Further education sector conference

UCU Congress 2013 - FE sector conference: Wednesday 29 May 2013

Chapter 3 of the NEC's report to UCU Congress 2013:
UCU491.html | UCU491.rtf

Motions:

FE1 - Pay
FE2 - FE Pay
FE3 - Pay offer
FE4 - Pay and conditions
FE5 - FE sector pay cuts
FE6 - Sick pay
FE7 - Linked employment policies
FE8 - Ensuring equality for disabled workers
FE9 - Challenging Islamaphobia
FE10 - Advancing sexual orientation and gender identity equality in further education
FE11 - Recruitment and organisation of casualised staff in further education
FE12 - Lesson observation
FE13 - FE workloads
FE14 - Governance in FE
FE15 - FE Funding
FE16 - FE funding mechanisms
FE17 - Funding, recruitment, fees and loans
FE18 - Women students in FE - the hardest hit
FE19 - In defence of ESOL
FE20 - Gazelle
FE21 - Oppose the academisation of 16-19 education
FE22 - Abolish Ofsted
FE23 - Representation and recruitment of staff in adult and community education
FE24 - FE guild and teaching qualifications
FE25 - FE guild
FE26 - Prison education - funding, pay and conditions  


FE1 Pay - Westminster Kingsway College

Conference notes:

  1. Over the last 4 years the value of FE lecturers pay has been cut by 13.7% and the gap between our pay and that of school teachers is increasing once again
  2. Funding cuts are resulting in unprecedented job losses; workloads are increasing; our professionalism is under attack from hostile observation and inspection regime; pensions are being undermined; the demands on FE are rising as young people and workers feel the effects of the austerity policies
  3. College employers are making a historic bid to drive down the value of our pay and erode our terms and conditions of service.

Conference believes UCU members are willing to fight to defend our pay, conditions and post 16 education.

Conference resolves to ballot for national strike action in the event of an unsatisfactory pay offer from employers at the first negotiating meeting on 24 April.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE1A.1 Further Education Committee

In the final sentence, delete 'from employers at the first negotiating meeting on 24 April' and add a full stop after 'offer'.

Add new sentence:

'This ballot will take place as near as possible to the beginning of October'.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes:

  1. Over the last 4 years the value of FE lecturers pay has been cut by 13.7% and the gap between our pay and that of school teachers is increasing once again
  2. Funding cuts are resulting in unprecedented job losses; workloads are increasing; our professionalism is under attack from hostile observation and inspection regime; pensions are being undermined; the demands on FE are rising as young people and workers feel the effects of the austerity policies
  3. College employers are making a historic bid to drive down the value of our pay and erode our terms and conditions of service.

Conference believes UCU members are willing to fight to defend our pay, conditions and post 16 education.

Conference resolves to ballot for national strike action in the event of an unsatisfactory pay offer. This ballot will take place as near as possible to the beginning of October.


FE2 FE Pay - Further Education Committee

Conference notes:

  1. Since August 2009 prices have risen 15.5% (RPI Feb13)
  2. Average pay for FE lecturers has gone up just .9% in that time
  3. This is a real pay cut of 14.6%
  4. Lecturers on point 4 of the pay scale are £4290 worse off and on point 8 it is a real cut of £5125
  5. FE lecturers continue to be paid on average 5.7% less than school teachers

Conference further notes the Lingfield report, Professionalism in Further Education and its findings:

"the average salaries of FE staff, relative to their counterparts in schools and universities, appear to have declined substantially over time, and particularly sharply so in the last decade."

And that this is "undesirable from the point of view of staff retention in FE"

Conference supports this year's joint union claim of a 5% increase and continued campaigning in support of improved pay in FE.

CARRIED


FE3 Pay offer - Croydon College

Congress notes the derisory pay offer made by the AOC on 24 April 2013. Congress rejects the offer as wholly inadequate. Congress is concerned at the suggestion that any offer is conditional upon 'a willingness to engage in discussions regarding local approaches to incremental pay progression.' Congress resolves that incremental pay progression should be subject to national agreement.

