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Taking action in higher education

Further education sector conference

UCU Congress 2012 - FE sector conference: Friday 8 June 2012

Chapter 3 of the NEC's report to UCU Congress 2012

UCU413.html | UCU413.rtf

Motions:

FE1- Pay
FE2 - Pay differentials within the FE sector and deprofessionalisation of FE
FE3 - Support for branches
FE4 - New models of teaching in FE
FE5 - Teaching observations
FE6 - Lesson observation
FE7 - Lesson observations and their increasing linkage to capability procedures
FE8 - On lesson observations
FE9 - Lesson observation policy
FE10 - OFSTED and the meaning of 'satisfactory'
FE11 - Workload
FE12 - Education cuts, pay and workload
FE13 - Workload in FE
FE14 - On excessive workloads
FE15 - Worsening contracts in FE
FE16 - Faciliites time
FE17 - Casualisation
FE18 - Encouraging activism on anti-casualisation issues in branches
FE19 - Adult and community education
FE20 - Fighting discrimination within Adult and Community Education
FE21 - UCU support for Black and minority ethnic students and community organisations
FE22 - Cuts and LGBT support in FE
FE23 - Advancing anti-homophobia work in the FE sector
FE24 - Importance of FE
FE25 - Professionalism in the LSS
FE26 - Defending educational opportunities
FE27 - Restore EMA
FE28 - Vocational qualifications
FE29 - Gender segregation and equal pay in apprenticeships
FE30 - ESOL
FE31 - ESOL, Adult and Community Learning and FE loans
FE32 - Visibility of disabled workers


FE1 Pay - Further Education Committee

Conference fully supports the UCU Charter for Pay indicating our medium and long term strategies for the FE and AE Sector.

During this pay round we will vigorously oppose any move toward regional pay bargaining and campaign for a pay award that maintains or improves lecturers' current pay levels in a period of high inflation, reasserts the demand for parity with schoolteachers' pay, and addresses the increasing levels of workload and stress.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE1A.1 Composite: Croydon College, Tower Hamlets College Poplar, Greenwich Community College

Add at end

Conference notes the intention of the NUT and NASUWT to ballot for an autumn pay campaign. Conference resolves, in the light of a derisory pay offer from the AOC, to ballot UCU members for industrial action in pursuit of our pay claim and to seek to co-ordinate action with other unions.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Conference fully supports the UCU Charter for Pay indicating our medium and long term strategies for the FE and AE Sector.

During this pay round we will vigorously oppose any move toward regional pay bargaining and campaign for a pay award that maintains or improves lecturers' current pay levels in a period of high inflation, reasserts the demand for parity with schoolteachers' pay, and addresses the increasing levels of workload and stress.

Conference notes the intention of the NUT and NASUWT to ballot for an autumn pay campaign. Conference resolves, in the light of a derisory pay offer from the AOC, to ballot UCU members for industrial action in pursuit of our pay claim and to seek to co-ordinate action with other unions.


FE2 Pay differentials within the FE sector and deprofessionalisation of FE - South East regional FE committee

FE Sector Conference notes:

  1. the continued failure of the problems of low FE pay to be addressed
  2. the continuing pay gap with other sectors of education
  3. attempts to undermine pay levels even further by deprofessionalising the workforce and introducing such posts as instructors/facilitators
  4. the increasing gap between many senior staff and main grade lecturers
  5. that FE staff work well beyond contractual hours to ensure the quality of the educational experience thus undermining their work/life balance.

FE Sector Conference instructs the FEC to develop a strategy to address these issues as a priority in the next round of pay negotiations.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE2A.1 London regional FE committee

Add after point 5 of notes:

6. government proposals to revoke the 2007 FE workforce regulations. UCU, has campaigned hard for the current level of professional entry requirements (PGCE level 6). BIS intends to replace this with entry requirements at Level 3/4.

Conference believes these proposals will:

a. deprofessionalise the workforce

b. result in a general decrease in pay scales

c. lead to variations in skills, experience and pay between institutions and location, thus fragmenting the sector and further enabling privatisation.

CARRIED

FE2A.2 Black members standing committee

Add new point 6 'black workers are disproportionately represented in lower grades and are discriminated against in terms of recruitment, promotion, career progression, job security and pay and conditions'

Add after last sentence ' The strategy to include the issues facing black workers in FE'.

CARRIED

FE2A.3 Brooklands College (was B26 Amendment to motion 14)

Add:

(a) a new paragraph after paragraph 2 - Congress also condemns the proposed revocation of the 2007 FE Teaching Regulations as stated in the Lingfield Report. Congress is concerned that revocation will lead to a loss of professionalism in the Life Long Learning Sector and therefore instructs UCU Officers to campaign for the Regulations to be retained

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

FE Sector Conference notes:

  1. the continued failure of the problems of low FE pay to be addressed
  2. the continuing pay gap with other sectors of education
  3. attempts to undermine pay levels even further by deprofessionalising the workforce and introducing such posts as instructors/facilitators
  4. the increasing gap between many senior staff and main grade lecturers
  5. that FE staff work well beyond contractual hours to ensure the quality of the educational experience thus undermining their work/life balance
  6. government proposals to revoke the 2007 FE workforce regulations. UCU, has campaigned hard for the current level of professional entry requirements (PGCE level 6). BIS intends to replace this with entry requirements at Level 3/4
  7. black workers are disproportionately represented in lower grades and are discriminated against in terms of recruitment, promotion, career progression, job security and pay and conditions.

