Who's who?

ATL's officers and officials, and the senior managers from ATL's professional staff who act as key spokespeople for the union, make up a dedicated team striving to support members in their employment and to secure the best future for education in the UK.

ATL's officers and officials

Kim Knappett thumbnail

Kim Knappett, president

Kim started her teaching career in 1987 where she taught science in Northolt, Middlesex, for two years before returning to south-east London where she now teaches at a boy's school in Forest Hill.

She started her own education at Stillness Infant and Junior schools and Sydenham Girls Secondary school, London. She went on to do her chemistry degree at University College London and her PGCE at King's College London.

Kim joined AMMA (the Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association), a fore runner to ATL, in 1986 as a student. She has been an active member of the inner London ATL branch since graduating and on ATL's ruling executive committee since 2002.

Mark Baker

Mark Baker, immediate past president

Mark Baker joined AMMA, as it then was, at the beginning of his career in 1981; a school rep and member for 35 years.

As a teacher in one of Rochdale's special schools, he holds the ideals of the Co-operative movement and the ethics of mutuality very close to his heart with their principles of fairness and equality.

Mark started his own education at Springhead community infant and nursery school in Oldham, then went to Oldham Hulme grammar school, and did his teacher training at Christ's College in Liverpool where he trained as a geography teacher.

An active union member he became Branch Secretary for Rochdale in 2000 and joined the Executive Committee for Greater Manchester in 2003.

In 2014 Mark was proud to take office as ATL's National President; focussed on the need to take back ownership of the profession and meet the many challenges it faces; in particular, improving inspection, putting young people's needs first and celebrating the fantastic contributions made by those working in education.

Shelagh Hirst, Honorary secretary

Shelagh Hirst, vice president

Shelagh Hirst was honorary secretary since joining the Executive Committee in 2000.

A regular supply teacher throughout Calderdale and Kirklees primary schools, Shelagh has also attended the TUC annual Conferences and has been active in the Women's TUC.

Ralph Surman

Ralph Surman, policy officer

Ralph is deputy head teacher of Cantrell Primary School, Nottingham. A member of the senior leadership team, he is inclusion and disabilities officer for the school, and co-ordinates assessment, testing, reporting and evaluation work. He has been joint branch secretary of Nottingham branch since 1995.

Ralph joined the Association in 1983. A member of the Executive Committee since 1993, he sits on ATL's policy council, disciplinary panel and action committee, and has served as TUC co-ordinator since 2008. He has also served as lead member for evaluation and inspection, for pay and conditions, and for behaviour and discipline.

Stephen Buck, Honorary treasurer

Stephen Buck, treasurer and member governance officer

Stephen Buck first became a member of ATL in the 1980s before working his way up through the Humberside branch to take a seat on Executive Committee in 2002, where he has been a member of Policy Council, Finance Committee, Budget Group and Rules and Procedures Committee.

Even with his national ATL commitments, Stephen remains ATL school rep and local secretary for North Lincolnshire. A physics graduate, Stephen has been a full-time teacher for more than 30 years, and will continue to teach two days a week while he fulfills his ATL roles.


Fiona Rawlings, AMiE president

Fiona Rawlings started her teaching career in a south Wales comprehensive school in the early 1980s at which time she joined AMMA. She then gained a post as a lecturer in a nearby FE college and progressed to her first management post in the same college in the mid 1990s and at which point she joined ACM.

Shortly after she became active in an informal ACM group in south Wales which was the precursor to what is now the AMiE Wales group of which she is still a member. She has also served as both Chair and Secretary of the AMiE branch within her college as well as ACM President and ACM Treasurer. Fiona is currently 'resting' from college management and is looking forward to her role as AMiE President in which she will work closely with the other Officers in ATL and ensure that the voice and needs of leaders and managers in education are heard.

Mary Bousted, general secretary

Mary Bousted, general secretary

Dr Mary Bousted is general secretary of ATL and AMiE. Mary represents the interests of her members to the government, and to a wide variety of other stakeholders. As the education union, ATL leads the debate on key educational issues with strong policy positions on, for example, assessment and curriculum changes; school accountability and school structures.