CARRIED


FE4 Pay and conditions - Southern regional FE committee

FESC is gravely concerned that, despite a shocking reduction in real terms pay in recent years, combined with widespread deterioration in conditions of employment, no national industrial action has taken place to address these trends.

FESC believes that it is vital that this union actively protects the pay and conditions of members and hence the quality of educational provision, as the fundamental purpose of the union.

Therefore FESC instructs FEC to:

  1. actively campaign for a pay catch-up
  2. find more effective ways in which our industrial organisation can resist government policy on privatisation and marketisation of FE, which is driving down conditions of service.

CARRIED


FE5 FE sector pay cuts - Middlesbrough College

FE Sector Conference acknowledges that in this time of austerity, college management are under great financial pressure. However, we note that some colleges in the region have threatened pay cuts of up to a third for lecturing staff, even though the college is making a profit. We believe that this is both unwarranted and unethical and shows that some colleges do not value the contribution of their staff. Conference calls on FEC to mount a campaign against such activities on both a national and a regional basis.

CARRIED


FE6 Sick pay - Oxford and Cherwell Valley College

Conference notes the decision of the AoC to give notice of withdrawal from the national agreement on sick pay. This signals a likely attempt to reduce sick pay entitlement by individual colleges. Already examples can be seen in attempts to reduce entitlement to full pay for staff on phased return to work with staff just being offered reduced pay based on hours. Lecturing staff already feel under huge pressure to come to work when they are unwell. Reduction of sick pay will compound the problem. Use of crude measures, such as the Bradford index, to judge absence rates and then threaten capability procedures are adding to stress levels. Conference calls upon FEC nationally and FE branches to resist reductions in sick pay entitlements.

CARRIED


FE7 Linked employment policies - Southern regional FE committee

Sector Conference deplores the increasing tendency for colleges to seek to link together employment policies, eg. policies on sick pay, attendance management and appraisal are being linked to capability. This increasing link means appraisal and other staff processes can be used to punish staff by requiring attendance at training sessions. This will inhibit open discussion of professional development and personal needs as staff fear the consequences of declaring support needs. UCU FE sector and branches need to resist such moves and insist that policies are separate and discrete and that appropriate policies are used in appropriate contexts.

CARRIED


FE8 Ensuring equality for disabled workers - Disabled members standing committee

A new national equality agreement, circulated to FE colleges, has been signed by UCU, sister unions and the AoC. The agreement has been prioritised by the Further Education Committee (FEC) and its main aims are of creating an inclusive environment fee from discrimination. The document provides detailed guidance with regard to supporting disabled members at work including the new duties on employers such as not asking questions about disability and health prior to appointment unless it supports the interview process and also encourages colleges to have disability leave agreements.

Branches are urged to utilise UCU guidance and advice on the website; prioritise promoting the model agreement with employers; persuade the employer to adopt it; and agree implementation and review. In addition Conference calls on FEC to support branches and, critically, monitor progress and report on implementation to the FEC.

CARRIED


FE9 Challenging Islamophobia - Black members standing committee

The coalition government has re-written the Prevent agenda, as part of the anti-terrorism policy formulated by the Labour government in order to tackle 'extremism'. What lies at the heart of this policy in FE is monitoring our Muslim students to determine whether they are inclined towards 'extremist' views and not behaving 'normally'. The Prevent agenda could potentially lead to our members spying on our learners, promoting discriminatory practice towards Muslim learners.

Conference believes that the Prevent agenda is discriminatory towards Muslims and legitimises Islamophobia, encouraging racist and fascist organisations such as the English Defence League and British National Party

Conference resolves to:

  1. write to FE branches and collate information on whether their institutions are implementing the Prevent agenda
  2. actively campaign in co-operation with the BMSC against the use of the racist and divisive Prevent agenda at FE colleges and for its repeal.

