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Business of the Education Committee 2016

UCU Congress 2016: Wednesday 1 June 2016, 16:15-18:00.

Motions have been allocated to a section of the NEC's report to Congress (UCU712). Paragraph headings refer to paragraphs within this report. CBC has added some new paragraph headings to facilitate the ordering of motions.

Section 4 of the NEC's report to Congress

Motions:

36 - The counter-extremism strategy, prevent and Islamophobia
37 - Government education policy and ESOL
38 - Education governance in Northern Ireland
39 - From Cradle to Grave
40 - Towards a national strategy to defend further and higher education
41 - United campaign to defend post-16 education
42 - Jeremy Corbyn and Labour
43 - Sharing experience in defence of tertiary education
44 - Turnaround of work for student/learner feedback
45 - Gathering data on outsourcing
46 - Attacks on nursing and social work qualifications
47 - Education and training of care staff
48 - Additional Learning Support (ALS)

(EP) advisory marking denoting UCU existing policy


Developing clear policies, paragraph 2.1


36 Composite: the counter-extremism strategy, prevent and Islamophobia - Barnsley College, Ruskin College, University of Brighton (Moulsecoomb), Croydon College, South East Regional Committee, Black Members' Standing Committee

Congress notes the:

  1. government's counter extremism strategy further threatens free expression at universities, colleges and schools
  2. discredited Prevent programme is subject to increasing criticism, including from the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC
  3. proposed legislation targeting Islamic supplementary classes represents a further extension of this failed strategy
  4. successful passing of a motion calling for the repeal of the legislation on Prevent at the NUT's 2016 Conference in March
  5. existing UCU policy to 'actively campaign' against Prevent up to and including a boycott of Prevent in colleges and universities (Motion 62, Congress 2015).

Congress believes that:

  1. rising Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime are fuelled by notions of a 'suspect community' promoted in government legislation.

Congress condemns concerted attacks in the media and by government on student activists seeking to decolonise education and to resist the incursions of the security state on our campuses.

Congress recognises that the vilification of those campaigning for equality and civil liberties is a chilling tactic, designed to mute dissent. It is essential that our campaigning challenges these attacks and reasserts our solidarity with student activists resisting these state incursions.

Congress resolves to:

  1. campaign against the proposed Counter Extremism Bill, working with other TUs, NUS and civil society groups to bring an end to the Prevent legislation and which allows individuals to pledge to 'Prevent Prevent'
  2. provide a dossier to all members on how the Prevent duty is being met by Colleges and Universities, including monitoring of its implementation and any actions taken against students or staff who refuse to participate in Prevent activity, and to include the work UCU has done on Prevent since May 2015
  3. produce further guidance on the employment implications of Prevent and advice on preventing the victimisation of staff and students who challenge the implementation of Prevent
  4. publicly request that each senior management team in post-16 educational institutions commit to the protection of education as a non-discriminatory space
  5. support members/branches who refuse to co-operate with Prevent leads, trainers or procedures where there's clear evidence that a) equality rights and principles have been breached; b) students or staff have been racially profiled or targeted for reason of faith, culture or legitimate political expression
  6. publicise the 'Preventing Prevent' conference to branches
  7. campaign against Islamophobia, with a particular focus on education, and demand Islamophobia awareness training for all staff.

Carried


Responding to government, paragraph 3.2


37 (EP) Government education policy and ESOL - City of Oxford College (Activate Learning)

Congress condemns David Cameron's recent speech which announced £20m additional funding for ESOL provision, the new fund would help Muslim women from areas with 'segregation' concerns to integrate more smoothly into British society. While any additional funding for education is welcome, this small amount of money follows earlier government cuts. The Association of Colleges has claimed that the government has made a 50% (£160m) reduction in the funds available for ESOL courses between 2008 and 2015. Congress believes learning English should be a vital step which should be available to all but that the money should be part of core funding.

Carried


38 Education governance in Northern Ireland - Northern Ireland Regional Council

Congress notes:

  1. plans have been unveiled for Northern Ireland's nine new government departments, which will replace the current 12 following the election in May 2016
  2. the Department for the Economy will combine the functions of DETI (Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment) and DEL (Department of Employment and Learning), except for the Employment Service
  3. the Department of Employment and Learning currently has responsibility for Further and Higher Education
  4. the DEL budget for 2015-2016 was in the region of £708 million compared to a budget of £203 million for DETI.

Congress recognises that this reorganisation will fundamentally change the government oversight of both further and higher education in Northern Ireland.

Congress calls on UCU Northern Ireland region to develop and implement a strategy for early and effective engagement with the new minister and officials in the Department of the Economy.

