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Business of the Education Committee

UCU Congress 2014: Thursday 29 May 2014, 9:30-10:15

Section 5 of the NEC's report to Congress 2014:
UCU568.html | UCU568.rtf

Motions:

1 - Education from the cradle to the grave
2 - Education funding
3 - Teacher education and training
4 - Financial impact on students of government policy
5 - Access courses in further and higher education
6 - Abolish Ofsted
7 - Reform of university and college governance
8 - Mandatory publication of senior management KPIs used for pay determination

(EP) advisory marking
denoting UCU existing policy

Cradle to grave, after paragraph 3.3

1 (EP) Education from the cradle to the grave - National Executive Committee

Congress endorses the principle of education from cradle to grave as exemplified by the successful UCU Conference held in February 2014 and urges all in the union to campaign to win public support for the policy priorities agreed by Education Committee:

  • higher public funding for further, adult, offender, and higher education and research
  • high quality vocational education
  • professional recognition for the skills of staff, partnership with students and a rejection of the learner as consumer
  • fair access to further, adult and higher education for all, not just the rich
  • active partnership between F/HE institutions, schools, local authorities and the wider community to provide education and training opportunities for the young unemployed
  • to develop further joint campaign work with our sister education TU's in defence of public education
  • to seek endorsement of the TUC in support of the 'Cradle to the Grave' campaign.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

1A.1 National Executive Committee

After 'not just the rich' in fifth paragraph, add:

', regardless of gender, race, LGBT status or disability'

After fifth paragraph, insert new point:

'Active measures to ensure participation of women, black and ethnic minority  people, disabled and LGBT people in all aspects of education and to remove discrimination.'

CARRIED

1A.2 North West Retired Members' Branch

Add at end

In pursuit of this, Congress objects to library closures and asserts that libraries are:

1. a primary source of information for study and research for people of every age and background

2. an essential avenue for social mobility which closure will inhibit.

Congress calls on:

1. the government to reverse all previous cuts and employ staff, not volunteers, on a living wage with no zero-hours contracts.

2. branches and members to resist any further closures.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress endorses the principle of education from cradle to grave as exemplified by the successful UCU conference held in February 2014 and urges all in the union to campaign to win public support for the policy priorities agreed by Education Committee:

  • higher public funding for further, adult, offender, and higher education and research
  • high quality vocational education
  • professional recognition for the skills of staff, partnership with students and a rejection of the learner as consumer
  • fair access to further, adult and higher education for all, not just the rich, regardless of gender, race, LGBT status or disability
  • active partnership between F/HE institutions, schools, local authorities and the wider community to provide education and training opportunities for the young unemployed
  • to develop further joint campaign work with our sister education TU's in defence of public education
  • to seek endorsement of the TUC in support of the 'Cradle to the Grave' campaign
  • active measures to ensure participation of women, black and ethnic minority  people, disabled and LGBT people in all aspects of education and to remove discrimination.

In pursuit of this, Congress objects to library closures and asserts that libraries are:

  1. a primary source of information for study and research for people of every age and background
  2. an essential avenue for social mobility which closure will inhibit.

Congress calls on:

  1. the government to reverse all previous cuts and employ staff, not volunteers, on a living wage with no zero-hours contracts
  2. branches and members to resist any further closures.

The funding campaign, paragraph 4.2

2 (EP) Education funding - National Executive Committee

Congress notes the differing funding arrangements that now exist within the nations of the UK for further, adult and higher education and reiterates UCU's belief that education should be freely available to all and that increased public funding should reflect the social and economic benefits that post-16 education provides.

Congress therefore welcomes the work of the Devolution Working Party and Education Committee in setting out six tests (as set out in the NEC report) against which new funding proposals should be judged.

Congress believes that the Devolution Working Party should also work collaboratively with elected committees to systematically examine other areas of the union's work and ensure they are 'devolution proof'.

CARRIED

New paragraph, teacher education, after paragraph 5.1

3 (EP) Teacher Education and Training - South East Regional Committee

Congress notes that:

  1. the 2007 FE Workforce Regulations were revoked in 2012 - teachers and trainers in the FE sector are not required to achieve specific teaching qualifications or meet any minimum standards of performance or fulfil CPD requirements beyond those specified by their employer and/or through their contract of employment
  2. schoolteachers working in Free Schools and Academies also do not have to be qualified
  3. the current focus on school-centred training and professional development of schoolteachers has threatened a coherent set of teacher training courses
  4. the negative impact of these changes on providers of teacher training in both HE and FE.