CARRIED


FE10 Advancing sexual orientation and gender identity equality in further education - LGBT members standing committee

Conference notes and supports the work of UCU, other unions, sector agencies, and the Forum in advancing sexual orientation and gender identity equality in FE. Conference notes that as savage government cuts affect the FE sector some of the national agencies that have led in making equality advances have met with closure. At the moment it is unclear how, or whether, there will be any lead for equality nationally within a new structure. Conferences calls on the FEC to:

  1. Lobby for clear commitment to the advancement of equality, including LGBT, within the new structure for FE nationally
  2. Promote LGBT history month and the forthcoming LGBT history resources through mailings and briefings.
  3. Through support and training for local reps organise locally for full implementation of the AoC and Unions equality agreement

CARRIED


FE11 Recruitment and organisation of casualised staff in further education - Anti-casualisation committee

Conference notes the alarming percentage of casualised staff working in the Further Education & Skills sector - 60% according to 2012 SIR data.

Conference also notes the importance of identifying and recruiting this increasing proportion of casualised staff as a necessary survival strategy for the Union.

The conference calls on FEC to:

  1. prepare a statement encouraging branches to explore new and innovative ways of identifying and engaging casualised members
  2. promote the recruitment and organisation of casualised members through a range of innovative and democratic communication channels (including electronic communication and social media) in order to maximise voice and agency.
  3. encourage branches to better represent the needs of casualised members in consultation and decision making structures.
  4. prepare a statement encouraging branches to promote the organising and training activities for casualised members.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE11A.1 Black members standing committee

Add at end of 4

5. to monitor and report on the number of casualised staff in FE in relation to gender, race, LGTB and disability and grades

CARRIED

FE11A.2 Disabled members standing committee

Insert at end of first paragraph 'A significant number of casualised staff are disabled.'

Add new point 5 'ensure that any recruitment, representation and organising statement includes actions to involve disabled staff'.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes the alarming percentage of casualised staff working in the Further Education & Skills sector - 60% according to 2012 SIR data. A significant number of casualised staff are disabled.

Conference also notes the importance of identifying and recruiting this increasing proportion of casualised staff as a necessary survival strategy for the Union.

The conference calls on FEC to:

  1. prepare a statement encouraging branches to explore new and innovative ways of identifying and engaging casualised members
  2. promote the recruitment and organisation of casualised members through a range of innovative and democratic communication channels (including electronic communication and social media) in order to maximise voice and agency.
  3. encourage branches to better represent the needs of casualised members in consultation and decision making structures.
  4. prepare a statement encouraging branches to promote the organising and training activities for casualised members to monitor and report on the number of casualised staff in FE in relation to gender, race, LGTB and disability and grades 
  5. ensure that any recruitment, representation and organising statement includes actions to involve disabled staff.

FE12 Lesson observation - South East regional FE committee

This Sector Conference:

  1. notes that lesson observation is still a major problem for a significant number of UCU members and that despite some progress in some colleges there is no national agreement with the AOC on lesson observation procedures in line with UCU policy and guidelines;
  2. instructs its officers/officials to prioritise a national agreement on lesson observation procedures and in the meantime circulate best practice from colleges where local agreement has been reached.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE12A.1 North West regional FE committee

Add

There is no evidence that grading teaching improves teaching, conference therefore believes that an effective lesson observation agreement should identify that lesson observations should:

  1. not be graded;
  2. make judgements by agreement following the professional engagement between the observer and observee;
  3. link to an offer of realistic opportunities for meaningful CPD identified as a result of the professional discussion.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

This Sector Conference:

  1. notes that lesson observation is still a major problem for a significant number of UCU members and that despite some progress in some colleges there is no national agreement with the AOC on lesson observation procedures in line with UCU policy and guidelines;
  2. instructs its officers/officials to prioritise a national agreement on lesson observation procedures and in the meantime circulate best practice from colleges where local agreement has been reached.

There is no evidence that grading teaching improves teaching, conference therefore believes that an effective lesson observation agreement should identify that lesson observations should:

  1. not be graded;
  2. make judgements by agreement following the professional engagement between the observer and observee;
  3. link to an offer of realistic opportunities for meaningful CPD identified as a result of the professional discussion.