Conference believes these proposals will:

  1. deprofessionalise the workforce
  2. result in a general decrease in pay scales
  3. lead to variations in skills, experience and pay between institutions and location, thus fragmenting the sector and further enabling privatisation.

FE Sector Conference instructs the FEC to develop a strategy to address these issues as a priority in the next round of pay negotiations. The strategy to include the issues facing black workers in FE.

Congress also condemns the proposed revocation of the 2007 FE Teaching Regulations as stated in the Lingfield Report. Congress is concerned that revocation will lead to a loss of professionalism in the Life Long Learning Sector and therefore instructs UCU Officers to campaign for the Regulations to be retained.


FE3 Support for branches - Further Education Committee

Conference fully endorse the FEC priorities to

  1. continue to organise and bargain for improvements on pay and conditions for part-time lecturing and genuine associate teaching type posts
  2. provide the maximum support to branches in organising to resist attacks on jobs, pay and contractual conditions of service.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE3A.1 Croydon College

Add final paragraph

Conference notes that attacks on jobs, pay and contractual conditions in any one workplace are likely to be replicated elsewhere. For this reason, Maximum support to branches must include spreading and escalating action to involve the wider membership in united fight backs against common issues, including strike action across the union where common cause is found.

CARRIED

FE3A.2 South East regional FE committee

Add to point 2:-

recognising the role that Regions and Regional Officers can play in co-ordinating and publicising campaigns.

CARRIED

FE3A.3 Tower Hamlets College Poplar

Add at end:

Conference notes that over 50+ branches are facing job threats. Conference believes: Campaigns are stronger when branches coordinate action. Conference resolves: to seek to coordinate industrial action for maximum impact, and call a nation-wide day of action this summer to support those branches and highlight the impact of job cuts on our members and access to education.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Conference fully endorse the FEC priorities to

  1. continue to organise and bargain for improvements on pay and conditions for part-time lecturing and genuine associate teaching type posts
  2. provide the maximum support to branches in organising to resist attacks on jobs, pay and contractual conditions of service recognising the role that Regions and Regional Officers can play in co-ordinating and publicising campaigns.

Conference notes that attacks on jobs, pay and contractual conditions in any one workplace are likely to be replicated elsewhere. For this reason, Maximum support to branches must include spreading and escalating action to involve the wider membership in united fight backs against common issues, including strike action across the union where common cause is found.

Conference notes that over 50+ branches are facing job threats. Conference believes: Campaigns are stronger when branches coordinate action. Conference resolves: to seek to coordinate industrial action for maximum impact, and call a nation-wide day of action this summer to support those branches and highlight the impact of job cuts on our members and access to education.


FE4 New models of teaching in FE - Oxford and Cherwell Valley College

Conference notes the spread of new models of delivery of teaching and learning in some FE Colleges. Essentially this involves intensive teaching for a number of weeks followed by little teaching with students undertaking assignments often in sessions which are supervised by unqualified staff. It has been claimed that this model leads to improvements in standards and inspection grades but the model also has important consequences for conditions of service and the quality of education. Conference resolves to ask UCU Head Office to undertake a survey of all FE UCU branches to see how widely these models are spreading, to produce a report on what is happening on a national basis and the implications for staff contracts and conditions of service.

CARRIED


FE5 Teaching observations - Further Education Committee

FESC notes:

  1. UCU Guidelines on Teaching Observation
  2. the inter-college conspiracy to introduce stressful, draconian observation regimes
  3. that no college has provided any evidence of the success of such methods
  4. no such recommendation by national inspection regimes
  5. that these schemes cannot possibly be developmental or supportive and their introduction without justification is bullying and harassment
  6. 'macho management' will not improve teaching quality
  7. the increasing defiance and number of Branches embarking on formal industrial action i.e. an observations boycott.

FESC commends the General Secretary and Head of Colleges for writing to AoC, 157 Group and all colleges advising them of FEC's recent resolution and UCU policy on observations.

FESC resolves that UCU will campaign against and fight this unacceptable trend at national, regional and college level and instructs the General Secretary and HQ staff to continue to provide support to local officers.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE5A.1 Anti-casualisation committee

Add point 8:

Under Ofsted's No Notice Inspection framework it is expected that 'Teachers may or may not have a lesson plan and appropriate class information available' for inspectors. Internal observations must reflect this.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

FESC notes:

  1. UCU Guidelines on Teaching Observation
  2. the inter-college conspiracy to introduce stressful, draconian observation regimes
  3. that no college has provided any evidence of the success of such methods
  4. no such recommendation by national inspection regimes
  5. that these schemes cannot possibly be developmental or supportive and their introduction without justification is bullying and harassment
  6. 'macho management' will not improve teaching quality
  7. the increasing defiance and number of Branches embarking on formal industrial action i.e. an observations boycott
  8. under Ofsted's No Notice Inspection framework it is expected that 'Teachers may or may not have a lesson plan and appropriate class information available' for inspectors. Internal observations must reflect this.