Carried


Engaging with others, paragraph 4.1


39 (EP) From Cradle to Grave - National Executive Committee

Congress endorses the principle of education from cradle to grave which sits at the centre of the work of the Education Committee; recognises the importance of the flagship Cradle to Grave conference and other events in drawing in a wider layer of UCU members to discuss education; supports development of similar national and regional initiatives to promote member participation and calls upon the Committee to continue its development of a policy platform which supports:

  1. higher public funding for further, adult, offender, and higher education and research and provides a clear vision of how such provision can benefit society and economy
  2. high quality formal and informal educational opportunities for all whether via full or part-time routes
  3. improved professional status for staff as central to high quality education, partnership with students, and the defence of academic and pedagogical freedom
  4. free and fair access to further, adult and higher education for all.

Carried as amended

39A.1 National Executive Committee

Add at end:

'5. The importance of equality in education for both staff and students, including widening representation of minority groups of both staff and students across all subject areas, ensuring continuing provision of women's, gender, black, LGBT+, disability and other equality studies and mainstreaming women's, gender, black, LGBT+, and disability perspectives in the curriculum.'

Carried

39A.2 South East Regional Committee

Add at end: 'Congress particularly notes the Coates Review of Prison Education and the possible prison reforms announced by Cameron in February 2016 including six 'reform prisons' and asks the Education Committee to monitor closely and respond appropriately.'

Carried

Substantive motion

Congress endorses the principle of education from cradle to grave which sits at the centre of the work of the Education Committee; recognises the importance of the flagship Cradle to Grave conference and other events in drawing in a wider layer of UCU members to discuss education; supports development of similar national and regional initiatives to promote member participation and calls upon the Committee to continue its development of a policy platform which supports:

  1. higher public funding for further, adult, offender, and higher education and research and provides a clear vision of how such provision can benefit society and economy
  2. high quality formal and informal educational opportunities for all whether via full or part-time routes
  3. improved professional status for staff as central to high quality education, partnership with students, and the defence of academic and pedagogical freedom
  4. free and fair access to further, adult and higher education for all
  5. the importance of equality in education for both staff and students, including widening representation of minority groups of both staff and students across all subject areas, ensuring continuing provision of women's, gender, black, LGBT+, disability and other equality studies and mainstreaming women's, gender, black, LGBT+, and disability perspectives in the curriculum.

Congress particularly notes the Coates Review of Prison Education and the possible prison reforms announced by Cameron in February 2016 including six 'reform prisons' and asks the Education Committee to monitor closely and respond appropriately.


40 Towards a national strategy to defend further and higher education - London Regional Committee

Congress notes the:

  1. government's cuts and privatising agenda
  2. post-16 area reviews and HE green paper
  3. election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party
  4. Labour Party's National Education Service initiative.

Congress believes: 

  1. the government's cuts and privatising agenda can only be defeated through a national campaign
  2. Jeremy Corbyn's election as the Leader of the Labour reflects a wider anti-austerity mood within society
  3. Jeremy Corbyn's election provides an opportunity to shape Labour's education policy.

Congress resolves:

  1. to approach the Labour shadow education team for a full discussion on how a non-competitive, planned higher, further and adult education sector could be created
  2. to support all colleges and universities that take action against rationalisation and privatisation
  3. to instruct the NEC to devise a joint further and higher education national campaigning strategy to defend the sectors.

Carried as amended

40A.1 London Regional Committee

Add to Congress Resolves:

'iv. to support the call by and organise alongside the National Union of Students, and if possible other campus unions, for a joint demonstration in defence of education on a Saturday in the autumn term.'

Carried

 

Substantive motion

Congress notes the:

  1. government's cuts and privatising agenda
  2. post-16 area reviews and HE green paper
  3. election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party
  4. Labour Party's National Education Service initiative.

Congress believes: 

  1. the government's cuts and privatising agenda can only be defeated through a national campaign
  2. Jeremy Corbyn's election as the Leader of the Labour reflects a wider anti-austerity mood within society
  3. Jeremy Corbyn's election provides an opportunity to shape Labour's education policy.

Congress resolves:

  1. to approach the Labour shadow education team for a full discussion on how a non-competitive, planned higher, further and adult education sector could be created
  2. to support all colleges and universities that take action against rationalisation and privatisation
  3. to instruct the NEC to devise a joint further and higher education national campaigning strategy to defend the sectors
  4. to support the call by and organise alongside the National Union of Students, and if possible other campus unions, for a joint demonstration in defence of education on a Saturday in the autumn term.

41 (EP) United campaign to defend post-16 education - City and Islington College

UCU congratulates EIS/FELA (The Further Education Lecturers' Association) on victory in March. Strike action in Scotland won equal pay at every college by April 2019, the lowest paid won a 33 percent rise.