FE13 Composite: FE Workloads - Westminster Kingsway College Peter St, Further Education Committee, Oxford and Cherwell Valley College

Excessive workload continues to be one of the most pressing issues facing members who can feel as though they are on a treadmill with no respite, expected to work ever longer hours to respond to ever increasing demands from College management. It is a major health and safety issue. National and local surveys persistently identify long working hours as a significant contributor to high levels of stress reported by staff.

In this context, conference notes the 2013 TUC analysis of overtime hours from the Labour Force Survey which concludes that teaching professionals are working an average of 11.1 hours a week unpaid (an increase from 9.6 in the previous year).

Conference also notes the workload agreement signed by UCU and AoC in 2011

The provisions of this agreement provide a basis for local branches to raise instances of excessive workloads with management and to agree strategies of avoidance. Colleagues in Wales, Northern Ireland and Adult Education may also use it to assist local campaigns on workloads.

The launch of the national campaign on workload by UCU is welcome and provides a framework for branches to develop local campaigns in those colleges where there is a refusal to endorse the national AoC/joint union agreement. Conference gives full support to the campaign.

Conference believes:

  1. That college managements' refusing to implement the UCU and AoC agreement on workload makes a mockery of national agreements made in good faith by UCU with the AoC.
  2. That the fight for decent pay and realistic workloads should be seen in the wider context of the campaign against the government's austerity programme.

Conference resolves:

  1. To further campaign for colleges to demonstrate that they are implementing the 2011 workload agreement signed by UCU and AoC.
  2. To ballot for strike action to oppose college managements who have not demonstrated they have implemented the workload agreement

FEC will continue to encourage, support and co-ordinate all branches campaigning on excessive workloads including, where necessary, industrial action.

However, UCU branches which do ballot for industrial action short of a strike will need additional support in terms of how only working to contracted hours, prioritisation teaching preparation and marking could be accomplished when managements threaten sanctions for partial performance.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE13A.1 New College Nottingham

In the 'conference believes' section after 'with the AoC' add new bullet point:

2. That excessive workloads are exacerbated by a culture of institutionalised bullying in many workplaces, with a failure to follow unreasonable instructions often being followed by capability or even disciplinary procedures.

Renumber accordingly.

Add in (a) after AoC 'and challenge instances of bullying especially in colleges that have not complied'.

CARRIED

FE13A.2 South East regional FE committee

Add new third paragraph:

Conference notes the series of UCU seminars held to discuss the issues of HE in FE and in particular disparities in remission, delivery, workloading and the paucity of agreements.

Add new c at the end:

For its Officers and FEC (in conjunction with HEC) to develop a model HE in FE agreement and encourage local FE colleges to agree contracts with contracting HE colleges that remove any disparity.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Excessive workload continues to be one of the most pressing issues facing members who can feel as though they are on a treadmill with no respite, expected to work ever longer hours to respond to ever increasing demands from College management. It is a major health and safety issue. National and local surveys persistently identify long working hours as a significant contributor to high levels of stress reported by staff.

In this context, conference notes the 2013 TUC analysis of overtime hours from the Labour Force Survey which concludes that teaching professionals are working an average of 11.1 hours a week unpaid (an increase from 9.6 in the previous year).

Conference notes the series of UCU seminars held to discuss the issues of HE in FE and in particular disparities in remission, delivery, workloading and the paucity of agreements.

Conference also notes the workload agreement signed by UCU and AoC in 2011

The provisions of this agreement provide a basis for local branches to raise instances of excessive workloads with management and to agree strategies of avoidance. Colleagues in Wales, Northern Ireland and Adult Education may also use it to assist local campaigns on workloads.

The launch of the national campaign on workload by UCU is welcome and provides a framework for branches to develop local campaigns in those colleges where there is a refusal to endorse the national AoC/joint union agreement. Conference gives full support to the campaign.

Conference believes:

  1. that college managements' refusing to implement the UCU and AoC agreement on workload makes a mockery of national agreements made in good faith by UCU with the AoC and challenge instances of bullying especially in colleges that have not complied
  2. that excessive workloads are exacerbated by a culture of institutionalised bullying in many workplaces, with a failure to follow unreasonable instructions often being followed by capability or even disciplinary procedures
  3. that the fight for decent pay and realistic workloads should be seen in the wider context of the campaign against the government's austerity programme.