Congress re-affirms:

  1. existing policy
  2. calls on the government to ensure schoolteachers are well trained in both educational theory and practice as this is threatened by the running down of academic teacher education
  3. agrees to escalate its campaigning and lobbying of MPs and the Education & Training Foundation.

CARRIED

Widening participation, paragraphs 8.1 - 8.2

4 (EP) Financial impact on students of Government policy - Southern Regional Committee

Congress deplores the Coalition Government's failure to protect students of low income families from the impact of student fees and education cuts.

In light of this failure, the consequences of which are becoming increasingly apparent in terms of the deterrent effect on low-income students, Congress instructs NEC to:

  1. intensify the lobbying of government in order to restore financial support for those groups currently deterred from pursuing further and higher education on the grounds of cost
  2. within budget limitations, survey the impact of student poverty on recruitment to FHE institutions in order to better inform a campaign to restore necessary funding.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

4A.1 Black Members' Standing Committee

Add to end:

'Congress recognises that BME staff and students are disproportionately disadvantaged in terms of resources and support.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress deplores the Coalition Government's failure to protect students of low income families from the impact of student fees and education cuts.

In light of this failure, the consequences of which are becoming increasingly apparent in terms of the deterrent effect on low-income students, Congress instructs NEC to:

  1. intensify the lobbying of government in order to restore financial support for those groups currently deterred from pursuing further and higher education on the grounds of cost
  2. within budget limitations, survey the impact of student poverty on recruitment to FHE institutions in order to better inform a campaign to restore necessary funding.

Congress recognises that BME staff and students are disproportionately disadvantaged in terms of resources and support.


5 (EP) Access courses in further and higher education - Oxford and Cherwell Valley College

Congress deplores the dramatically increasing costs of Access Courses for mature students. In addition, Congress notes the differential pricing of an Access course based on age and previous qualifications.

Congress notes the introduction by the government of 'Advanced Learning Loans' for those aged 24+ to pay the high tuition fees. These loans will become repayable unless the students successfully complete a university degree level. Also, from September 2014, the diversity of local Access courses will be curtailed by new QAA regulations which will impose national restrictions on the course content and grading of courses.

Congress opposes these developments which will further restrict opportunities for mature students and calls for fully publicly funded Access to HE courses, in both further and higher education, developed at local level in conjunction with higher education providers of degree level courses.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

5A.1 Women Members' Standing Committee

In third paragraph, after 'mature students', insert ', particularly women,'.  

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress deplores the dramatically increasing costs of Access Courses for mature students. In addition, Congress notes the differential pricing of an Access course based on age and previous qualifications.

Congress notes the introduction by the government of 'Advanced Learning Loans' for those aged 24+ to pay the high tuition fees. These loans will become repayable unless the students successfully complete a university degree level. Also, from September 2014, the diversity of local Access courses will be curtailed by new QAA regulations which will impose national restrictions on the course content and grading of courses.

Congress opposes these developments which will further restrict opportunities for mature students, particularly women, and calls for fully publicly funded Access to HE courses, in both further and higher education, developed at local level in conjunction with higher education providers of degree level courses.


6 (EP) Abolish Ofsted - City of Liverpool College, Bankfield

Congress calls for the abolition of Ofsted to end an inspection regime that is driving all sectors of education through a 'toxic' target-driven culture.

The cost of running Ofsted is the equivalent of almost 5,000 teachers a year yet there is no evidence to show that Ofsted has a positive impact on improving education, there is however significant anecdotal evidence that suggests that the Ofsted model has a detrimental impact.

Conference calls on the NEC to:

  • work with other teaching unions to raise a high profile campaign to 'Abolish Ofsted'
  • gather evidence to show how Ofsted 
    • has systematically failed to improve standards in colleges and universities (as well as schools)
    • has a detrimental effect on members
  • campaign for a system where teachers and students have a real say in the running of institutions - institutions that are not target-obsessed but based on a balanced, trusting and effective education system.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

6A.1 East Midlands Regional Committee

In second paragraph, delete ', there is however significant anecdotal evidence that suggests that the Ofsted model has a detrimental impact.' and replace with:

'However, there is strong empirical evidence which suggests Ofsted has many detrimental impacts on teachers and education.'

