Why I Joined

Principal Teacher – why I’m a member

I decided to join the AHDS because I am a new Principal Teacher and I am keen to develop my leadership skills.  It is great being recognised as a valued part of the Senior Leadership Team and I feel that I have an important part to play within the school.  PT membership of the AHDS supports this model of distributed leadership.

I have always been of the belief that I should make the most of the opportunities that I am given.   Joining the AHDS is one such opportunity.   It will provide me with the chance to develop my knowledge and understanding of my PT role.  It will offer me the chance to collaborate and to share good practice with other PTs.  I think that the AHDS will support me during the development of my career and will equip me with skills which are necessary for the future.

Karen Miller
First PT member of AHDS




Depute – why I’m a member

I moved to Scotland in 2003, having previously taught in London for 12 years.  I had been a member of the ATL union.  My Headteacher suggested that I join the AHDS on my first day in the job!

She discussed how difficult it could be for me stuck between the staff and the strength of the EIS and for her, if she had difficulties with any staff.  I had no hesitation in joining a union, who I believe totally respect the needs of educational leaders, whatever their specific role.

As a Depute, I feel valued and listened to, especially as there are biannual meetings specifically for Deputes. These are opportunities to voice specific and generic concerns faced by Deputes across Scotland and also provide valuable networking time.    On occasion we have had CPD input too on current educational issues.

Despite its history as a Headteacher’s Union, the AHDS makes sure that deputes (and now Principal Teachers) are not treated any differently from Headteachers, except to have our specific needs and concerns recognised.

The role of Depute can be a difficult one to define, but the AHDS makes it clear that they will support me with any difficulties I may face and also celebrate the great opportunities being a Depute brings.

Kathryn Dalrymple
Deputes representative on AHDS National Executive



Headteacher – Why I’m a member

I joined the AHDS over 16 years ago. At that time I was a member of the EIS but had never been actively involved and really was only a member because everyone else was and it was felt that it was sensible in case of finding yourself in difficulties.
I had no wish to become an activist as there always seemed to be a negative agenda with a focus on demands for better conditions with little mention of improving experiences for children.  I also felt it was a union that was mainly for classroom teachers and there was a definite belief among colleagues that once you moved out of the classroom there would not be the same support given. In fact there was an anti management attitude prevalent at the time.

AHDS provided HTs with the ‘insurance’ of assistance in the event of trouble and the availability of advice specifically for Heads.  Of course it has evolved and changed almost beyond recognition since I joined!

AHDS is a respected Education Association with a strong voice in all sectors, partner organisations, local and national government. I became more actively involved some 6 or 7 years ago because I am a bit nosy and like to know what is going on outside my school. I found I wanted an opportunity to try to influence the bigger picture and AHDS certainly now provides me with this challenge!

AHDS provides me with support if I need it and keeps me informed about educational change. It offers quality CPD opportunities, provides the chance for quality time to engage with colleagues and, for those who want to get more involved, it provides a vehicle whereby we can attempt to influence the direction of education policy in Scotland.

Irene Matier
Headteacher Jordanhill School