Conference resolves:

  1. to further campaign for colleges to demonstrate that they are implementing the 2011 workload agreement signed by UCU and AoC
  2. to ballot for strike action to oppose college managements who have not demonstrated they have implemented the workload agreement
  3. for its officers and FEC (in conjunction with HEC) to develop a model HE in FE agreement and encourage local FE colleges to agree contracts with contracting HE colleges that remove any disparity.

FEC will continue to encourage, support and co-ordinate all branches campaigning on excessive workloads including, where necessary, industrial action.

However, UCU branches which do ballot for industrial action short of a strike will need additional support in terms of how only working to contracted hours, prioritisation teaching preparation and marking could be accomplished when managements threaten sanctions for partial performance.


FE14 Governance in FE - New College Nottingham

Conference notes:

  1. Since incorporation FE Colleges have been led by a governing body.
  2. This body is not under democratic control but often seems to be in place to simply approve decisions already made by the principal.
  3. They should be comprised so as to better reflect the interests of the wider community rather than the narrow focus of the business of the college.
  4. They must in future be elected rather than selected by the principal.

Conference instructs the FEC:

  1. to empower local branches and regional committees to lobby regional government to use all means at their disposal to exercise some control over governing bodies.
  2. to lobby national government to take steps (up to and including legislation) to ensure that there is some democratic control over governing bodies.
  3. to seek ways in which UCU's interests can be represented on local governing bodies.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE14A.1 Disabled members standing committee

Add at end of point 3 'Also diversity and equality is usually not a criteria so bodies lack representation from equality groups including disabled staff and organisations'.

Add at end of point c 'and campaigning for diversity of representation including disabled staff'.

CARRIED

FE14A.2 Black members standing committee

Add at end of c

To lobby national government to ensure that governing bodies represents the ethnic/racial, and demographic make-up of the local over 18 population and/or the students of each College.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes:

  1. Since incorporation FE Colleges have been led by a governing body.
  2. This body is not under democratic control but often seems to be in place to simply approve decisions already made by the principal.
  3. They should be comprised so as to better reflect the interests of the wider community rather than the narrow focus of the business of the college. Also diversity and equality is usually not a criteria so bodies lack representation from equality groups including disabled staff and organisations
  4. They must in future be elected rather than selected by the principal.

Conference instructs the FEC:

  1. to empower local branches and regional committees to lobby regional government to use all means at their disposal to exercise some control over governing bodies.
  2. to lobby national government to take steps (up to and including legislation) to ensure that there is some democratic control over governing bodies.
  3. to seek ways in which UCU's interests can be represented on local governing bodies and campaigning for diversity of representation including disabled staff
  4. to lobby national government to ensure that governing bodies represents the ethnic/racial, and demographic make-up of the local over 18 population and/or the students of each College.


FE15 FE Funding - Further Education Committee

Conference notes the continuing funding squeeze on FE. This is compounded by the introduction of FE loans and changes in funding methodologies for both 16-19 year olds and adults learners. Both changes threaten cuts in teaching time and less support for students.

Conference  further notes government support for the Heseltine recommendations to channel skills development funding through Local Enterprise Partnerships. This risks increased fragmentation and confusion for colleges and competing priorities from different LEPs.

Conference continues to support UCU's campaigns to increase FE funding and opposition to FE loans so that every young person or adult studying is able to access comprehensive high quality learning programmes.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE15A.1 South East regional FE committee

Add new second paragraph:

Conference:

  1. notes the changes in 16-19 funding for 2013/14 contained in the FE Branch Officer update for 1st March 2013 and in the briefing http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/7/4/Briefing_on_FE_funding_2013.pdf
  2. instructs its Officers to:
    1. remind Branches to send management response details to them and Regional Offices;
    2. mount a campaign with other post-16 unions to prevent such changes as those to working hours/the working year by colleges as a response to funding changes.

