Further Education Sector Conference 2016

UCU Congress 2016 - Further Education Sector Conference: Thursday 2 June 2016

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 3 of the NEC's report to Congress

Motions:

FE1 - Pay
FE2 - Equal pay 
FE3 - Equality data in further and adult education
FE4 - Campaign to defend further and adult education
FE5 - Defending post-16 provision
FE6 - Apprenticeships, disability and the destruction of FE
FE7 - National campaigning, area reviews and mergers
FE8 - Area reviews
FE9 - Area reviews of further education
FE10 - Area reviews
FE11 - Protect disabled people's access to further education in merger process
FE12 - Cuts to FE, area reviews, and their impact on learning opportunities and access to education
FE13 - FE cuts, area reviews, and gendered impact on learning opportunities
FE14 - Anti-casualisation in a time of FE mergers
FE15 - The impact of area reviews on black communities
FE16 - Area reviews and LGBT concerns
FE17 - ESOL, campaigning to defend further and adult education
FE18 - Cuts to ESOL and the persecution of women
FE19 - Ensuring gender identity equality in prison education
FE20 - Casualisation
FE21 - Workload
FE22 - FE workload and exploitation of staff 
FE23 - Reaching out to ACE workers
FE24 - Supporting small scale ACE events and actions
FE25 - ACE national meeting
FE26 - ACE representation in UCU structures
FE27 - Regional adult and community education anti-casualisation campaigns
FE28 - Greylisting college principals
FE29 - Accountability in further education
FE30 - Prevent - education is not surveillance
FE31 - Learner/student voice
FE32 - Professionalism in post-16 education
FE33 - FE lecturers and QTS
FE34 - Lesson observation
FE35 - Further education and OFSTED
B5 - Additional Learning Support

(EP) advisory marking denoting UCU existing policy


Pay bargaining, paragraph 2


FE1 Pay - Further Education Committee

Conference approves the report on FE England 2015/16 pay round and progress in the 2016/17 round as circulated in FE branch circular FE003.

FE1A.1 London Regional FE Sector Committee

Add:

'Conference instructs that:

  1. this year's claim will include:
    i. £1 extra per hour for all
    ii. all colleges must meet gender pay equality
    iii. hourly paid staff working in the sector for more than two years should be offered a fractional post, the majority of whom are women.
  2. an e-petition be launched promoting these points
  3. ballot members if the AoC refuse our demands.'

Gender pay gap, paragraphs 7.1 - 7.4


FE2 Equal pay - Further Education Committee

This conference:

  1. commends the ongoing work done by UCU in attempting to address the blight of the gender pay gap for our members
  2. welcomes the information provided by the UCU, including via the 'Rate for The Job' website and the report on International Women's Day, which exposed colleges with particularly appalling gender pay gaps
  3. welcomes the bargaining guidance circulated on these matters during 2016
  4. notes the complex issues that impact on both discrimination and systemic disadvantage
  5. but demands that FE employers tackle areas of demonstrable inequality.

Conference calls:

  1. on all branches to demand that their employers work with the UCU on equal pay audits and then agree equal pay action plans, setting out how they will tackle the issue locally and monitor progress each year
  2. for a further report to be presented to the 2017 annual sector conference, outlining the steps that colleges have taken to close the gap.

Carried as amended

FE2A.1 Women Members' Standing Committee

Under "This conference" add a sixth point as follows:

'6. Notes the pay strike action taken across FE the day after equal pay day in 2015.'

Under "Conference calls" add a third point as follows:

'c. For continued commitment to national bargaining for fair and equal pay.'

Carried

Substantive motion

This conference:

  1. commends the ongoing work done by UCU in attempting to address the blight of the gender pay gap for our members
  2. welcomes the information provided by the UCU, including via the 'Rate for The Job' website and the report on International Women's Day, which exposed colleges with particularly appalling gender pay gaps
  3. welcomes the bargaining guidance circulated on these matters during 2016
  4. notes the complex issues that impact on both discrimination and systemic disadvantage
  5. but demands that FE employers tackle areas of demonstrable inequality
  6. notes the pay strike action taken across FE the day after equal pay day in 2015.

Conference calls:

  1. on all branches to demand that their employers work with the UCU on equal pay audits and then agree equal pay action plans, setting out how they will tackle the issue locally and monitor progress each year
  2. for a further report to be presented to the 2017 annual sector conference, outlining the steps that colleges have taken to close the gap
  3. for continued commitment to national bargaining for fair and equal pay.

New paragraph, Equality monitoring in further and adult education


FE3 Equality data in further and adult education - Black Members' Standing Committee

Conference notes the absence of equality monitoring data collected and collated within the further education sector. Successive bodies charged with collecting this data, such as the Learning and Skills Council, have disappeared in the myriad sectoral reorganisations which have taken place over the course of the last decade. There is currently no one repository for this information which could be used for improvement on a range of equality related issues.

This is in stark contrast to the situation in higher education where the Higher Education Statistical Agency collects and publishes data on staff and students on an annual basis.

Conference believes that an equivalent body to HESA needs to be established to cover this work in the further and adult education sectors.

Conference resolves to work with relevant stakeholder organisations and institutions to seek to progress the establishment of a data collection agency for the further and adult education sectors.

Carried as amended

FE3A.1 Anti-Casualisation Committee

Add at end of second paragraph: 'