The number of new members has gone up by 22 per cent over the year to September 2005. Among newly qualified teachers membership has increased by 76 per cent over the same period, and among new students it is up 50 per cent. This hardly squares with the picture of a declining and ageing union.
And contrary to what appeared in print, ATL is not resistant to change. What I actually said was, ATL is completely resistant to any changes in teachers' pensions. Which we are. We have been fighting hard to ensure the Government does not worsen teachers' pensions, and will continue to fight to protect the pensions of future teachers.
As members of the social partnership we are using our position to influence Government policy. That does not mean we are giving them an easy ride.
Where there are issues we disagree on, we speak out publicly as and where necessary.
In particular, we will continue our long-standing campaigns against excessive testing and the damaging effects of school league tables on young people's learning.
Dr Mary Bousted
Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Northumberland Street, London WC2