FESC commends the General Secretary and Head of Colleges for writing to AoC, 157 Group and all colleges advising them of FEC's recent resolution and UCU policy on observations.

FESC resolves that UCU will campaign against and fight this unacceptable trend at national, regional and college level and instructs the General Secretary and HQ staff to continue to provide support to local officers.


FE6 Lesson observation - Southern regional FE committee

Sector Conference supports the use of lesson observation for professional development purposes. However, we condemn its widespread abuse as a tool of bullying, harassment and dismissal of lecturers.

Conference further rejects its misuse in disciplinary and capability procedures, and in selecting individuals for redundancy. Unofficial observations disguised as learning walks, open door unannounced or repeated observations are particularly pernicious and cause unacceptable stress.

Conference calls upon the FEC to:

  1. reach national agreement with the AOC on lesson observation procedures in line with UCU policy and guidelines
  2. fully support individuals and branches who take action where lesson observation UCU guidelines are flaunted.

CARRIED


FE7 Lesson observations and their increasing linkage to capability procedures - South Tyneside College

Conference believes:

  1. that lesson observation processes inside Colleges are increasingly being used to penalise staff. This is the case at places like South Tyneside College where two consecutive grade threes leads automatically to the start of the capability procedure
  2. that lesson observations are about the variety of things that impact on learning, the lecturer being just one part of that.

Conference instructs the FE Committee to collate information on disputes on lesson observation with a view to:

  1. sharing best practice on organising success
  2. sharing bargaining objectives
  3. linking up branches in dispute
  4. establishing whether there could be regional/national coordination of disputes and action.

CARRIED


FE8 On lesson observations - Westminster Kingsway College

Conference notes that WKC UCU has resolved its 3 year dispute over lesson observations following the effective use of a boycott of such observations. We welcome the new policy statement and materials on this issue available on the UCU website and hope that they will be widely disseminated.

Conference calls on UCU regionally and nationally to continue to support branches such as City of Westminster, Southwark and Waltham Forest now engaged in similar disputes and industrial action.

CARRIED


FE9 Lesson observation policy - Southwark College

Southwark College UCU proposes that the UCU FE committee sets up a national enquiry to look at evidence of good practice in lesson observation and develop a national agreement with the association of colleges which sets a national standard for all FE colleges. The enquiry would draw on a range of evidence from educational experts and good practice in the sector.

CARRIED


FE10 OFSTED and the meaning of 'satisfactory' - Oxford and Cherwell Valley College

Conference notes that decision by OFSTED to plan changes to both the language and the reality of inspection. The term 'satisfactory' is now no longer regarded as satisfactory and a new term has been introduced - 'requires improvement'. In addition, the plan is to apply this change in the language retrospectively. Such changes in measuring success means constant changing of the goalposts and is destabilising and demoralising for staff in Colleges. Conference resolves to work with other educational unions and educationalists to campaign against these new definitions and for an inspection regime which seeks to improve the quality of education rather than simply measuring it.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE10A.1 London regional FE committee

after 'demoralising for staff in colleges':

Conference condemns Ofsted's plans for no-notice inspections without a significant alteration to its grading matrix. Because the current expectations require an unrealistic level of preparedness, no-notice inspections are likely to lead to downgradings.

Conference also notes that the recent downgradings of several colleges are symptomatic of the government's austerity measures and agenda to marginalise FE.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Conference notes that decision by OFSTED to plan changes to both the language and the reality of inspection. The term 'satisfactory' is now no longer regarded as satisfactory and a new term has been introduced - 'requires improvement'. In addition, the plan is to apply this change in the language retrospectively. Such changes in measuring success means constant changing of the goalposts and is destabilising and demoralising for staff in Colleges.

Conference condemns Ofsted's plans for no-notice inspections without a significant alteration to its grading matrix. Because the current expectations require an unrealistic level of preparedness, no-notice inspections are likely to lead to downgradings.

Conference also notes that the recent downgradings of several colleges are symptomatic of the government's austerity measures and agenda to marginalise FE.

Conference resolves to work with other educational unions and educationalists to campaign against these new definitions and for an inspection regime which seeks to improve the quality of education rather than simply measuring it.


FE11 Workload - New College Nottingham

Conference notes:

  1. the professionalism of teaching staff in our sector in an increasingly hostile environment
  2. that these teachers are suffering under the burden of a crippling workload
  3. that these workload pressures prevent teachers from carrying out their duties in a professional manner
  4. that workload pressures are a direct result of excessive teaching hours, coursework marking and administration
  5. carrying out the jobs of administrative staff allows organisations not to employ such staff
  6. a 1:1 ratio of teaching to other duties is appropriate in order to deliver quality provision.

Conference instructs the FEC to investigate the possibility of taking industrial action to reduce workload. This to include:

  1. an end to teaching staff carrying out any administrative duties that could be performed by another member of staff
  2. a reduction in teaching hours to 16 per week.

CARRIED (UNAMENDED)

FE11A.1 Coleg Gwent Newport

Remove Point 6.

Remove Point b. Add new Point b. - A reduction in weekly teaching hours to a level which allows a satisfactory work life balance but does not endanger lecturers jobs.

