Professional Subject Associations are a group of membership organisations consisting of teachers who are experts in their subjects.
Subject associations are usually charity based and independent from the government and aim to develop the education and learning of each subject.
Pedagogical and subject knowledge lie at the heart of teachers' professional learning. Professional subject associations are vital for teachers at every stage of their career, providing expert subject-specific guidance and links to useful resources and research, as well as CPD and networking opportunities.
The ITT Core Content Framework (DfE 2019, p29) and the Early Career Framework (DfE 2019, p24) encourage participation of early career teachers in wider networks to strengthen pedagogical and subject knowledge. Active involvement with subject associations reaps benefits for teachers beyond the early career stage, too.
Speaking personally, I have been a member of my subject association for 30+ years, including a term as President and serving on the Board of Trustees. This has led to new opportunities, and I would encourage all teachers to be involved in professional subject associations.
Professor Anna Lise Gordon, Dean of the St Mary's University School of Education
The Chartered College of Teaching focuses on supporting and celebrating teachers, encouraging them to take pride in their career. Membership of The Chartered College of Teaching celebrates teachers’ commitment and passion to teaching and involves a strong dedication to teaching and providing the best education for pupils.
The organisation includes free professional development for teachers who are new in their career, the termly peer-reviewed journal, Impact, and downloadable research and compact guides. Teachers’ voices are highly valued and are given platforms for debates and collaborations, so that children and young people are given the best outcomes.
Follow Chartered College of Teaching on Twitter: @CharteredColl
Art and design
The National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) values the importance of teaching art in schools and improving the status of art teachers.
The NSEAD has three core values: expansive – ensuring their membership is diverse and their work is wide in scope; collaborative – a professional community all working towards a shared goal; and learned and learning – making sure they are a credible and reliable source of education and support.
NSEAD provides a range of curriculum resources, including various art forms such as Design, Digital Media, Craft and Drawing, as well as information on Health and Safety and Life after Lockdown.
Follow NSEAD on Twitter: @NSEAD1
Early Education is a national charity supporting early years practitioners with training, resources and professional networks, and campaigning for quality education for the youngest children. EE supports their members through publications, training, events and conferences, and local branch meetings.
With over 3,500 members, Early Education campaigns to improve early childhood education policy by representing members' concerns to government, maintaining dialogue with policy makers and campaigning to raise awareness of key issues.
Follow Early Education on Twitter: @earlyed_uk
The National Association for the Teaching of English is an education charity led by volunteers, working group members and English specialists all over the world. NATE’s goal is to provide an independent voice for English teachers and to develop innovative and reflective approaches to the classroom.
NATE supports its teachers using resources such as their magazines Teaching English and Primary Matters as well as Routledge which publishes books designed to support teacher development and to promote exceptional practice in the classroom for all academic years.
NATE’s core values push for members to be leaders of research, a provider of expert publications and research, promoters of effective practice, collaborators of stakeholders (regionally and internationally) and advocates of the cultural importance of English as a discipline.
Members have access to NATE’s e-magazine NATE News, and IllumiNATE, a regular email publication which provides new and creative teaching ideas designed to maximise and strengthen teaching performance and pupil engagement.
Follow The National Association for the Teaching of English on Twitter: @NATEfeed
The UK Literacy Association (UKLA) works to improve literacy and believe that excellent literacy education should be informed by a range of research. Membership includes the following benefits:
- Membership of a supportive community
- Up to date information on latest developments in literacy
- Discounts on UKLA books and conferences
- Support for Reading for Pleasure
- The English 4-11 magazine and free web resources
- Involvement of the UKLA Book Awards
- Opportunities to publish and celebrate projects and writing.
Follow The UK Literacy Association on Twitter: @The_UKLA
The Geographical Association (GA) is the leading subject association for teachers of geography. It is their mission to ‘further geographical knowledge and understanding through education’. GA supports geographical education by providing a specialist community of practice for teachers to share ideas with one another. This is done through their journals, publications, courses, conferences and social media activity.
