Taking action in higher education

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Campaign update: 18 November 2016


UCU exposes insecure employment in universities

Our campaign to stamp out casual contracts in education hit the front page this week with a major article in The Guardian highlighting the use of 'Sports Direct-style' employment practices in universities. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt also argues here that despite being ignored by the metrics used for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), casualisation has a clear impact on teaching quality.

Our day of action against precarious work takes place next Thursday 24 November with campaign activities taking place in further and higher education workplaces across the UK. UCU will march with our students tomorrow calling for decent jobs and proper funding for education. 

Further education - transforming lives and communities

UCU is campaigning for 250,000 more learners to be given the opportunity to improve their life chances by funding and recruiting 15,000 new teachers for our colleges. Please help us by telling your MP to support our campaign here

Other news this week

1. In the news

  • UCU's anti-casualisation campaign hits the front pages
  • All set for Saturday's demo
  • Further education sector united call for autumn statement investment
  • Scottish universities warn some courses might be axed in wake of Brexit vote
  • No confidence vote in Open University leadership
  • MPs demand EU scientists working in the UK are allowed to stay

Read more here.

2. Your views on Brexit and higher education

The Education Select Committee is seeking views from staff and students about the impact of Brexit on higher education - register to attend the evidence session here and ask your MP to protect the rights of EU staff and students here.

3. Senior management survey - help audit university management 

Please complete this new online 'senior management survey' (SMS) which aims to show to what extent higher education institutions are supporting academic staff to do their jobs effectively and mirrors the national student survey (NSS).

4. Defend higher education - oppose the Higher Education and Research Bill

The HE Bill will be debated again in the Commons on Monday 21 November. As part of UCU's ongoing campaign on this issue, please email your MP to encourage them to attend and raise your concerns.

5. UCU continuing professional development (CPD) courses

Classroom management- 25 November, Birmingham
Leadership in education- 25 November, Birmingham
Change management- 29 November, London
Time management- 29 November, London
Speaking up: voice care for educators- 2 December, Plymouth
Assertiveness skills- 6 December, Belfast
Mentoring- 6 December, Belfast 

6. No confidence in Open University management

Following serious criticism of recent changes in the Open University (OU) the UCU OU branch has voted to pass a motion of no confidence in the vice-chancellor and executive. See more here. 

7. The Prevent duty in schools and colleges: tell us your views and experiences 

​Further education staff in England are invited to contribute to an independent academic research project by participating in this anonymous online survey on what the Prevent duty means for schools and colleges.   

8. GCSE English and Maths in further education 

UCU's education committee has considered a discussion document on the reform of GCSE English and Maths put forward by further education committee (FEC) member Sean Vernell.  Please consider the document and feedback your views on the proposals in the paper to Matt Waddup.

9. The Art of Trade Unions

A free arts and culture event hosted by the General Federation of Trade Unions will take place on 6 December 2016 in Bedford. Contact Daniella Tedds at daniella@gftu.org.uk.

10. Further education staff governors' conference: change with care?

This conference will provide the opportunity for staff governors to discuss how governing bodies can respond to change and how staff governors can play a full part in governing body discussions. Friday 2 December 2016. Unison head office, London NW1 2AY

11. Re-thinking the tertiary system: the future of learning and work

A Social Partnerships Network and Action on Access joint one-day event that aims to re-think and to explore the tertiary system.  The event will explore how the future of learning and work could be articulated through a developed lifelong learning approach. 

Last updated: 8 July 2019