LOST


FE12 Education cuts, pay and workload - London regional FE committee

Conference notes:

  1. further and adult education cuts of 10-25% are planned by the Coalition in this Parliament
  2. the pay freeze, jobs cuts and increasing workloads are undermining the education we can provide, the experience of our students and the conditions of our members.

Conference believes that campaigns are stronger and more public support can be mobilised if the fight for better conditions is part of the defence of access to well-funded and resourced education for all.

Conference resolves to:

  1. call on FEC to explore ways of orchestrating a national campaign over workloads including national industrial action
  2. campaign under the slogan 'let us teach' for a reduction in contact time inside the 35 hour week, and a nationally agreed improvement in the ratio between contact and preparation time (e.g. one hour contact requires one hour preparation and marking).

CARRIED (UNAMENDED)

FE12A.1 Coleg Gwent Newport

In point b. - delete all after 'preparation time' in last line.

WITHDRAWN


FE13 Workload in FE - Strode College

FESC notes that:

  1. cuts in FE funding have led to significant increases in workload for members
  2. these cuts to FE funding will continue
  3. the AoC is party to a national agreement on FE working hours signed in November 2009, and
  4. UCU has developed resources for campaigning on workload.

FESC believes that increased workloads

  1. present a growing risk to the health and safety of members
  2. deleteriously distort the work-life balance of members
  3. result in deteriorating quality of educational provision that adversely affects the student experience, and
  4. constitute an obstacle to members' rights to participation in union activity

FESC resolves to instruct FEC:

  1. to prioritise workload as an urgent campaigning issue in FE
  2. to improve training on tackling workload, including a focus on the legal responsibilities of college management under Health and Safety legislation, and
  3. to oversee the development of online tools for members to evidence increasing workloads.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE13A.1 Women members standing committee

At the end of point b add

'with a particular impact on part-time workers, especially women, who make up the majority of the part-time workforce.'

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

FESC notes that:

  1. cuts in FE funding have led to significant increases in workload for members
  2. these cuts to FE funding will continue
  3. the AoC is party to a national agreement on FE working hours signed in November 2009, and
  4. UCU has developed resources for campaigning on workload.

FESC believes that increased workloads

  1. present a growing risk to the health and safety of members
  2. deleteriously distort the work-life balance of members with a particular impact on part-time workers, especially women, who make up the majority of the part-time workforce
  3. result in deteriorating quality of educational provision that adversely affects the student experience, and
  4. constitute an obstacle to members' rights to participation in union activity

FESC resolves to instruct FEC:

  1. to prioritise workload as an urgent campaigning issue in FE
  2. to improve training on tackling workload, including a focus on the legal responsibilities of college management under Health and Safety legislation, and
  3. to oversee the development of online tools for members to evidence increasing workloads.

FE14 On excessive workloads - Westminster Kingsway

Conference notes there is evidence that:

  1. since incorporation, reduction of funding for the FE sector, cuts in support staff, casualisation, the extended use of IT and repeated restructurings of management , main-grade lecturer workloads have increased considerably (with examples ranging from putting out desks for exams to duplicating marking etc online)
  2. lecturers are regularly working significantly in excess of their contracted hours
  3. excessive workloads can be a contributory factor to management bullying and stress, have a serious impact on the health of lecturers and undermine the quality of teaching and learning.

Conference mandates the executive to:

  1. commission thorough updated research into the current patterns of lecturer workloads
  2. use any findings in a renewed campaign to reduce excessive work among lecturers and opposition to cuts in staffing across the FE sector.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE14A.1 Disabled members standing committee

Insert point 4

'disabled members who have secured or need to request reasonable adjustments to be made to their workloads are increasingly under pressure to forgo this right with a detrimental impact on their health'.

At the end of point a) add 'the research to include how excessive workloads are impacting on disabled members health and rights at work'.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Conference notes there is evidence that:

  1. since incorporation, reduction of funding for the FE sector, cuts in support staff, casualisation, the extended use of IT and repeated restructurings of management , main-grade lecturer workloads have increased considerably (with examples ranging from putting out desks for exams to duplicating marking etc online)
  2. lecturers are regularly working significantly in excess of their contracted hours
  3. excessive workloads can be a contributory factor to management bullying and stress, have a serious impact on the health of lecturers and undermine the quality of teaching and learning
  4. disabled members who have secured or need to request reasonable adjustments to be made to their workloads are increasingly under pressure to forgo this right with a detrimental impact on their health.

Conference mandates the executive to:

  1. commission thorough updated research into the current patterns of lecturer workloads, the research to include how excessive workloads are impacting on disabled members health and rights at work
  2. use any findings in a renewed campaign to reduce excessive work among lecturers and opposition to cuts in staffing across the FE sector.

FE15 Worsening contracts in FE - Yorkshire and Humberside regional FE committee

Conference notes the growing employers' offensive on FE contracts and the drive towards unlimited flexibility.

Conference believes:

  1. that especially at a time of recession post-16 education should attract major new investment to address the scandal of mass youth unemployment, access to re-training for mature students, and so on
  2. the attacks on contracts are the result of a target-driven business ethos which is inimical to genuine educational principles.

Conference notes the impact of worsening contracts on increasing workloads; worsening of the work-life balance; job losses; lack of respect for lecturers' professionalism; threats to educational quality; reduction of course provision; increasing opportunities for management bullying; rising casualisation.