A GA membership will allow you access to any one of their specialist journals, such as Geography, Teaching Geography and Primary Geography. Members gain access to GA magazine, which contains the latest news, activities and subject articles. Group memberships cover whole schools and institutions and provides members with a website login, which allows up to 10 users at a time to access all the benefits that come with a GA membership.
Follow Geographical Association on Twitter: @The_GA
The Historical Association is the ‘UK’s voice for history’, which supports the teaching, learning and enjoyment of history at all levels. The Historical Association aims to inspire and encourage people to get involve with history in either the classroom, library or in the comfort of your own home, and believes it should be accessible to everyone.
The Historical Association offers a range of journals and resources including Teaching History, which is aimed for secondary level history teachers, with two sections of interest to trainee teachers and new history teachers.
These sections include 'What's the Wisdom on...?' which offers a short guide on aspects of history teaching and a series of recorded webinars where experts in ITT and the HA provide a structured discussion about different concepts or issues in history teaching. The second section 'New, Novice or Nervous?' is a feature designed to locate key articles on various aspects of learning and teaching.
Follow The Historical Associationon Twitter: @histassoc
The Association for Language Learning (ALL) is run by teachers, for teachers, with a very large volunteer network, which dedicates their time to supporting teachers of language learning and learners of foreign languages. ALL provides 10 good reasons for members to join:
- Keep up to date on high quality publications such as Languages Today magazine and ALLNet ebulletin
- Keep up in touch via regional and national events and social networking
- Evidence your professionalism by being an active member and by updating your professional and subject knowledge through ALL’s Teacher Briefings
- Access high quality professional development and networking opportunities including the annual Language World conference.
- Join others in your specialist area as ALL has committees in specific language areas, as well as special interest groups such as for Primary and Adult education
- Be part of the international community of language teachers.
- Connect with the research community and discover new resources and methods to further your teaching
- Make your voice heard in policy making and have your say in the new curriculum and inform decision makers
- Access resources through projects ALL has run, all of which are available online
- Save money through discounts on publications and events.
Follow The Association for Language Learning on Twitter: @ALL4language
The Association for Teachers of Mathematics (ATM) promotes the teaching and learning of mathematics, with a strong focus on the learner, with immediately usable resources.
Members include individual teachers and schools. ATM supports the teaching and learning of mathematics by encouraging understanding and enjoyment of mathematics, sharing and evaluating teaching and learning strategies and contributing to discussions and developments surrounding mathematics at all academic levels.
ATM members have a large role in examining new approaches to teaching, whether that is through research, technological advancements or insightful ideas. Attention and communication about teaching mathematics is fundamentally what contributes towards producing the best results for pupils.
Membership gives you access to discounts on major publications, events and conferences. You will also have access to the Mathematics Teaching Journal and many other resources which aim to develop teaching and knowledge of mathematics.
Follow The Association for Teachers of Mathematics on Twitter: @ATMMathematics
Physical education (PE)
The main purpose of The Association for Physical Education (AfPE) is to promote and maintain high standards of physical education teaching and physical health at all levels in schools.
The organisation offers a wide range of high-quality membership services, professional learning opportunities and vocational qualifications, journals, employment opportunities, e-newsletters, and insurance and legal advice.
Their main objectives are to demonstrate how fundamental physical education young people’s learning and development and to raise awareness of physical education’s contribution to the school curriculum and to public health and well-being.
AfPE offers a range of useful resources to support its members and PE teachers. This includes:
- Publications on sport pedagogy
- Safety in physical education
- Posters for classroom and teaching use
- YouTube videos using the handle #ThisIsPE demonstrating sport techniques
- Termly publication Physical Education Matters which provides up to date research on physical education teaching and development
- Health Position Paper which promotes Physical Education’s involvement in healthy living and tackling of childhood obesity
- The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code, which promotes the importance of sun safety and the risks of skin cancer.
Follow The Association for Physical Education on Twitter: @afPE_PE
The National Association for Primary Education focuses on the learning and development of children from birth to 13 years old. NAPE welcomes all members, including teachers, principals, parents, trainee teachers, governors and inspectors. The association encourages members to be share their opinions, with regular meetings and conferences for members to discuss matters.
