Britain's most surreal and diminutive classroom teachers' union, the Professional Association of Teachers, boasted a membership of 34,787 in its latest audited membership figures. We were concerned, therefore, to learn that only 21,543 ballot papers were sent out to members in this summer's election for general secretary.
Was democracy being denied or could this be the beginning of the end for the dear old PAT? In February, we reported an alarmed former general secretary Kay Driver claiming the union was being targeted in a hate campaign co-ordinated by the guardians of the Holy Grail. Shortly afterwards she decamped to the British Horse Society. Were thousands of alarmed members following her lead? (Coincidentally, the 56,000-strong horse society has been accepting 700 new members a month since Kay's arrival.) Even after taking 6,000 non-voting PAT student members out of the equation, we are still left with thousands of members who appear to have left since the official figures were counted last year.
PAT assures us membership"will shortly be over 30,000 again" now that it has embarked on its annual recruitment drive. Ballot papers were apparently"sent out at the lowest point in the membership cycle".