Peter Smith (trade unionist)

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Peter Smith CBE (25 June 1940 – 10 February 2006) was general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in the United Kingdom from 1988 to 2002. Prior to this he was an English teacher at Trinity School of John Whitgift from 1966 to 1974.

At the beginning of his tenure, the ATL was a small trade union in a sector traditionally dominated by two large unions, the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers.

“Shrewd and sensible, if somewhat offbeat in style, Smith became an influential figure during an important era for education: the introduction of the national curriculum, national testing and regular school inspections all took place while he was in charge of the ATL, and he sought to guide his members to a responsible position on all of these difficult issues.” Daily Telegraph, February 13 2006.

Smith is credited with tripling the membership of the organisation. He was appointed a CBE in 2003 for services to education. He is survived by his wife, Anne, whom he married in 1961, and by their son and daughter.

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