Business of the education committee

UCU Congress 2013: Thursday 30 May 2013, 10:00-10:45

Chapter 5 of the NEC's report to Congress 2013:

UCU491.html | UCU491.rtf

Motions:

1 - Investment in post-school education
2 - For a national strategy
3 - Access and educational opportunity
4 - Impact of government cuts on FE and HE recruitment
5 - Professionalism
6 - Governance and accountability
7 - Teacher education


Defence of public education, paragraphs 2.1-2.2

1 Investment in post-school education - National Executive Committee

Congress welcomes the union's campaign for public investment in tertiary education. It believes that the future welfare of the country depends on the reversal of the catastrophic cuts in education funding imposed by this government and the investment of additional funding in our educational infrastructure.

As well as its intrinsic benefits to individuals, public investment in tertiary education is immediately beneficial economically and socially as well as being an essential precondition for the creation of a socially just, equal and inclusive society.

Congress therefore calls on all like-minded organisations to join the union's funding campaign and to endorse as a minimum target an increase in UK funding to the average OECD level (the closure of a current funding gap of £5 billion).

Congress instructs the NEC to continue its support of this essential campaign up to and beyond the next general election.

CARRIED


2 For a national strategy - City and Islington College, Camden Road

Congress notes:

  1. the coalition government's continued attacks on Post-16 Education.
  2. the coalition government's broadening of attacks on the Welfare State which encompasses some of the most vulnerable in society.

Congress believes

  1. that to defend post 16 education UCU must develop a national campaigning strategy that seeks to involve and engage all the membership.
  2. that failure to do so leaves members vulnerable and isolated as employers attempt to drive through attacks college by college, university by university.

Congress resolves:

  1. For UCU to call a conference in the autumn term around the theme 'From the cradle to the grave - Defending education for all'.
  2. UCU to approach all education unions (including the NUS) and campaigning education groups to ask for their support in organising the conference and
  3. inviting them to provide speakers and ideas on how we can launch a national campaign.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

2A.1 New College Nottingham

Insert at the end of point 2:

This has a direct impact on learners coming into FE, who face increasing pressure to take low paid, short term work rather than study for qualifications that enable access to Higher Education. FE and HE professionals have a commitment to encouraging 'second chance' education; current policy seems designed to cut off this lifeline.

CARRIED

2A.2 Yorkshire and Humberside regional committee

add at end:

That co-ordinated strike action is the best way to halt the Coalition's austerity assault on workers' pay, pensions, benefits and services and the privatisation of health and education.

UCU welcomes the 4-to-1 vote at last September's TUC to explore the practicalities of a General Strike and, believing the case for a united industrial action is stronger than ever, calls on the TUC to lay urgent concrete plans for united strike action against Tory austerity policies.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress notes:

  1. the coalition government's continued attacks on Post-16 Education.
  2. the coalition government's broadening of attacks on the Welfare State which encompasses some of the most vulnerable in society. This has a direct impact on learners coming into FE, who face increasing pressure to take low paid, short term work rather than study for qualifications that enable access to Higher Education. FE and HE professionals have a commitment to encouraging 'second chance' education; current policy seems designed to cut off this lifeline.

Congress believes

  1. that to defend post 16 education UCU must develop a national campaigning strategy that seeks to involve and engage all the membership.
  2. that failure to do so leaves members vulnerable and isolated as employers attempt to drive through attacks college by college, university by university.

Congress resolves:

  1. For UCU to call a conference in the autumn term around the theme 'From the cradle to the grave - Defending education for all'.
  2. UCU to approach all education unions (including the NUS) and campaigning education groups to ask for their support in organising the conference and
  3. inviting them to provide speakers and ideas on how we can launch a national campaign.

That co-ordinated strike action is the best way to halt the Coalition's austerity assault on workers' pay, pensions, benefits and services and the privatisation of health and education.

UCU welcomes the 4-to-1 vote at last September's TUC to explore the practicalities of a General Strike and, believing the case for a united industrial action is stronger than ever, calls on the TUC to lay urgent concrete plans for united strike action against Tory austerity policies.


3 Access and educational opportunity - National Executive Committee

Congress notes the damaging effects on educational opportunity caused by government policies across our public education service, including:

  1. the impact of higher education fees on access to university and to postgraduate study and research;
  2. the threat to participation in lifelong learning posed by the FE fees/loans system;
  3. the continuing crisis of youth employment;
  4. the narrowing of the school/college curriculum and the elitist, divisive and unfair approach to examinations;
  5. the aggressive promotion of academies, free schools and UTCs, destroying the right of equal access to high quality, publicly funded education;
  6. the attack on university education departments;
  7. the privatisation/marketisation of education through deregulation, the destruction of democratic institutional governance and the encouragement of for-profit providers.

Congress reiterates its commitment to the defence of public education on the basis of the alternative vision set out in the union's manifesto: .

CARRIED


Access to education, paragraph 3.1

4 Impact of government cuts on FE and HE recruitment - Barnsley College

Congress notes the government cuts to benefits, EMA, FE funding, the increase in HE tuition fees, and the introduction of FE loans are an attack on the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. Such cuts not only impact on incomes and living standards, but help to stymie educational aspiration within all our communities, particularly in the poorest ones. Inevitably this will exacerbate existing recruitment problems within FE and HE, and will affect many of our members, our students and our communities.

Congress resolves to:

  1. urge branches to work with organisations such as local Trades Councils and Unite the Resistance to build opposition and put forward alternatives
  2. reassert its opposition to student tuition fees, demanding a withdrawal
  3. demand that the government a) reverse the introduction of FE loans at Level 3, and b) reinstate EMA.

