NUT elects Kevin Courtney as general secretary

15th July 2016 at 17:03
New leader says role is an 'extraordinary honour' and 'one of the most important jobs in education'

Veteran activist and campaigner Kevin Courtney has been elected as the new general secretary of the NUT teaching union.

The acting leader of the classroom union won a contest against former NUT president Beth Davies, it was revealed today. 

Mr Courtney, who was deputy general secretary for six years, decided to stand after Christine Blower stepped down in May.

On winning the leadership contest, he said: “This is an extraordinary honour. General secretary of the NUT is one of the most important jobs in education and I am proud to be taking on that role. I will work tirelessly to achieve an education system that recognises all our children’s strengths and respects and recognises the incredible job that teachers do.

“I am fortunate to be inheriting from Christine Blower the leadership of a strong and growing union. I am in no doubt, however, of the challenges ahead – not least the need to convince the prime minister and the new education secretary, Justine Greening, of the case both for proper investment in our education service, as opposed to the damaging cuts currently in place, and for urgent reform of the key stage 1 and key stage 2 testing arrangements.”

'We must get parents on our side'

Mr Courtney secured 22,290 votes to Ms Davies' 9,612 votes. Some 297,938 members were eligible to vote.

In an exclusive interview with TES this week, the new NUT leader said getting more parents onside in the union’s battles over funding, assessment and teacher workload could help to make politicians listen.

He added that it was vital for the NUT to encourage younger members to become activists, instead of them seeing the union simply as an “insurance club” that helped teachers out when "in trouble”.

Earlier this week, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) announced that Malcolm Trobe, the interim general secretary, will remain in the post until next year while the union searches for a permanent leader.

The ASCL said that it was not yet ready to select a preferred candidate after the first round of recruitment. The union does not expect a new leader to be in place "until some time in 2017". 

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