Conference resolves:

  1. to recognise the potential for a race to the bottom on our contracts
  2. to treat local disputes over contracts as 'local disputes of national significance' and to encourage resistance and offer union resources appropriately.

CARRIED


FE16 Facilities time - Newcastle College

Conference believes that UCU should seek a new national agreement on minimum levels of facilities time for representatives. Examples of the value offered to employers include; agreeing a phased return for an employee coming back after long term sickness, reduction in tribunal legal fees by intervening early and avoiding legal action and increasing safety and well-being thereby reducing staff absence. Employers must pay for this and many do not.

A minimum of 0.5 days should be granted to all branches with further 0.5 days for every 100 members in the branch. Time can be shared by the branch amongst its committee. It is imperative that an agreement with employers is sought quickly, before the government passes further anti trade union legislation.

WITHDRAWN

FE16A.1 Anti-casualisation committee

After first sentence, add: ', including representatives on casualised contracts.'


FE17 Casualisation - Barnsley College

This conference notes:

  1. the increasingly widespread use of casual, variable hours contracts in FE Colleges
  2. the use of staff on inferior 'support' contracts to deliver classroom teaching
  3. the devaluation of teaching when staff are paid on a lower rate and not given a permanent contract.
  4. the pressure on permanent lecturers to act as managers of variable hours staff.

Conference resolves:

  1. to undertake a national survey of FE College branches to identify the extent of the problem.
  2. to use the results of the survey to launch a national campaign on the issue of casualisation
  3. to encourage and support branches in campaigning and taking action on the issue
  4. to work with local UNISON representatives to implement the National Spheres of Influence Agreement.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE17A.1 Women members standing committee

Insert after point 4

'5. The disparate impact of increased casualisation of women members.'

Insert new point b and renumber remaining points:

b. to ensure that this survey is designed to capture any disparate race and/or gender impact.

At the end of the new point c (existing point b) add 'highlighting the impact on women and black women.'

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

This conference notes:

  1. the increasingly widespread use of casual, variable hours contracts in FE Colleges
  2. the use of staff on inferior 'support' contracts to deliver classroom teaching
  3. the devaluation of teaching when staff are paid on a lower rate and not given a permanent contract.
  4. the pressure on permanent lecturers to act as managers of variable hours staff
  5. the disparate impact of increased casualisation of women members.

Conference resolves:

  1. to undertake a national survey of FE College branches to identify the extent of the problem
  2. to ensure that this survey is designed to capture any disparate race and/or gender impact
  3. to use the results of the survey to launch a national campaign on the issue of casualisation
  4. to encourage and support branches in campaigning and taking action on the issue
  5. to work with local UNISON representatives to implement the National Spheres of Influence Agreement.

FE18 Encouraging activism on anti-casualisation issues in branches Anti-casualisation committee

Conference calls on the FEC to encourage activism on anti-casualisation issues in FE branches with the ACC, by:

  1. encouraging branches to have 'activism on anti-casualisation' issues on the agenda of at least one branch general meeting during 2012 - 2013
  2. agreeing funds so that members of the ACC, other anti-casualisation activist members and officials can travel to and speak at those meetings
  3. disseminating anti-casualisation materials relevant to FE,  e.g. hourly paid survival guides, at these meetings
  4. asking activists and others to write articles in UC that speak directly to grassroots activists fighting on hourly paid issues in FE and Adult Education, who may or may not be in touch with their branch committees
  5. finalising the training sessions on anti-casualisation issues, ensuring they have content suitable for FE members, and advertising them in the campaigns update, with encouragement to members to self-register for them (space permitting).

CARRIED


FE19 Adult and Community Education - Anti-casualisation committee

Many lecturers in Adult and Community Education (ACE) are part-time, hourly paid and casual workers. Zero hours contracts are common. Staff often work long distances from their main workplace in various buildings, including community centres, with few on-site resources and facilities in comparison to recognised training Centres or Colleges.

Casual staff in ACE often miss out on opportunities for:

  1. progression
  2. networking
  3. training and development
  4. attending meetings and briefings

Most staff in ACE experience low pay, earning less pay than they should get for their actual hours of work, and have their hours cut at short notice.

Congress therefore calls upon the FEC to:

  1. prepare a statement and briefing material for negotiators on terms and conditions in ACE
  2. carry out a dedicated recruitment campaign within ACE to recruit and organise more workers.

CARRIED


FE20 Fighting discrimination within Adult and Community Education (ACE) - Black members standing committee

Conference notes that Adult and Community Education has been subjected to massive cuts, resulting in disadvantages for staff, students and communities:

  1. Black and minority ethnic (BME) staff are disproportionately represented ACE and in zero hours, hourly paid, part-time, fixed term, agency and temporary contracts in FE
  2. BME staff are often paid less, have less opportunities for training and development, progression, access to mainstream facilities, and are often asked to work within the community without adequate support and facilities
  3. BME staff are often isolated and are expected to work more than their paid hours.

Conference instructs the UCU to:

  1. campaign vigorously against zero hours and casual contracts, discrimination against BME staff at the workplace, negotiate employee status in their contracts, guarantee the correct rates of pay and fair process in the allocation of work and contracts
  2. involve students and communities in the defence of ACE.