CARRIED

FE15A.2 Further Education Committee

In second paragraph insert after second sentence

The proposals in the Rigour and Responsiveness White Paper give LEPs an important role in setting area skills strategies and have significant representation on college governing bodies. UCU should remain vigilant and monitor the activities of LEPs around skills developments and on college governing bodies. UCU will oppose developments which distort the provision of comprehensive adult learning programmes and/or dominate governing body's discussions and decisions.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes the continuing funding squeeze on FE. This is compounded by the introduction of FE loans and changes in funding methodologies for both 16-19 year olds and adults learners. Both changes threaten cuts in teaching time and less support for students.

Conference:

  1. notes the changes in 16-19 funding for 2013/14 contained in the FE Branch Officer update for 1st March 2013 and in the briefing http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/7/4/Briefing_on_FE_funding_2013.pdf
  2. instructs its officers to:
    1. remind Branches to send management response details to them and Regional Offices;
    2. mount a campaign with other post-16 unions to prevent such changes as those to working hours/the working year by colleges as a response to funding changes.

Conference  further notes government support for the Heseltine recommendations to channel skills development funding through Local Enterprise Partnerships. This risks increased fragmentation and confusion for colleges and competing priorities from different LEPs. The proposals in the Rigour and Responsiveness White Paper give LEPs an important role in setting area skills strategies and have significant representation on college governing bodies. UCU should remain vigilant and monitor the activities of LEPs around skills developments and on college governing bodies. UCU will oppose developments which distort the provision of comprehensive adult learning programmes and/or dominate governing body's discussions and decisions.

Conference continues to support UCU's campaigns to increase FE funding and opposition to FE loans so that every young person or adult studying is able to access comprehensive high quality learning programmes.


FE16 FE funding mechanisms - East Midlands regional FE committee

Conference notes:

  1. Current FE funding mechanisms take into account recruitment, retention and achievement.
  2. There is a date set early in the academic year (the so called census date), beyond which students still on roll count towards achievement figures.
  3. This system has resulted in FE management removing students unfairly from courses before the census date and keeping them on the course after it regardless of circumstances.
  4. The system unfairly penalises teachers when students leave due to factors entirely beyond their control.
  5. The reason for leaving may be entirely in the student's best interests.
  6. This is particularly hard on students from disadvantaged backgrounds and the colleges that serve them as there is greater pressure to leave education and find work.

Conference calls on the FEC to:

  1. investigate a fairer funding mechanism for FE.
  2. work with government and funding agencies to implement a revised system.

CARRIED


FE17 Composite: Funding, recruitment, fees and loans - Lewisham College, Chesterfield College

Sector Conference notes the introduction of FE loans for students on Level 3 FE courses and the sustained cuts to education budgets in the FE sector.

These measures can only amount to a further reduction in access to post-compulsory education and jeopardise student recruitment in FE, as well as threaten the viability of many courses and even whole institutions. Our jobs and conditions are increasingly threatened by the coalition government's education funding cuts, unaffordable student tuition fees and loans. This is leading to a restriction in access to post-compulsory education, particularly for working class, adult and mature students and will have an adverse effect on the growth of the economy.

Conference:

  1. vows to campaign vigorously against funding cuts and calls on the government to invest in post-compulsory education.
  2. reasserts its vehement opposition to student tuition fees and demands their withdrawal.
  3. demands that the government reverse their policy to introduce loans in FE.
  4. demands that the government reintroduces the Educational Maintenance Allowance.

CARRIED


FE18 Women students in FE - the hardest hit Women members standing committee

FESC notes that

Adult women students in further education are being hit doubly hard by the impact of government cuts-the end of ALG funds, loss of benefits in the Coalition's cuts, the introduction of fees for students aged 24+, JSA work-fare programmes and cuts in learner support funds all threaten their ability to enrol on courses and, once enrolled, to complete their studies.

It is often those with the biggest burdens that will be hardest hit as fees and the payment of universal credit to just one person in the family will make it harder for those who have unsympathetic partners to enrol.