We congratulate NUT members in sixth-form colleges in England for taking national strike action against cuts to funding.

Legal challenges that strikes were 'political' and not a legitimate trade dispute failed. This shows we can't simply accept worst case legal advice.

We condemn plans to make every school in England an academy. Forced academisation will herald attacks on terms and conditions, opening the door to for-profit institutions.

Similar processes are taking place in Further and Higher education with area reviews and the Green paper.

We call for UCU to take every opportunity to campaign politically and industrially alongside sister education unions to defend education.

Carried as amended

41A.1 West Midlands Regional Committee

Replace the fourth paragraph with: 'We note that Nicky Morgan's retreat on the issue of forced academies was the result of the campaign launched by the NUT and other education unions and campaign groups, and the threat by the NUT of sustained strike action. We condemn continued plans to make some schools in England into academies. Academisation will herald attacks on terms and conditions, opening the door to for profit institutions.'

Carried

Substantive motion

UCU congratulates EIS/FELA (The Further Education Lecturers' Association) on victory in March. Strike action in Scotland won equal pay at every college by April 2019, the lowest paid won a 33 percent rise.

We congratulate NUT members in sixth-form colleges in England for taking national strike action against cuts to funding.

Legal challenges that strikes were 'political' and not a legitimate trade dispute failed. This shows we can't simply accept worst case legal advice.

We note that Nicky Morgan's retreat on the issue of forced academies was the result of the campaign launched by the NUT and other education unions and campaign groups, and the threat by the NUT of sustained strike action. We condemn continued plans to make some schools in England into academies. Academisation will herald attacks on terms and conditions, opening the door to for profit institutions.

Similar processes are taking place in Further and Higher education with area reviews and the Green paper.

We call for UCU to take every opportunity to campaign politically and industrially alongside sister education unions to defend education.


42 Jeremy Corbyn and Labour - University of Dundee

Congress welcomes the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader. His victory represents a welcome advance for all those opposed to cuts and austerity.

Corbyn and John McDonnell, the new Shadow Chancellor, have been good friends and supporters of trade union action, including that by UCU, for many years.

We welcome Corbyn's agreement to speak at UCU's third Cradle to Grave conference, his defence of the Stop the War Campaign in face of media hostility, and his visit to refugees at Calais indicating his committed opposition to racism and anti-refugee, anti-migrant sentiments.

Congress looks forward to working with Jeremy Corbyn and his allies in defending education and building the broadest possible anti-austerity movement on the streets and in our workplaces.

Carried as amended

42A.1 Yorkshire and Humberside Retired Members' Branch

Add at end:

'This movement must resist all "divide and rule" attempts by the government and their friends in the media, particularly those seeking to create divisions between generations, portraying older people as having escaped the effects of austerity and being the cause of all the ills of younger people. UCU members, as educationists, researchers and trade unionists, are well placed to counter these arguments, and expose the real inequalities in our society, which affect all generations.'

Carried

Substantive motion

Congress welcomes the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader. His victory represents a welcome advance for all those opposed to cuts and austerity.

Corbyn and John McDonnell, the new Shadow Chancellor, have been good friends and supporters of trade union action, including that by UCU, for many years.

We welcome Corbyn's agreement to speak at UCU's third Cradle to Grave conference, his defence of the Stop the War Campaign in face of media hostility, and his visit to refugees at Calais indicating his committed opposition to racism and anti-refugee, anti-migrant sentiments.

Congress looks forward to working with Jeremy Corbyn and his allies in defending education and building the broadest possible anti-austerity movement on the streets and in our workplaces.

This movement must resist all 'divide and rule' attempts by the government and their friends in the media, particularly those seeking to create divisions between generations, portraying older people as having escaped the effects of austerity and being the cause of all the ills of younger people. UCU members, as educationists, researchers and trade unionists, are well placed to counter these arguments, and expose the real inequalities in our society, which affect all generations.


43 (EP) Sharing experience in defence of tertiary education - Scottish Retired Members' Branch

Congress notes that the attacks on tertiary education and its core values are UK-wide, but that different trajectories are being followed in the devolved nations, especially Scotland, where FE teachers have recently secured the return of national bargaining and the Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Act (2016) seeks to restore a measure of collegiality to decision-making in universities. Congress calls on NEC to support, and where possible to facilitate financially and organisationally, efforts by UCU members in all parts of the UK to discuss and put into practice, a coordinated strategy in defence of public tertiary education that can be informed by lessons drawn from a variety of experiences throughout the UK.

