Local branches are grouped within districts, and are normally organised within the same areas as local authorities or groups of unitary authorities. Most branches have an elected committee, headed by a branch secretary. The size of the branch varies enormously from a few hundred, to several thousand. To find your nearest branch, see our list of ATL Districts.
Branches often have local knowledge about issues facing schools and colleges in the area; as a rep as well as branch secretary, I know how valuable that can be. We also run popular CPD events – we've had one on 'good to outstanding' teaching this term and plan to have one on pay next term – so it's worth finding out what your local branch has got on
Most local branches meet once per term for an hour or so, at which ATL members are updated on what is going on in local schools and colleges, along with issues nationally that affect members in the classroom.
Branches also arrange training or information sessions for local reps and contacts, and invite speakers to meetings, for example ATL's solicitors, policy advisors or national officers.
Members are elected by their colleagues in schools, colleges and other education workplaces to play different roles in the branch, including the following.
Branch president: the president of the branch facilitates branch and committee meetings. Some are also negotiators who take part in meetings with employer representatives, ie LA, college management or academy sponsor.
Branch secretary: the main contact person with the wider union who handles branch admin and normally attends meetings on behalf of ATL with employers (eg in the context of maintained schools, the local authority).
Branch treasurer: responsible for managing branch finances, including keeping accounts and applying for branch grants in order to put on CPD/training events and meetings.
Branch membership secretary: advises and helps recruit new ATL members and ensures their voices have an influence across the union.
Branch union learning rep: helps arrange professional development and lifelong learning for members, reps and branch officers.
Branch press and communications officer: coordinates branch newsletters, websites and other media.
Branches may create other posts according to their rules.
Branch officer training
As an ATL branch officer, ATL supports you in your role. We offer a two-day induction for all new branch secretaries in September of each year, with follow-up training in casework skills, planning regional meetings and events, and a one-day training course for branch treasurers. To find out more about branch officer training, please contact ATL's training team.
The important thing to remember is that a branch is only as strong as its members - it's your branch.