Conference instructs FEC to campaign against these measures wherever possible and to seek to join with NUS, other unions and community groups to lobby to protect the right of unemployed and low paid students to free and resourced education

CARRIED


FE19 Composite: In defence of ESOL - Greenwich Community College, Barnsley College

FE Sector Conference notes the government's proposal to change the funding rules for ESOL which will drastically cut ESOL provision in colleges and mean learners will only have access to 50 hours of classes before taking a Speaking and Listening exam. This is totally unrealistic and is less than a third of the current number of learning hours (180 hours per level per mode).

Conference condemns the continuous attacks on eligibility and funding for ESOL. We welcome that the Skills Funding Agency recognises ESOL as essential for life in the UK and therefore demand that eligibility and funding are made sustainable into the future.

This Conference urges the government to allow ESOL to remain unlisted and not cut funding by reducing the number of Guided Learning Hours.

Conference asks members to:

  1. sign the e-petition (access via www.talent.ac.uk/ Latest News)
  2. write to their local MP to raise awareness of the issue
  3. view the cut as a further government attack on multiculturalism, and campaign in defence of ESOL in this context.

Conference also calls on UCU FEC to organise a national demonstration in defence of ESOL and against all education cuts.

CARRIED


FE20 Gazelle - Warwickshire College

This conference believes there is an need to commission urgent research and investigation into:

  1. The organisational practices (including the amount of time committed to Gazelle by Principals) financial matters of the Gazelle group (including financial input by colleges)
  2. The legitimacy of colleges acting as shareholders in the Gazelle group

Further, the subject of research and investigation, for the most part it is believed would be aided by a meeting of key activists working in Gazelle colleges who are able to share information and experience.

It is additionally seen as vital that data is obtained on the extent of involvement of listed entrepreneurs, capital expenditure funding, student outcomes and destinations, terms and conditions of staff working in various hubs across the regions.

CARRIED


FE21 Oppose the academisation of 16-19 education - City and Islington College Camden Road

Conference notes

  1. The increasing introduction of 6th form academies and free schools in the FE sector.
  2. The government is introducing STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths Academy) in opposition to the existing 16-19 education provision.
  3. The above colleges have a narrow view of education, and a less successful rate of achievement compared to FE and 6th form colleges.
  4. These colleges drain resources and students from local FE colleges and sixth form centres. For example a new free school is planned to open off the City Rd Islington in direct competition with City and Islington College.

Conference believes

  1. we should oppose the movement of setting up sixth form academies
  2. that UCU FE Sector should build a national campaign against the academy movement.

Conference resolves that the FE Committee will organise a broad based campaign to oppose the academisation of 16-19 education.

CARRIED


FE22 Abolish Ofsted - Liverpool Community College Arts and Mulberry

Ofsted's annual report and accounts for 2011-12 reveal that it anticipates receiving a budget of £142 million in 2014-15. Even a genuinely effective and developmental measurement system this costly cannot be justified in an age of austerity, when resources could be better utilised at the chalk face.

But we do not have a genuinely developmental system. According to Sir Michael Wilshaw, HM Chief Inspector, if anyone says to you that staff morale is at an all time low, you know you are doing something right. As educators we know that a precondition of learning is that it is consensual not coercive. The prevailing reductive and data driven inspection regime may generate compliance, but a system built on fear cannot promote dignity, creativity or genuine learning in students or teachers.

Conference calls on UCU's leadership to lobby across the political spectrum in concert with sister trade unions for Ofsted's abolition.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE22A.1 North West regional FE committee

OFSTED inspectors have little experience of teaching in the sector or taught long ago, their most recent experience is more likely to be managerial.

OFSTED is not fit for purpose and is immune to criticism, last year 20% of colleges inspected complained, no complaint was upheld.

Conference calls for an independent self and peer review body to replace OFSTED: owned and managed by practitioners and responsive to the needs of students, teachers and providers.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Ofsted's annual report and accounts for 2011-12 reveal that it anticipates receiving a budget of £142 million in 2014-15. Even a genuinely effective and developmental measurement system this costly cannot be justified in an age of austerity, when resources could be better utilised at the chalk face.