CARRIED


FE21 UCU support for Black and minority ethnic students and community organisations - Black members standing committee

Conference recognises the importance of BME community organisations including those involved in:

  1. fighting racism, fascism bullying, harassment, stereotyping and lack of access to courses due to cuts, unaffordable fees, and changes in Education Maintenance Grants
  2. seeking to provide relevant courses and support to enable all BME students to achieve their highest potential and to secure progression to university and employment
  3. tackling the many disadvantages faced by Black people due to massive unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Conference calls upon the UCU to:

  1. support BME community groups fighting for equality, access to courses and resources and increase level of grants
  2. affiliate to BME organisations nominated by the BMSC and join in campaigns to empower BME students and communities, and
  3. positively encourage Black activists within the UCU and the community to set up networks to promote education, membership of the UCU and community empowerment.

CARRIED


FE22 Cuts and LGBT support in FE - LGBT members standing committee

Conference notes:

  1. decreasing access to education through EMA removal. Rising tuition fees and loans for FE courses can only exacerbate this.
  2. due to homophobic bullying at school many LGBT students participate in FE and are disproportionately affected by increased barriers to participation
  3. strong evidence that LGBT people generally are hit disproportionately by austerity measures. Yet most cuts have still to be implemented
  4. support organisations report rapidly increasing referrals due to rising unemployment, homelessness and stress.

Conference calls on FEC to support branches and equality reps in:

  1. pressing management to monitor their staff and students in regard to sexual orientation and gender identity
  2. insisting that employers clearly evidence how they have due regard for equality in policies and practices
  3. ensuring that LGBT interests and concerns are raised through training and awareness events
  4. ensuring that all staff are made aware of LGBT support organisations.

CARRIED


FE23 Advancing anti-homophobia work in the FE sector - LGBT members standing committee

Noting the Skills Funding Agency research into the experience of LGB and T students in adult education (2011), Conference recognises that LGB and T people continue to have less favourable experience of FE, though the situation is improving. Conference welcomes the growth of work to advance work against homophobia in recent years whilst calling on FEC to promote research, events, and opportunities to further advance LGBT equality through all branches.

Conference calls on FEC to:

  1. through training and briefings ensure that branches are supported in securing robust inclusion of anti-homophobic bullying and promotion of LGBT equality within induction and training programmes
  2. encourage systematic research and data collection in relation to ill-treatment on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in FECs
  3. promote research findings in order to promote work that advances LGBT equality in all areas of Further Education.

CARRIED


FE24 Importance of FE - South East regional FE committee

FE Sector Conference notes the increasing importance of post-16 education and training during the current recession and the importance of FE to the provision of second chance education as well as provision that address divisions in society particularly gender, class, race and disability.

FE Sector Conference instructs UCU to mount a campaign that highlights the importance of post-16 education to secure a commitment by this and future governments to properly funded post-16 education and training.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE24A.1 New College Nottingham

Add second paragraph:

Conference further notes with concern the rise of organisations committed to greater private sector involvement in FE (notably Gazelle) and the potential consequent undermining of the provision and funding arrangements outlined in the first paragraph.

Add at end:

and instructs the FEC to investigate any organisations such as Gazelle to determine whether and to what extent their aims are at variance with UCU policy and write to branches with appropriate advice.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

FE Sector Conference notes the increasing importance of post-16 education and training during the current recession and the importance of FE to the provision of second chance education as well as provision that address divisions in society particularly gender, class, race and disability.

Conference further notes with concern the rise of organisations committed to greater private sector involvement in FE (notably Gazelle) and the potential consequent undermining of the provision and funding arrangements outlined in the first paragraph.

FE Sector Conference instructs UCU to mount a campaign that highlights the importance of post-16 education to secure a commitment by this and future governments to properly funded post-16 education and training and instructs the FEC to investigate any organisations such as Gazelle to determine whether and to what extent their aims are at variance with UCU policy and write to branches with appropriate advice.


FE25 Professionalism in the LLS - North West regional FE sector committee

Conference calls on FEC to lead a national debate on professionalism.

The LLS remains the most regulated in teaching. Conference condemns the IfL for failing in its role to develop a progressive debate; instead it has promoted professionalism as a narrow set of codes to control behaviour. Conference also recognises a similar failure by Ofsted where it has failed to stand outside this narrow view of the teacher's professional role.

Conference believes that it is teachers who put teaching and learning before the needs of the market and re-valuing the professional role of the teacher is essential to challenge the continued marketisation and managerialism in the sector.

Conference instructs FEC to organise a national conference in academic year 2012-13 to draw together key aspects of the debate, to construct a progressive campaign that places professional autonomy at its heart and produce a report to circulate to branches and more widely.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE25A.1 Composite: Chesterfield College, South East regional FE committee, North West regional FE sector committee, Further Education Committee , West Midlands regional FE committee

Add a new paragraph after paragraph 2:

Conference congratulates all those members who have observed the boycott of the IfL and welcomes the fact that, through this continued action, UCU was able to secure a wide ranging review of IfL's functions and the removal of compulsory membership. This was a campaign born from the grass roots and such grass roots campaigns can lead to increased membership and more effective collective responses.

