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Education motions

UCU Congress 2021: online, Saturday 29 May 2021

Motions have been allocated to a section of the NEC's report to Congress (UCU1080). Paragraph headings refer to paragraphs within this report. (EP = existing policy.)

Section 4: Education committee

1  Education campaigning and policy - National executive committee (EP)

Congress notes UCU's significant influence on public policy across all UK nations and welcomes the work of the education committee during 2020-21, noting in particular its continued role in:

  1. pushing for fairer approaches to assessment and higher education admissions
  2. improving protections for academic freedom
  3. responding to the climate crisis

Congress recognises that the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and the government's proposals around free speech have all created significant challenges for post-16 educators, and that we need to end marketisation and build a transformative, publicly funded education system that is fully inclusive and accessible to all.

Congress therefore calls on the Education Committee to further develop its work on engaging members in:

  1. responding to the challenges around digital teaching and learning
  2. tackling the threats which marketisation and managerialism pose to academic freedom and professional autonomy
  3. campaigning for inclusive lifelong learning which moves beyond the 'skills for jobs' agenda.

Carried

2  Defend the arts - National executive committee

Congress notes:

The UK government has announced a 50% funding cut to all arts subjects at higher education level in England. According to the Office for Students the subjects that will have their funding reduced by 50% include: 'music, dance, drama and performing arts; art and design; media studies; and archaeology.'

This will not only seriously impact on the jobs of UCU members, it will cause irreparable damage to the arts and culture industries for years to come, and will reverse decades of work done to democratise arts education and inclusivity.

Congress resolves to:

  1. support and build a national day of action
  2. approach other arts unions and organisations to work with us to build a campaign to fight these cuts, raise the visibility of arts institutions in dispute and examines ways to decolonise the arts and 'bargain for the common good.

    Carried

3  Attacks on the arts and humanities - University of Sussex

Congress notes:

  1. cuts to the T-Grant for C1 price group subjects (performing arts, creative arts, media studies and archaeology) publicised by DfE as cuts to the Arts and Humanities
  2. a pattern of redundancies clustered around arts and humanities subjects
  3. ministers criticising the arts and humanities for 'rewriting history' and 'doing Britain down'
  4. a government vision of the arts and humanities as impracticable and unprofitable, elitist and outdated.

Congress believes:

  1. C1 T-Grant cuts should not be celebrated
  2. arts and humanities subjects have been made unprofitable as a result of policy, not because they are impracticable, elitist or outdated
  3. attacks on the comprehensive university damage efforts to widen participation
  4. ministers have not listened, or, more charitably, have not been made to listen.

Congress resolves to:

  1. develop a campaign against attacks on the arts and humanities.
  2. to align this with campaigns against redundancies
  3. to coordinate and ally with like-minded organisations, and institutions.

    Carried as amended

3A.1 South East regional committee

Add: 'and colleges' to believes point c after 'university'

add: 'and cuts in widening participation' to resolves point ii after 'redundancies'and add: 'including professional bodies, arts trade unions (Equity, MU, BECTU etc.) and students' to resolves point iii at the end after 'institutions'.

Carried

Substantive motion

Congress notes:

  1. cuts to the T-Grant for C1 price group subjects (performing arts, creative arts, media studies and archaeology) publicised by DfE as cuts to the Arts and Humanities
  2. a pattern of redundancies clustered around arts and humanities subjects
  3. ministers criticising the arts and humanities for 'rewriting history' and 'doing Britain down'
  4. a government vision of the arts and humanities as impracticable and unprofitable, elitist and outdated.

Congress believes:

  1. C1 T-Grant cuts should not be celebrated
  2. arts and humanities subjects have been made unprofitable as a result of policy, not because they are impracticable, elitist or outdated
  3. attacks on the comprehensive university and colleges damage efforts to widen participation
  4. ministers have not listened, or, more charitably, have not been made to listen.

Congress resolves to:

  1. develop a campaign against attacks on the arts and humanities.
  2. to align this with campaigns against redundancies and cuts in widening participation
  3. to coordinate and ally with like-minded organisations, and institutions including professional bodies, arts trade unions (Equity, MU, BECTU etc.) and students.
Last updated: 15 June 2021