But we do not have a genuinely developmental system. According to Sir Michael Wilshaw, HM Chief Inspector, if anyone says to you that staff morale is at an all time low, you know you are doing something right. As educators we know that a precondition of learning is that it is consensual not coercive. The prevailing reductive and data driven inspection regime may generate compliance, but a system built on fear cannot promote dignity, creativity or genuine learning in students or teachers.

Conference calls on UCU's leadership to lobby across the political spectrum in concert with sister trade unions for Ofsted's abolition.

OFSTED inspectors have little experience of teaching in the sector or taught long ago, their most recent experience is more likely to be managerial.

OFSTED is not fit for purpose and is immune to criticism, last year 20% of colleges inspected complained, no complaint was upheld.

Conference calls for an independent self and peer review body to replace OFSTED: owned and managed by practitioners and responsive to the needs of students, teachers and providers.


FE23 Representation and recruitment of staff in adult and community education - Anti-casualisation committee

Conference notes the continued government attacks on funding for Adult and Community Education (ACE). This has led to an increasingly harsh working environment as many ACE lectures are part-time, hourly paid and casual workers. Most staff experience low pay, have their hours cut at short notice and are not provided with adequate resources for teaching.

Furthermore, union density is low within ACE as staff are unaware of the union and/or unable to attend branch meetings as they do not have a permanent teaching base. Conference notes the new recruitment materials aimed at recruiting those within ACE.

Conference therefore calls upon the FEC to:

  1. prepare a statement and briefing materials for negotiators on terms and conditions in ACE, to be sent to all branches
  2. further develop a dedicated ACE recruitment campaign with materials and organise regional and national meetings.

CARRIED


FE24 FE guild and teaching qualifications - South East regional FE committee

This Sector Conference notes:

  1. the findings of the Independent Review Panel on Professionalism in FE led by Lord Lingfield - October 2012;
  2. the continued uncertainty about FE Teaching qualifications and the increasing failure of college managers to support staff in obtaining qualifications;
  3. that UCU is part of the FE Guild Steering Committee although the Guild's full purpose and remit is unclear.

This Sector Conference reminds UCU officers/officials that:

  1. the policy of UCU is that anyone teaching and/or training on FE courses - whether lecturers, instructors, workplace supervisors and assessors - offered by any provider should be qualified according to an agreed set of standards and that there should be full support (including time off/financial support) for individuals to obtain such qualifications to gain professional status;
  2. campaigns and negotiations must continue until this policy is met;
  3. an FE Guild or equivalent body should fully support (a) above.

CARRIED


FE25 FE Guild - Further Education Committee

Conference notes the creation of the FE Guild. Conference welcomes the Guild not having mandatory individual practitioner membership. Conference believes the only viable basis of the Guild is as an independent organisation built on partnership and will resist any moves to make individual payment mandatory.

FEC will continue to press the Guild to:

  1. cover the whole FE workforce
  2. be funded in part by a levy on sector employers
  3. continue to involve and engage practitioners and unions
  4. have regular meetings with FE unions
  5. work to restore the requirement for newly appointed lecturers to have a FE teaching qualification.
  6. press  providers to have and support high quality initial training and CPD policies and practices
  7. benchmark institutional CPD programmes which are negotiated with FE staff unions
  8. support initial training and CPD being included within normal working time and that colleges give full financial other support.

CARRIED


FE26 Prison education - funding, pay and conditions The Manchester College Prisons branch

Conference notes the revised model of F.E. funding has been piloted in offender learning during 2012/13. Where we are united by a funding model it is now imperative that UCU pro-actively campaigns to assure the parity of prison educators with mainstream colleagues and protects them against further attacks upon their pay, status, terms & conditions.

Our employers should not have the opportunity to cite existing offender learning pay and grading structures as indicative of the direction in which they should move to maximise profits under the new methodology.

Conference therefore re-iterates its commitment to actively undertake parity campaigning for professional prison educators and calls upon FEC to negotiate with the AoC and OLASS providers a pay and grading structure for prison educators that assures parity with mainstream FE colleagues.

CARRIED

Last updated: 29 May 2013