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Staff must be at the heart of education reforms: UCU response to Queen's Speech

18 May 2016

The University and College Union (UCU) today noted the government's renewed focus on education at all levels, but said that the views of education staff must be at the heart of wide-ranging reforms to further, higher and prison education if the government is to achieve its aims for improving quality.

UCU was responding to the Queen's Speech, which set out plans for several new pieces of legislation in 2016/17 directly affecting post-school education. These include a higher education and research bill which will open up the sector to alternative providers, a prison reform bill with an emphasis on prison education and rehabilitation, and an education bill which, as well as changes to teacher training, will include further details of the forthcoming skills plan.

The union said that the key to quality education at all levels was ensuring a professional and well rewarded workforce and making careers in teaching more attractive to the brightest graduates.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We will be looking at the detail of the proposed legislation, especially the first higher education legislation in over a decade. We are disappointed that the government is continuing on a clear course to privatise higher education despite the very real danger which this poses to our sector's international reputation.

'We are convinced that the best way to improve education quality at all levels is to listen to the concerns of teaching staff, and focus on ensuring a professional and well-rewarded workforce.'