NAPE offers both individual and school memberships and also offers joint memberships alongside the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE). Membership comprises of the hard copy journal Primary First (posted on a termly basis to members), NAPE news updates via email, telephone and email enquiries, representation of primary interests through media releases and meetings with associations and reduced price entry and exclusive offers to NAPE events and third-party suppliers.
You can also listen to NAPE’s podcast free and episodes include subjects on climate change, racial justice, hygiene and health and COVID-19.
Follow The National Association for Primary Education on Twitter: @N_A_P_E
Personal, social and health education (PSHE)
The PSHE Association is for PSHE education professionals, providing members with dedicated support, resources, training and guidance on all matters related to PSHE in the curriculum.
Follow The PSHE Association on Twitter: @PSHEassociation
Religious Education (RE)
The National Association for Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) is the subject teacher association for RE professionals. It works to support those who teach and lead in all schools and institutions and at all stages of their career.
NATRE provides a focal point for the concerns of RE professionals, a representative voice at national level, and publications and courses to support professional development. NATRE works in collaboration with RE Today Services and provides a termly REtoday magazine.
Follow The National Association for Teachers of Religious Education on Twitter: @NATREupdate
The Association of Teachers of Catholic Religious Education provides high quality professional development and a number of opportunities for collaboration and networking for all of its members. It supports all those who teach RE in all Catholic schools; from infant schools to sixth form colleges.
ATCRE seeks to promote:
- The mission of Catholic education as determined by the Bishops’ Conference
- Excellence in the teaching of Catholic religious education
- Collaboration between teachers of Catholic religious education in various types of schools (primary, secondary, sixth form college, special, independent, voluntary aided, academies and free schools)
- Collaboration with different organisations within Catholic education
- Links with international Catholic organisations
- Links with organisations that promote religious education in schools
ATCRE hosts an annual national conference to bring together RE teachers from across the UK to network and celebrate their practices and success. The conference provides teachers an opportunity to question and debate issues within the realm of Catholic RE teaching. In essence, the conference aims to find solutions and practical actions that could make a difference in the classroom and improve on Catholic education teaching. The conference is designed to inspire RE teachers about the upcoming academic year and galvanize the Catholic RE community.
Follow The Association of Teachers of Catholic Religious Education on Twitter: @ATCRE_EW
The Association for Science Education (ASE) supports those involved in science education from primary level to higher education for over 100 years. ASE provides a wealth of resources for primary and secondary education and gives valuable insight into transitioning between primary and secondary education, with a national conference held annually in January.
Members include teachers, technicians, tutors and advisors. ASE seeks to provide a powerful voice for members involved in science education and to make a positive and influential change to the learning and teaching of science all over the world.
ASE has had a large impact on its members and there is much to be celebrated about the organisation. There are 3211 activities, articles and research in the ASE resource library, 684 volunteers supporting ASE through committees, working groups and presenting at conferences, and finally 13496 at online events from more than 30 countries in the past year.
Follow The Association for Science Education on Twitter: @theASE
Special educational needs
The National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN) is a charity-based organisation which supports and champions young people and children with SEND and learning difficulties. NASEN provides free resources and support for all of its members, as well as leading programmes, projects and conferences to promote widespread improvements across the UK and internationally.
NASEN’s mission is to support and develop the SEND workforce by ensuring that the workforce is fully equipped to meet the needs of learners with SEND and to act as a conduit between sector influencers and the SEND workforce.
A membership (free for trainee teachers) at NASEN gives you an eclectic range of resources including webinars, the free magazine Connect, NASEN’s book series and free miniguides. All of these resources focus on SEND in education, with many centered on specific disabilities such as autism, visual impairments, dyslexia, ADHD and learning difficulties.
The large quantity of resources provides up-to-date content and an enriching amount of support and development for teachers wanting to specialise in SEND education.
Follow The National Association for Special Educational Needs on Twitter: @nasen_org