In the sentence:

'has systematically failed to improve standards in colleges and universities (as well as schools)' add between 'and' and 'universities' the words 'the teacher training sections of'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress calls for the abolition of Ofsted to end an inspection regime that is driving all sectors of education through a 'toxic' target-driven culture.

The cost of running Ofsted is the equivalent of almost 5,000 teachers a year yet there is no evidence to show that Ofsted has a positive impact on improving education. However, there is strong empirical evidence which suggests Ofsted has many detrimental impacts on teachers and education.

Conference calls on the NEC to:

  • work with other teaching unions to raise a high profile campaign to 'Abolish Ofsted'
  • gather evidence to show how Ofsted 
    • has systematically failed to improve standards in colleges and the teacher training sections of universities (as well as schools)
    • has a detrimental effect on members
  • campaign for a system where teachers and students have a real say in the running of institutions - institutions that are not target-obsessed but based on a balanced, trusting and effective education system.

New paragraph, governance, after paragraph 8.2

7 (EP) Reform of University and College Governance - University of Falmouth

Congress believes that motions passed at previous congress, HE and FE sector conferences in respect of reform of university and college governance should be reaffirmed and in particular to draw from the HE governance review and the address at 2012 Scotland Congress that academic freedom should be protected and that democracy and transparency in governance should be underlined. To this end UCU is called upon to campaign effectively to achieve a national regulatory framework for governance that ensures:

  • academic freedom
  • trade union and student union representation on governing bodies (boards, councils etc.) and committees including senior management remuneration
  • academic or subject specialist and local authority membership of governing bodies
  • election of chairs of governing bodies.

And that governance is to ensure that an HE or FE institution's fundamental raison d'être is to:

  • create, develop and disseminate knowledge through education and research
  • reflect the needs of staff, students and local communities.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

7A.1 London Metropolitan University, City

Add at end:

'Specifically 'transparency in governance' includes the timely and full publication of minutes of boards of governors and 'academic freedom' includes the unrestricted right of student and staff representatives to communicate with their constituencies.

Immediately following Congress UCU will contact sympathetic national political parties with a view to inclusion of these principles within their 2015 political manifestos.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress believes that motions passed at previous congress, HE and FE sector conferences in respect of reform of university and college governance should be reaffirmed and in particular to draw from the HE governance review and the address at 2012 Scotland Congress that academic freedom should be protected and that democracy and transparency in governance should be underlined. To this end UCU is called upon to campaign effectively to achieve a national regulatory framework for governance that ensures:

  • academic freedom
  • trade union and student union representation on governing bodies (boards, councils etc.) and committees including senior management remuneration
  • academic or subject specialist and local authority membership of governing bodies
  • election of chairs of governing bodies.

And that governance is to ensure that an HE or FE institution's fundamental raison d'être is to:

  • create, develop and disseminate knowledge through education and research
  • reflect the needs of staff, students and local communities.

Specifically 'transparency in governance' includes the timely and full publication of minutes of boards of governors and 'academic freedom' includes the unrestricted right of student and staff representatives to communicate with their constituencies.

Immediately following Congress UCU will contact sympathetic national political parties with a view to inclusion of these principles within their 2015 political manifestos.


8 Mandatory publication of senior management KPIs used for pay determination - University of Bath

Congress notes the eye-watering increases in pay that have been awarded to vice-chancellors, principals and other members of the senior management teams of universities and colleges. These increases have even been recently condemned by David Willets and Vince Cable in their BIS HEFCE grant allocation letter to universities. However when those (usually a Remuneration Committee) who decide the pay of people at the top are questioned as to the reasons for such largesse, we are told that pay rises are linked to performance.

In the absence of employee voice on remuneration committees, Congress instructs the NEC to demand through the national bargaining machinery that institutions publish exact details of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used by such committees when measuring performance. Further, this information should explicitly explain the link between performance and reward in a way that is understandable to staff, students and the UK tax-payer.

CARRIED

Last updated: 29 May 2014