Research and analysis

NFER Teacher Voice Omnibus: November 2012 survey - understanding union membership and activity

This report provides an analysis of responses to the Teacher Voice Omnibus with supporting information about the survey, presented by school phase and seniority of respondent.


The Department for Education submitted eight questions to NFER’s Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey in November 2012. The questions covered the following topics: Whether responding teachers were members of a teaching union, and the reasons they were or were not; The number of the teachers at respondents’ schools employed full- or part-time as teaching union representatives; and whether the current ‘work to rule’ by teachers was having an impact in respondents’ schools.

This report provides an analysis of the responses to the questions, along with supporting information about the survey. Results are presented by school phase (primary and secondary) and, where relevant, by seniority of respondent (senior leaders, i.e. headteachers, deputy headteachers and assistant headteachers, or classroom teachers).


  • table of tables
  • introduction
  • analysis of findings
  • the sample
  • proportion of union membership amongst teachers
  • reasons given for joining teaching unions
  • reasons given for not joining a teachers’ union
  • What union membership had brought members in the past year
  • numbers of teaching staff employed full-time as a union representative
  • numbers of teaching staff employed part-time as a union representative
  • the size of the impact of the current ‘work to rule’
  • the nature of the impact of working to rule
  • conclusions and implications
  • annex: supporting information
  • How was the survey conducted?
  • What was the composition of the panel?
  • How representative of schools nationally were the schools corresponding to the teachers panel?
  • How accurately do the results represent the national position?