The NUT has agreed to take part in a forum to negotiate pay and conditions with the teachers' employers.
Doug McAvoy, general secretary, in response to a speech made to the conference by Graham Lane, leader of the teachers' employers, said the union is prepared to sign up to direct discussions.
Mr Lane earned warm applause for his speech. He said he would be launching a consultation document calling for the abolition of the School Teachers' Review Body, set up by the Conservative government.
Mr Lane also insisted that he would resist any attempt to introduce performance-related pay and the casualisation of the profession.
He said he would be urging local authorities in their bids to be education action zones, not to introduce sweeping changes to teachers pay and conditions.