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Representing school leaders for 120 years

 Russell Hobby, general secretary of NAHT writes about education policy, with a focus on how the profession can take back ownership of its own destiny


This Monday marked a very special day in our association’s calendar; NAHT celebrated its 120 years anniversary.

NAHT (or the National Federation of Head Teachers’ Associations, as it was initially called) was established on Saturday 27 March in 1897 at a conference held at Clarendon Street Schools in Nottingham. Its founding objects were: 

  • to provide a ready means of communication for all members, to ascertain and give expression to their opinions and to take action when necessary on their behalf;
  • to render help to all members in cases of professional difficulty;
  • to further the cause of Education generally;
  • to uphold a high standard of professional conduct among members, including equal opportunities for all;
  • and to regulate relations between members and their employers.

While our association has evolved over the years, and we’ve updated and amended our membership and our services to meet the needs of the profession, it’s undeniable that our overall aims have stayed true to these initial objectives. To realise these goals, we continue to offer:

  • first class advice, support and representation through our team of specialist advisers, our regional officers and our officials at every level;
  • highly respected and hugely influential lobbying and campaigning; 
  • a responsive and relevant programme of member communications;
  • and a wide range of opportunities for members to better themselves through our schedule of continuing professional development and their schools through our pioneering school improvement programmes.  

If the association’s founders could see how the organisation they established has developed into what we have now, I know they would be proud of how far we’ve come. NAHT gets things done; it wins on behalf of its members, not just at an individual level, but also nationally. Within the last year we have achieved significant successes on assessment, forced academisation, nursery funding, and compulsory SRE to name but a few. We have protected individual members in the most challenging circumstances. This has only been possible thanks to the commitment of our officials and the dedication of our staff.

To help commemorate our proud heritage, at 1pm on Monday a plaque was unveiled at Nottingham Trent University where NAHT was founded, to serve as a permanent reminder of the association’s beginnings. Our president Kim was on hand to help mark the event. 

On the occasion of NAHT’s 120th year, we would like to say a big thank you to our members past and present who have made NAHT the successful and highly influential association for school leaders that it is today. Here’s to the next 120 years!

First published 06 April 2017