29th March 1996 at 00:00
Professional Association of Teachers

Contributing members 40,036 (December 1994)

Membership fee Pounds 81 (full-time teacher)

HQ 2 St James's Court, Friar Gate, Derby DE1 1BT

General secretary John Andrews (53). Salary:Pounds 46,695 plus Pounds 26,957 superannuation (1994)

Executive members 40 (23 women, 17 men)

Financial position Income in 1994: Pounds 1,580,716; expenditure, Pounds 1,549,517

Power base East Midlands

Potted history "Sweetheart" union that has a policy of never striking. Established in 1970 by two Essex teachers dismayed by the effect of industrial action in schools. Membership surged during the protracted pay dispute in the mid-1980s when it recruited thousands of disaffected NUT and NASUWT members.

Gained seat on Burnham pay negotiating body much to the chagrin of other unions which regarded it as a pariah, but has never exerted any real influence in pay talks. Refused to take part in the 1993 national test boycott because it was a trade dispute.

Since taking over, John Andrews has reorganised the HQ structure in order to improve services to members, installed a new computer system and beefed up the education policy team. Now has relatively good working relationships with other unions.

Achievements Fairly modest. Believes it has raised awareness of the negative effects that TV and videos can have on children. Helped to ensure that teachers' voice problems are regarded as an industrial injury. Has also forged an alliance with childcare staff and now has a special section for nursery nurses.

Weaknesseslow points Its chief selling point - that it is a no-strike union - has much less relevance in the 1990s than it did in the dispute-ridden 1980s.

Seriously embarrassed when its national chairman, Office for Standards in Education inspector David Walker, was forced to resign last July within 24 hours of taking up office after saying that classes of 40 could be acceptable.

Prognosis Not the spent force that its rivals like to claim it is, but it seems destined to remain on the political periphery, particularly if Labour wins the next general election. Eventual merger with ATL possible .

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