Website URL : http://www.ucu.org.uk/2098
Professional issues in further education
As the key voice of practitioners in further and adult education, UCU seeks to influence education policy across a range of issues. These include structures in the sector, funding, quality, the curriculum, professional development, learner support and governance.
The union is represented on a number of educational bodies and makes regular representations to the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS), the Department for Education, and the various sector government agencies and non-departmental government bodies. UCU offers advice to members on a range of professional issues. It campaigns for proper funding for the sector, a comprehensive curriculum offer for young people and adults and adequate training and professional development for sector staff and UCU members. Below you will find links to a range of materials and to the key players in the sector.
For further advice please email Dan Taubman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest on the Institute for Learning
See: Institute for Learning
Update on IfL and QTLS
Last year all but one of the 2007 FE Workforce Regulations were revoked. This means that IfL membership is no longer mandatory for FE and Skills sector lecturers. The remaining regulation requiring FE lecturers to have or be on track to have a FE teaching qualification will be revoked by September 2013. The position on QTS is confused. It should no longer be a requirement to hold this. Individual colleges may not have amended their employment contracts to reflect this, and some may still want their teaching staff to have QTLS. IfL are still awarding QTLS but only to IfL members. They are also charging over £400 for the process of professional formation that is part of QTLS. If your college is still wanting QTLs, you remind them that it is no longer a requirement by BIS. If they persist in demanding it, contact your regional office. IfL annual membership is up for renewal. If you renewed it last year when it was still mandatory, there is no need to rejoin this year.
The European Year of Citizens 2013 Conference
Thursday 6 and/or Friday 7 June 2013 • Hotel Mercure, Granby Street, Near Leicester London Road Railway Station Leicester LE1 6ES • Day 1: Thursday 6 June - 7:00pm to 10:00pm - Grundtvig Awards and dinner. The European Year of Citizens 2013 Conference: The challenges and opportunities for adult learning • Day 2: Friday 7 June - 10:00am to 4.30pm - for EAEA members and Day 2 Conference delegates. Click for more details and to book.
Adults Learning English and Maths: reflecting on policy, research and practice
The first joint annual conference of UCU, RaPAL and NIACE was held in London on 9 October 2012. The latest edition of the RaPAL journal containing papers and reports from this conference is now available. Please check the RaPAL website for details of how to obtain your copy.
UCU Whole College Behaviour Management Project Final Report
UCU received funding for a project on devising a policy on behaviour management that promotes good behaviour. Here is a link to the final report which gives a full description of the project, the model policy and how to devise and implement it in a college along with the results of a UCU survey of FE members' perceptions and attitudes to behaviour issues. Behaviour management is a persistent issue in FE colleges and the report shows how a proactive policy can be developed. UCU Whole College Behaviour Policy Project Report (.pdf) [893kb]
The results of a a UCU Survey of the training and development needs of FE Vocational Teachers
Last year BIS set up a Commission on Vocational Teaching and Learning. This link takes you to the report of the findings of a survey that UCU undertook with UCU members who are vocational teachers in FE Colleges. It was submitted as UCU's evidence to this Commission. The final Report of the Commission is due around Easter. UCU submission to CVTL (.pdf) [526kb] UCU submission to CVTL (.doc) [481kb]
Recent consultation responses from the policy department (February 2013)
The following consultation responses have recently been returned by UCU's policy department. Click on the link to read the full response:
LSIS Review of FE Teacher and Trainer Qualifications
LSIS consultation on new FE teacher qualifications following Lingfield Report.
UCU response: support but concerns around the detail.
Download the response document here:
UCU Response - LSIS Consultation on New Qualifications for Teachers and Trainers - November 2012 (.pdf) [684kb]
Ofqual consultation on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Proposal for new ESOL qualification for new UK Citizenship tests and other proposals around rules for other ESOL qualifications.
UCU response: such a new ESOL qualification dangerous and problematic for all other ESOL qualifications. Download the response document here: UCU Response - Ofqual consultation on English for Speakers of Other Languages - December 2012 (.pdf) [352kb]
Department for Education consultation on Reforming Key Stage 4 Qualifications
Complete overhaul of GCSEs; proposal to introduce Ebaccs; proposal that there should only be one exam board per subject.
UCU response: opposition as it will create a hierarchical exam system that will further disadvantage working class young people. Download the response document here: UCU Response - Department of Education Consultation on Reforming Key Stage 4 Qualifications (.pdf) [284kb]
Institute for Education, LSIS: Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning
BIS-created commission looking at adult vocational teaching and learning.
UCU submitted results on survey of UCU FE vocational lecturers. Evidence on teacher training and CPD. Download the submission document here: UCU Submission to the Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching Learning January 2013 (.pdf) [1.2Mb]
BIS consultation on Chartered Status scheme for the Further Education Sector
Proposal to set up a panel to award chartered status to FE providers. Status awarded on providing meeting certain criteria.
UCU response: that this was largely irrelevant. Download the response document here: UCU Response - BIS Proposals to Create a Chartered Status Scheme for Further Education Institutions - January 2013 (.pdf) [342kb]
Research on FE's past
Supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the University of Exeter, a new web site opens up research from five local communities combined with policy documents on FE histories. Using the materials on this web site can foster knowledge about lifelong learning, raise awareness of the importance of continuity and change within English FE in understanding the present, shed light on the social/cultural contexts of the evolution of the sector in the last half of the 20th century, depict FE narratives in local contexts in parallel with policy developments across the sector and asks former (and current) practitioners/ managers/ students to add to the collection by recalling practice in earlier times. Visit www.fe-histories.org.uk and click on the tabs to explore the contents.
Campaigning booklet: Jobs and education - regaining the trust of young people
UCU believes that the riots of August 2011 should be a wake-up call to those who work and run education services in Britain. Further and adult education can play an essential part in winning back the trust of young people. But there must be an urgent assessment of the role of further and adult education and how it is funded. This booklet outlines current issues and offers campaigning suggestions to enable colleges and the local community to better meet the needs of our young people. Jobs and Education: regaining the trust of young people (.pdf) [400kb]
Action for ESOL
Follow the latest development in the Action for ESOL campaign here
Overview of FE issues
Further education, adult learning, workforce skills and education for 14- to 19 year-olds have become increasingly important to the nation and to the government as the influence of this crucial work on the country's economic prospects and its contribution to social cohesion have been recognised.
Further education funding is a very complex and arcane subject. Major changes in government funding policies make it even more complicated and difficult to understand.
The FE curriculum
UCU works to ensure that teaching and learning is fully valued and supported by offering information on curriculum issues and lobbying for improvements to ensure vocational qualifications are given the same status as academic qualifications.
Quality in FE
Quality in further education is a key focus for the government. As a result, a number of initiatives have been introduced to improve standards in the sector.
Governance in FE
UCU has long campaigned for open, transparent and democratic governance at all levels within further education institutions.
Key players in FE
The organisations listed on this page are among the major players involved in further education provision. They range from public sector bodies to charitable organisations and play a variety of roles.
FE fees and student support
The costs of undertaking a course at college can be high - they include not just the cost of tuition itself but also living expenses. Some students are exempt from paying tuition fees; others could be eligible for financial support or a loan.