CARRIED


Professionalism, paragraph 5.1

5 Professionalism - National Executive Committee

Congress notes that:

  1. professionalism in our education service is under serious attack from a culture of managerialism, a lack of respect for the expertise, views and commitment of professional staff and the imposition of ever-increasing workloads;
  2. we suffer from an absence of institutional arrangements that would support the development, defence and recognition of our members' professionalism;
  3. we should be pro-active in promoting the contribution that our members make to delivering and supporting high quality teaching and research - their professionalism is the foundation of that contribution.

Congress believes that we need our own clearly-articulated, persuasive version of professionalism that we can deploy effectively to campaign for the effective provision of those means of support, defence and recognition.

Congress therefore endorses the principles and valus set out in Towards a UCU Policy on Professionalism (https://www.ucu.org.uk/professionalism) and calls on the NEC to campaign for their implementation.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

5A.1 South East regional committee

In the final paragraph replace 'endorses' with 'notes'; and replace 'calls on the NEC to campaign for their implementation' with 'instructs the UCU Officers and the NEC to mount a campaign to promote the contribution that our members make to delivering and supporting high quality teaching and research.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress notes that:

  1. professionalism in our education service is under serious attack from a culture of managerialism, a lack of respect for the expertise, views and commitment of professional staff and the imposition of ever-increasing workloads;
  2. we suffer from an absence of institutional arrangements that would support the development, defence and recognition of our members' professionalism;
  3. we should be pro-active in promoting the contribution that our members make to delivering and supporting high quality teaching and research - their professionalism is the foundation of that contribution.

Congress believes that we need our own clearly-articulated, persuasive version of professionalism that we can deploy effectively to campaign for the effective provision of those means of support, defence and recognition.

Congress therefore notes the principles and valus set out in Towards a UCU Policy on Professionalism (https://www.ucu.org.uk/professionalism) and instructs the UCU Officers and the NEC to mount a campaign to promote the contribution that our members make to delivering and supporting high quality teaching and research.


6 Governance and accountability - New College Nottingham

This Congress recognises the increasing need for effective governance across the HE and FE sectors. Congress calls upon UCU to lobby for an acceptable level of accountability in our publicly funded universities and FE colleges. We believe that governing bodies, under the current system, are susceptible to cronyism, leading to inappropriate use of funds, including payments to organisations antagonistic to the interests of learners and professionals and the implementation of cutbacks. We assert the need for staff and student governors to play a key role on governing bodies; this would be a step towards holding such bodies to account for fiscal responsibility at a time when cuts and austerity measures are being presented to us as necessary and inevitable. Additionally we call for the accounts of all FE and HE bodies to be fully available for scrutiny as a further step toward transparency and openness.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

6A.1 National Executive Committee

Add after 'inevitable', before the last sentence:

Congress notes that following the abolishment of the FE model instruments and articles of governance, an increasing number of colleges are planning new structures and forms of governance. UCU must remain vigilant to ensure that any new structures continue to have proper representation of staff and student governors.

CARRIED

6A.2 University of Hull

Add 'These bodies are being reduced in size, and election of staff governors is increasingly being replaced by appointment, ensuring the removal of alternative voices which ensure equity.'

After sentence 2. Replace 'We assert the need for staff and student governors to play a key role on governing bodies...' with 'We assert the need for elected staff and student governors to play a key role on governing bodies that are fully representative of staff and students (and the wider community where relevant)...'

Add at end:

'Congress calls on UCU to undertake a review of the role of trade unions in university and college governance.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

This Congress recognises the increasing need for effective governance across the HE and FE sectors. Congress calls upon UCU to lobby for an acceptable level of accountability in our publicly funded universities and FE colleges. We believe that governing bodies, under the current system, are susceptible to cronyism, leading to inappropriate use of funds, including payments to organisations antagonistic to the interests of learners and professionals and the implementation of cutbacks. We assert the need for elected staff and student governors to play a key role on governing bodies that are fully representative of staff and students (and the wider community where relevant); this would be a step towards holding such bodies to account for fiscal responsibility at a time when cuts and austerity measures are being presented to us as necessary and inevitable. Congress notes that following the abolishment of the FE model instruments and articles of governance, an increasing number of colleges are planning new structures and forms of governance. UCU must remain vigilant to ensure that any new structures continue to have proper representation of staff and student governors. Additionally we call for the accounts of all FE and HE bodies to be fully available for scrutiny as a further step toward transparency and openness.

These bodies are being reduced in size, and election of staff governors is increasingly being replaced by appointment, ensuring the removal of alternative voices which ensure equity.

Congress calls on UCU to undertake a review of the role of trade unions in university and college governance.


Teacher education and training, paragraph 7.1

7 Teacher education - East Midlands regional committee

Congress re-affirms its belief that the government's decision to situate teacher education wholly within schools will de-professionalise teachers, reduce school teaching to a 'craft' and be a terminal threat to educational research and researched based teacher-training.

It recognises that the allocation of training places by the Teaching Agency this year has drastically reduced allocations in the majority of HE institutions and this could result in mass redundancies amongst our members in teacher education. It calls on branches to audit the impact of this process on their education departments.

Congress agrees to:

  1. mount the strongest campaign at national level, alongside other education unions and student bodies to oppose this attack on teacher education
  2. organise, immediately, a joint conference with these interest groups, as agreed at Congress 2012
  3. publish a strong critique of current government policy.

CARRIED

Last updated: 13 August 2019