Mary contributes regular articles for newspapers and education journals, and appears frequently on national media. She sits on the executive committee of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and is a member of the ACAS board. Mary is also an accomplished public speaker and has debated at the Oxford Union.

Mary previously worked in higher education at York University, Edge Hill University and at Kingston University where she was Head of the School of Education. Prior to this Mary was a Head of English, and English teacher in comprehensive schools in North London.

Peter Pendle

Peter Pendle, deputy general secretary

Peter Pendle is deputy general secretary of ATL. He was originally elected as chief executive and general secretary of the Association for College Management (ACM) in 2001 and re-elected in 2006. He retained the position until ACM's merger with ATL in 2011, when he became deputy general secretary. He is responsible for support and representation for members, resource management including finance, HR and IT, membership and governance administration. He remains chief executive of AMiE, ATL's section for leaders and managers.

Before joining ACM Peter was director of resources for the Universities UK (formerly the Committee for Vice Chancellors and Principals (CVCP)) and before that was vice principal of Greenhill College in Harrow. He is a mentor for the Black Leadership Initiative Mentoring Scheme and a recipient of the Network of Black Managers' Award for leadership in race equality in FE. He has over thirty years' experience of FE and school governance in various roles. He has been a trustee for various charities and currently sits as an employment tribunal member in London East.

Mark Langhammer, director of ATL Northern Ireland

Mark Langhammer, director of ATL Northern Ireland

Mark Langhammer is director of ATL Northern Ireland. He is responsible for the staff team, strategic direction, education policy, negotiations, recruitment and organisation. Mark was previously employed as director of the University for Industry's learndirect initiative in Northern Ireland, as CEO of the North Belfast (urban regeneration) Partnership and director of the Dunanney Centre.

Tel: 028 9078 2020 Email Mark Langhammer

Philip Dixon, director of ATL Cymru

Philip Dixon, director of ATL Cymru

Dr Philip Dixon is director of ATL Cymru. He is responsible for the work of the union in Wales. He directs policy in Wales and supervises caseworkers and organisers in the field.

Previously he was director of CAFOD Wales, an international aid agency, and before that special advisor to the then Leader of the Opposition at the National Assembly, Ieuan Wyn Jones.

Nansi Ellis, head of education policy and research

Nansi Ellis, Assistant general secretary (policy)

Nansi Ellis is ATL's assistant general secretary with responsibility for policy. She leads the development and implementation of ATL's policies on education, equalities, pay, conditions and pensions – professional issues that impact on teaching and learning. She and her team liaise with stakeholders, using policy to negotiate, influence and challenge on issues such as accountability, curriculum and assessment, professional development and the conditions for effective professional practice at national and local levels. And she focuses policy development in ways that support sustained member activity. If education is to change for the benefit of children and young people, then those who work in education need to take a lead, and the union must support them to do so.

Nansi began her teaching career as a primary teacher in a bilingual school in west Wales, and then moved to London to teach in a middle school. She worked (briefly) on national testing and data collection for the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, and managed the early years team at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, helping to develop the early years foundation stage. She joined ATL as a primary education adviser.

Mark Holding

Mark Holding, Assistant general secretary (R&O)

Mark Holding is ATL's head of recruitment and organisation. He is responsible for leading ATL's work recruiting, engaging and developing members. This includes the support ATL provides to local workplace activists, districts, branches and sector networks as well as our national programme of reps training, union learning and continuing professional development.

Mark joined ATL as an experienced union organiser having previously worked as national organiser for Connect and before that as part of the team which launched the TUC's Organising Academy.

Victoria Barlow, Assistant general secretary (communication & membership)

Victoria has been working at ATL for the past eight years, firstly as head of communications and then as Assistant General Secretary for communications and membership. In her current role she oversees the department's work to recruit, retain and engage members and to influence stakeholders as well as contributing to the union's overall strategy and direction.

Having begun her career in journalism in 1997 working on local and national newspapers, Victoria moved in press office work, starting at the Local Government Association then NASUWT before joining the charity, Teacher Support Network as director of communications.

Victoria has a son at an infant school in south London where she sits on the board of governors and chairs the curriculum committee.


My role

My sector

My location

Find my branch