Recruiting members

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Rep Zone
03 November 2016
Some commonly posed queries by members dealing with this element of being an ATL rep.

Why does ATL insist it is important for reps to recruit more ATL members?

Members are the lifeblood of any union and ATL is no different. Members account for more than 90% of our income but, more importantly, they are what give us our credibility and influence. Our members ensure ATL is more than a think tank; our membership means that we speak from the experience of thousands of hands-on education professionals. If we want to influence education and ensure we speak out for the profession, we need to keep gaining members.

How do I go about recruiting more ATL members at my school?

Two things are fundamental: being visible and personally asking people to join.

Firstly, make sure ATL is visible. Colleagues will join a union they can see is present in their workplace; they will be much less likely to join one that isn't. So make sure there are ATL posters on the staff noticeboard and a sample of ATL publications available in your staff room. You should always have a ready stock of recruitment flyers, postcards and posters, which you can order from or 0845 4500 009.

Secondly, make sure you personally approach potential members and ask them to join ATL. Research consistently demonstrates that the most common reason given for not joining a union is 'I was never asked'. Other members are the best people to pop the question to the colleagues they know.

Reps that have been successful in recruiting new members have identified the following top tips:

  • Face-to-face contact is the best way to recruit.
  • Map the staff in your workplace to identify members and non-members. Find who is not in a union and target them, ideally via another ATL member who knows them.
  • The start of the new academic year in autumn is a good time to talk to new staff members about the benefits of joining ATL, including supply and student teachers/lecturers, and support staff.
  • Keep an eye out for any other new joiners at the start of term, and make contact with them. Remember, most schools/colleges receive new student placements throughout the year. Building up a rapport with student and newly qualified members is especially important.
  • If a colleague is busy, leave them a recruitment flyer and arrange to talk to them another time.
  • Listen to the needs of potential members and demonstrate how ATL's services and benefits meet those needs.

Where possible, seal the deal yourself – call 0845 057 7000 to enrol the potential member, or enrol them online at or from the home page of the ATL Rep App.

Your branch secretary and members of ATL's organising team will be more than happy to assist you with further advice and guidance – just email

What should I promote as the benefits of joining ATL?

People join ATL for a whole host of reasons. The key thing is to engage potential joiners in conversation, listening for the issues that most interest or concern them and then promote the membership benefits that best match those concerns. For the top ten reasons why members join ATL, see or the Why Join? section of ATL's Rep App.

Don't be afraid to talk about why you or your colleagues joined. Potential joiners are just people like you – this is what makes you such a powerful advocate for ATL. The things that triggered you to join ATL are likely to trigger others too.

Can anyone working in education join ATL?

All staff employed in the education sector are eligible to join ATL:

  • whatever their role – support staff, teacher, lecturer, leaders, heads and principals
  • whatever their sector – local authority, academy, free or independent schools, sixth-form or further education colleges
  • whatever the stage of their career - from student and newly qualified through promotion and progression into leadership roles, all the way to retirement.

ATL provides all these groups of members with bespoke resources and support:

  • students and newly qualifieds can be directed to our dedicated website at
  • heads, principals and others in the leadership team can be directed to our dedicated leadership section, AMiE at
  • we also produce dedicated newsletters, ebulletins, publications and events for support staff, post-16, independent schools, supply teachers and those working in academies and free schools.

You should avoid knowingly approaching staff who are members of another recognised union, especially if ATL is not recognised to bargain on their behalf (eg support staff in maintained schools). However, this does not prevent you from advertising that staff are eligible to join ATL and information about ATL's activities, so colleagues can make up (or change) their own mind about which union is best for them.

Related FAQ:

What are the latest ATL subscription rates? What incentives do we offer new joiners?

For up-to-date details of joiner and renewal subscription, check out the latest subs rates online or in the ATL Reps App. Rates are revised on 1 January every year.

We offer a range of incentives to new joiners:

  • all standard rate joiners (teachers, lecturers, leaders and support staff) are now offered half-price subscriptions for their first year of membership
  • newly qualified membership is free for the calendar year the member qualifies and the following calendar year, and then half price for the subsequent year, provided the member agrees to pay future subscriptions by direct debit
  • student membership is free
  • reduced subscriptions also apply for those who work part time, are taking a career break or have retired.

Please note: like all unions, we have a pre-existing rule, which typically prohibits us from representing members around an issue that arose before they joined, adjudicated by elected members (see related FAQ on this issue, below).

Related FAQ:

How does someone join ATL?

Members can join ATL online at, by using the Join us! buttons on the website or ATL's Rep App, or over the phone by calling 0845 057 7000 (local rates apply). Members can also complete an application form, included in our recruitment materials.