you work for an eligible organisation.

To join ASCL you must have a UK contract of employment with an eligible organisation.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer membership to you if you are a freelance or self-employed consultant.

If you are leaving another union to join ASCL, you may find that, on resigning your membership of your current union, you are provided with information which suggests that ASCL will not provide support and cover should an issue come to light in the future which occurred historically.

Our position in terms of cover should an historical issue come to light is as follows:
If, once you have joined ASCL as a full member, you become subject to a process ie internal disciplinary proceeding, a referral to DBS/TRA or proceedings relating to inquests/inquiries, which stem from the time prior to you joining, but which affects or threatens your current employment, ASCL will support you in line with our policy.

The same applies to criminal allegations in cases where you deny the allegations and there is, in our view, a viable defence.

However, we will not support you where a process has been started or allegation made prior to you joining us.

ASCL support and representation only covers members in relation to matters relating to their employment and we cannot represent you in relation to issues or offences outside of your employment or duties.

The defining factor on whether we provide support or not, is whether a process has started or an allegation has been made at the time you join ASCL.

So, if at the point that you joined us no process had started and no allegation has been made, we will support you even if what prompted a future process or allegation happened before you became an ASCL member.

You can read our full legal policy on our website.

We hope that this provides the reassurance to enable you to continue with your ASCL membership.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide support with a process that has started or when an allegation has been made prior to you joining.

When you join you will be asked to declare any issues that you are aware of. In some circumstances, we may be able to provide pastoral support in relation to an existing issue when a new member joins us, but we cannot provide representation or legal support.

Please do not wait for an issue to occur to join us because it is unlikely we will be able to support you.

You can read our full member support policy on our website.

If you have previously held membership of ASCL please get in touch with the Membership Team on membership@ascl.org.uk or 0116 299 1122 and we will be happy to help you reinstate your membership.

To be a full member of ASCL you must have a UK contract of employment with an eligible educational organisation.

If you are moving to a self-employed role, you are eligible for ASCL Professional Associate membership.

Professional Associate membership provides access to our information and resources, plus access to the ASCL Hotline in relation to education leadership issues.

However, we cannot provide support or cover in relation to employment related issues.

If you are continuing to work in a consultant or freelance capacity, it’s important that you source appropriate legal cover and insurance.

ASCL does not provide this type of cover for those working in a freelance or consultant capacity.

ASCL Professional Associate Membership is only available to members who have previously held full ASCL membership.

If you are retiring from a leadership role, ASCL Associate membership offers a great way to stay connected and continue your association with ASCL.

Associate members continue to receive regular communications and updates from us, plus dedicated resources and opportunities to develop your network with other former school, college and trust leaders.

You can find out more about ASCL Associate membership on the website. 

If you are continuing to work in a consultative capacity, including as a self-employed consultant, you will need to ensure you have appropriate legal cover as an Associate Membership does not provide this type of support.

You may wish to consider ASCL Professional Associate membership if you are continuing to work on a self-employed basis.

If you are taking a period of maternity or parental leave, it is very important you maintain your ASCL membership during this period through our discounted subscription options.

This will ensure that you are fully covered should any processes commence during your leave, or in the event that you needed union support during the period.

Please get in touch with the membership team on membership@ascl.org.uk or 0116 299 1122 to notify us about your leave and we will be able to apply your discount.

We are unable to apply discount retrospectively, so it is important to contact us in advance of your maternity or parental leave commencing to apply for the discount.

It’s vital that we keep your membership record up to date so please get in touch if any of your employment or personal details change.

Having an up to date record of your job role and employer means that we can help you quicker should you need to contact us for support.

And its important that we have all of your contact details up to date so that we can make sure that you receive all of our communications and full member benefits.

You can update your details by logging into your My ASCL account on the website or by getting in touch with the membership team on membership@ascl.org.uk or 0116 299 1122

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