Carried


Future work, paragraph 5.1


44 Turnaround of work for student/learner feedback - South East Regional Committee

This Congress notes that:

  1. there are widespread differences in practice between institutions concerning
  2. turn round time for the handing in, marking and handing back with feedback of student work
  3. the use of IT by students and by staff in the marking and assessing of work
  4. some of the current practices put enormous stress on staff and are unreasonable
  5. this is a particular problem for those teaching HE in FE institutions.

This Congress asks for a full survey to be carried out by UCU of the practices within institutions and for a model policy to be developed for branches.

Carried


45 Gathering data on outsourcing - Academic Related, Professional Staff Committee

Congress acknowledges the trend of outsourcing of various services in institutions, especially in IT.

Congress, while acknowledging the utility of outsourcing, is concerned that it is often undertaken without appropriate risk assessments or sufficiently careful analysis of total costs of ownership to organisations. In addition there has been a trend of outsourcing to subsidiaries, in which terms and working conditions are worse than those of the parent organisation.

Congress calls for information to be gathered in a systematic way, using Freedom of Information requests where necessary, on the extent and effectiveness of outsourcing, in particular comparisons of what costs were saved or additional investments required for outsourcing services and functions. Congress acknowledges the need to gather data as widely as possible, but, noting the likely expense and resource, suggests that in the first instance the exercise should focus on the outsourcing of IT as a priority.

Carried as amended

45A.1 National Executive Committee

In the second paragraph replace 'while acknowledging the utility of outsourcing' by 'while recognising that outsourcing is a reality'.

In the first sentence of the final paragraph after 'in particular', insert: 'impacts on job security and the terms and conditions of outsourced staff and those retained in-house in the same department, as well as'.

Carried

Substantive motion

Congress acknowledges the trend of outsourcing of various services in institutions, especially in IT.

Congress, while recognising that outsourcing is a reality, is concerned that it is often undertaken without appropriate risk assessments or sufficiently careful analysis of total costs of ownership to organisations. In addition there has been a trend of outsourcing to subsidiaries, in which terms and working conditions are worse than those of the parent organisation.

Congress calls for information to be gathered in a systematic way, using Freedom of Information requests where necessary, on the extent and effectiveness of outsourcing, in particular impacts on job security and the terms and conditions of outsourced staff and those retained in-house in the same department, as well as comparisons of what costs were saved or additional investments required for outsourcing services and functions. Congress acknowledges the need to gather data as widely as possible, but, noting the likely expense and resource, suggests that in the first instance the exercise should focus on the outsourcing of IT as a priority.


New paragraph, Education and training in the health service


46 Attacks on nursing and social work qualifications - West Midlands Regional Committee

Congress notes:

  1. the proposed removal of bursaries for students studying nursing and social work at HE level
  2. the proposed introduction of 'Nursing Associate' apprenticeships at FE level, providing a pathway to lower paid, lower valued nursing and a return to a two-tier qualification system
  3. the long battle for recognition of the value of care work within society as highly skilled and highly necessary professional labour
  4. the impact this policy will have in channelling working class students who would have completed Access nursing courses followed by nursing degrees into lower graded and lower paid qualifications.

Congress resolves:

  1. to work with the NUS, UNISON, the RCN and any other relevant campaigning groups to resist this down-grading of nursing and social work.

Carried


47 (EP) Education and training of care staff - Eastern and Home Counties Retired Members' Branch

Congress notes that the government appear to have accepted that adult social care needs to be better funded and more closely connected with the NHS.

In light of this Congress calls on the NEC to renew its efforts to persuade the Government to establish nationally agreed standards for the education and training of care staff which lead to a recognised qualification.

Carried


New paragraph, Additional Learning Support


48 Composite: Additional Learning Support (ALS) - Hackney Community College, National Executive Committee

Congress recognises:

  1. the importance of ALS - additional teachers/tutors; counselling and mental health services; disability equipment and personal assistants; technology and accessible accommodation; financial and housing advice and support -in creating genuine access to and removing barriers experienced by many students, including disabled, working class and those whose first language is not English
  2. the Tory plans to slash disability benefits, affecting members and students.

Congress deplores the removal of ALS ring-fencing in FE and the imposition of a requirement to pay £200 towards equipment from Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) in HE.

Congress instructs NEC to work with other trade unions, NUS, and other student organisations and disabled-people led organisations to:

  1. support campaigns to stop benefit cuts;
  2. organise a conference, including separate HE and FE sections, to:
    i. plan and launch a campaign for the return of ring-fencing and fully funded ALS in FE
    ii. campaign for the removal of the requirement to pay £200 in HE
    iii. campaign for the increase of the DSA budget and its extension to all students in HE
  3. produce and publicise principles for the provision of ALS and a public statement on the importance of ALS.

Carried

Last updated: 1 June 2016