Insert a new paragraph before 'Conference instructs':

Conference believes that students should have the best experience possible within the LLS and that investment in teachers is needed to achieve this. Conference recognises the value of CPD and scholarly activity. All those teaching in FE should as of right be entitled to high quality CPD which places the professional learner at the centre of the process and be afforded sufficient time and resources to undertake the necessary subject research and reflective activities. Conference calls on the FEC to campaign to ensure an entitlement to ITE and CPD and negotiate an agreement with the AoC that will provide adequate funding and time off.

Insert new penultimate paragraph:

Fully qualified lecturers are essential to the delivery of high quality learning programmes. Conference restates the necessity of having a requirement that newly appointed lecturers should have or obtain an appropriate FE teaching qualification recognised nationally by employers, government and trade unions. Conference calls on employers to fully support such staff financially and with appropriate time to study.

CARRIED

FE25A.2 Disabled members standing committee

After paragraph 3 ending 'managerialism in the sector' and before paragraph 4 beginning 'Conference instructs FEC' insert new paragraph:

Conference additionally reaffirms its commitment to a progressive conception of professionalism that advances a community of practice over an imposed, undemocratic model.  Such a community of practice would explicitly recognise the overwhelming evidence of inequality of access to meaningful, developmental CPD particularly for women, BME, LGBT, disabled, part time and casualised lecturers in the sector.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Conference calls on FEC to lead a national debate on professionalism.

The LLS remains the most regulated in teaching. Conference condemns the IfL for failing in its role to develop a progressive debate; instead it has promoted professionalism as a narrow set of codes to control behaviour. Conference also recognises a similar failure by Ofsted where it has failed to stand outside this narrow view of the teacher's professional role.

Conference congratulates all those members who have observed the boycott of the IfL and welcomes the fact that, through this continued action, UCU was able to secure a wide ranging review of IfL's functions and the removal of compulsory membership. This was a campaign born from the grass roots and such grass roots campaigns can lead to increased membership and more effective collective responses.

Conference believes that it is teachers who put teaching and learning before the needs of the market and re-valuing the professional role of the teacher is essential to challenge the continued marketisation and managerialism in the sector.

Conference believes that students should have the best experience possible within the LLS and that investment in teachers is needed to achieve this. Conference recognises the value of CPD and scholarly activity. All those teaching in FE should as of right be entitled to high quality CPD which places the professional learner at the centre of the process and be afforded sufficient time and resources to undertake the necessary subject research and reflective activities. Conference calls on the FEC to campaign to ensure an entitlement to ITE and CPD and negotiate an agreement with the AoC that will provide adequate funding and time off.

Fully qualified lecturers are essential to the delivery of high quality learning programmes. Conference restates the necessity of having a requirement that newly appointed lecturers should have or obtain an appropriate FE teaching qualification recognised nationally by employers, government and trade unions. Conference calls on employers to fully support such staff financially and with appropriate time to study.

Conference additionally reaffirms its commitment to a progressive conception of professionalism that advances a community of practice over an imposed, undemocratic model.  Such a community of practice would explicitly recognise the overwhelming evidence of inequality of access to meaningful, developmental CPD particularly for women, BME, LGBT, disabled, part time and casualised lecturers in the sector.

Conference instructs FEC to organise a national conference in academic year 2012-13 to draw together key aspects of the debate, to construct a progressive campaign that places professional autonomy at its heart and produce a report to circulate to branches and more widely.


FE26 Defending educational opportunities - North West regional FE committee

Conference is concerned that the sector is moving away from education and towards narrow training. The content of the Curriculum has increased, as the level of teaching has been reduced. Conference believes that this will have a serious impact on UCU members and to the 'quality' of the qualifications gained at FE. To ignore or co-operate with this process, is to condone this movement from education to 'function', which seriously attacks our profession and undermines the access of FE students to higher education.

Conference calls on the FEC to:

  1. expose colleges (and other providers) that offer education on the cheap by re-classifying teaching as 'assessing', 'advising' or 'instructing'
  2. approach awarding bodies to critically review the trends and the impact of the reduction of GLHs
  3. link to a general campaign to defend the quality of FE and so defend opportunities for a 'real' education for working class students.

CARRIED


FE27 Restore EMA - Blackburn College

Access to Education is a right that should be available to all members of society regardless of their economic and social status or origin.   It should NOT be predicated on a student's ability or willingness to pay and neither should education be treated as if it were a business, open to 'market forces'.

Since EMA was scrapped, supporting access to education for low income students in economically challenged areas has rested upon FE Colleges, with packages being offered from money that should be going into books, facilities and places on courses.  The 'free market' model  this government seeks to perpetuate is a scandal, valuing market forces over mechanisms to make education open and accessible to everyone.

Conference resolves to continue the UCU campaign to make the Government re-introduce universal financial support for entrants to education, in particular to support the future economic development of deprived areas.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE27A.1 North West regional FE sector committee

Add to end:

Conference calls on the FEC to work with the NUS to encourage students to be active in FE Colleges and to work with NUS to campaign for increased access to financial support.

CARRIED


FE28 Vocational qualifications - Yorkshire and Humberside regional FE committee

Following the publication of the Wolfe Report and the Government's recent decision to reduce the comparative value of selected vocational qualifications such as the diploma in Engineering.

