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Love Our Colleges

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The Love Our Colleges campaign is making the case for extra government funding to support fair pay and funding in further education.

The campaign is supported by UCU, Unison, Unite, GMB, NEU, NUS, TUC, ASCL and the Association of Colleges.

We are currently planning a week of action from 15-19 October, including a national lobby of parliament on Wednesday 17 October.

How can I support the campaign?

There are lots of ways you can support the Love Our Colleges campaign:

  • Join the march, rally and lobby of parliament on 17 October  - see below and visit our Facebook page for more details
  • Tweet using the #LoveOurColleges hashtag to say why you think the government should invest more in colleges and their staff and students
  • Consider how you can engage your students with the campaign during the week of action
  • Write to your local MP asking them to support the campaign and sign Early Day Motion 1686 calling for urgent in investment in FE colleges
  • Sign this petition calling for sustainable funding for FE   

National action on 17 October

We are coordinating a march, rally and lobby of parliament on 17 October to take our call for fair pay and funding for colleges straight to the heart of government.

In order to make the day a success, we need as many staff, students and college leaders as possible to join us in Westminster on the day to tell their MP why the government should support extra investment in colleges.

If you wish to join the day of action please tell your branch and sign up on our Facebook event page. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt and AoC chief executive David Hughes have written a joint letter to principals asking them to release staff to attend where possible. 

If you are planning to attend, please contact your MP in advance to arrange an appointment on the day. If you're attending as part of a college delegation we would encourage you to make a coordinated approach to the relevant local MP(s).

You can also download our  Love Our Colleges: lobby guidance for UCU members [802kb] for more information about what the lobby will entail.

Background to the campaign

Further education colleges are an essential part of England's education system. Whether it's through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions. Rooted in local communities, they are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.

From 2009 to 2019, college funding has been cut by around 30%. This drop in funding has led to:

  • fewer hours of teaching and support for young people;
  • a drastic reduction in the number of learning opportunities for adults;
  • the value of staff pay falling by over 25% since 2009;
  • college teachers earning £7,000 less on average than school teachers.

This situation is not sustainable and ultimately impacts on college students and staff, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

What we are calling for

Trade unions, students and college leaders are coming together to call for better funding and fair pay for further education colleges.

We are calling on the government to:

  1. Increase college funding to sustainable levels, including but not limited to:
    • Increasing the 16-19 funding rate by 5% a year for the next five years, and extending the pupil premium to cover post-16 students.
    • Fully funding a National Retraining Scheme to support level 3 to 5 skills
    • Introducing a lifetime learning entitlement to fund skills training for all adults who have not previously achieved a level 3 qualification.
  2. Provide immediate exceptional funding, ring-fenced for pay, to cover the costs of a fair pay deal for college staff from 2018/19 onwards.

Read the  Love Our Colleges manifesto [752kb] for more information.

More information

If you have any questions about the Love Our Colleges campaign or the day of action on 17 October, please email Jenny Sherrard at jsherrard@ucu.org.uk    


Last updated: 12 October 2018