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Taking action in higher education

UCU urges new PM to back education rhetoric with action

27 June 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Ahead of Gordon Brown becoming prime minister later today, UCU urged the former chancellor to back up his consistent warm words on the importance of education through coherent policy and increased investment.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Gordon Brown has made very encouraging noises about education in the past. Only last week he was identifying increased investment in education to ensure the country could succeed in the global economy and he rightly identified that high standards require excellent teaching.

'In order to recruit and retain the very best teachers we need to ensure their pay and conditions are competitive. All politicians tell us that education is a priority - some repeated the mantra three times. However, rhetoric can never support our institutions or fund research, we need clear commitments that the UK is not prepared to be left behind, and see that as a key challenge for the new prime minister.

'A good way to demonstrate his commitment to Britain's universities would be to bring us up to a competitive level of funding for higher education.

'Further Education needs adequate resources to fulfil its key role in developing the nation's skills while keeping adult education diverse and accessible. The funding gap between schools and further education colleges needs to be closed and the pay of college lecturers must be raised to the level of school teachers.'

Public funding for higher education as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lower in the UK than the United States and lower than the OECD and European averages:

  • United States 1.2
  • OECD average 1.1
  • European average 1.1
  • United Kingdom 0.8