This conference recognises the hypocrisy of a Government that states its intention to increase employment opportunities for young people, whilst devaluing respected vocational qualifications that provide access to real jobs, at a time when 1.04 million 16 - 24 year olds are unemployed.

This conference recognises the difference between academic and vocational study and the societal need for both.

This conference resolves to uphold both the spirit and the practice of 'parity of esteem' with regard to academic and vocational pathways and actively work towards a realistic system of metrics to ensure a true understanding of every qualification's worth.

CARRIED


FE29 Gender segregation and equal pay in apprenticeships - Women members standing committee

Conference notes with concern that evidence continues to support gender inequalities in education and training, particularly in the area of apprenticeships.

The Apprenticeships Pay Survey shows that girls are paid less than boys.  Hourly pay analysis reveals stark gender inequalities: electrotechnical apprentices (1% female) mean rate of pay: £6.95 compared to hairdressing (8% male) £3.38. Alarmingly large numbers of apprentices are never paid for overtime and this too is gendered: 5% electrotechnical apprentices are never paid compared to 59% in hairdressing.

There is no evidence that government intends to focus on issues of gendered segregation or inequalities in pay.

Conference calls on the FEC to work with other unions to identify an apprenticeships strategy for change that includes:

  1. improved careers advice
  2. better role models and positive images of women in industry.
  3. equality training for employers
  4. mentoring and support
  5. access to flexible working.

CARRIED  AS AMENDED

FE29A.1 Black members standing committee

Add new point 6: ensures the issues facing black apprentices in terms of access to apprenticeships, continued support and the difficulties of securing jobs with equal pay are included in the strategy.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Conference notes with concern that evidence continues to support gender inequalities in education and training, particularly in the area of apprenticeships.

The Apprenticeships Pay Survey shows that girls are paid less than boys.  Hourly pay analysis reveals stark gender inequalities: electrotechnical apprentices (1% female) mean rate of pay: £6.95 compared to hairdressing (8% male) £3.38. Alarmingly large numbers of apprentices are never paid for overtime and this too is gendered: 5% electrotechnical apprentices are never paid compared to 59% in hairdressing.

There is no evidence that government intends to focus on issues of gendered segregation or inequalities in pay.

Conference calls on the FEC to work with other unions to identify an apprenticeships strategy for change that includes:

  1. improved careers advice
  2. better role models and positive images of women in industry.
  3. equality training for employers
  4. mentoring and support
  5. access to flexible working
  6. ensures the issues facing black apprentices in terms of access to apprenticeships, continued support and the difficulties of securing jobs with equal pay are included in the strategy.

FE30 ESOL - Lambeth College

Conference congratulates Action for ESOL on its successful campaign to reverse recent funding changes for ESOL students.

Conference instructs the FEC to continue to support the Action for ESOL campaign and to:

  1. campaign for fee remission to include those on low income, spouses on visas and asylum seekers
  2. promote the ESOL manifesto through all national UCU networks and print additional copies as necessary
  3. encourage branches and regions to invite AfE speakers; encourage UCU members to be active in the campaign.
  4. provide support in those colleges where UCU members are prevented from participating in the Action for ESOL campaign
  5. lobby parliament to ensure that ESOL remains protected in the forthcoming switch to Universal Benefits
  6. lobby the government over the Skills Funding Agency's decision to alter funding for ESOL qualifications in September 2012, and ensure that ESOL remains a distinct curriculum area with ESOL accreditation.

CARRIED


FE31 Composite: ESOL, Adult and Community Learning and FE loans - London regional FE committee, Lambeth College

Conference condemns the plans by the coalition govt. to introduce FE loans at level 3 and above in September 2013, in the context of fees increases by colleges, and condemns the plans to make cuts to provision in ESOL, Adult and Community Learning.

Conference believes:

  1. that Adult and Community Education plays an essential role in the well-being and social cohesion of communities.
  2. that the introduction of FE loans will have a devastating effect on Adult Education and in particular those wishing to gain entry to HE via Access courses, of which 70% are women and who will be hit twice by loans, first in FE and then again in HE.

Conference instructs the FEC to

  1. continue to support the Action for ESOL campaign and its demands
  2. launch a campaign to develop resistance to the introduction of FE loans. This campaign to include raising awareness within UCU, encouraging members to take action, and joining with other bodies in lobbying the government against the proposed changes.

CARRIED


FE32 Visibility of disabled workers - Disabled members standing committee

The public sector equality duty requires colleges to publish equality data relating to staff which then informs the equality objectives. This Conference is concerned that many members with an impairment do not disclose for various reasons which makes the data on disabled workers poor.  A higher rate of disclosure will also strengthen negotiations on the FE national guidance on disability equality.

This Conference call upon the Further Education Committee to

  1. disseminate the new guidelines on disclosing a disability to branches
  2. encourage branches to hold meetings of disabled members to identify ways to create a culture of disclosure within the college
  3. encourage branches to raise the issue of disclosure as part of local negotiations on the nationally agreed guidance on disability equality
  4. work with the Disabled Members Standing Committee on the impact of the new Public Sector Equality Duty on furthering disabled workers rights at work.

CARRIED

Last updated: 8 June 2012