The National Union of Teachers is appealing to educational psychologists to stay on as members after their association voted to end its 33-year affiliation.
A postal ballot has confirmed the Association of Educational Psychologists' decision to leave Britain's largest teachers' union. The move was backed by 68 per cent of members - albeit on a turn-out of 21 per cent.
The AEP believes that with a membership of more than 2,000, grown seven-fold since its formation in 1964, it is now large enough to stand alone. It has already given the NUT one year's notice, to expire on December 31, following a similar vote last year.
Leaders believe they can offer members better value. But they are also unhappy with the support they have received from the NUT in pursuing pay claims in recent years.
AEP general secretary, Brian Harrison-Jennings, said: "Members feel that as a trade union the association can represent their views and interests more effectively from an independent position. The AEP will continue to work in partnership and close co-operation with all related trade unions including the NUT."
But Steve Sinnott, the NUT deputy general secretary with responsibility for support staff, said: "It's a terribly low turn-out for such a major change in constitutional relations."
The NUT would try to recruit AEP members. "We will look to provide an increased range of services for educational psychologists, and I would urge them to enter into direct membership of the NUT," he said. Workers are allowed by law to belong to more than one union.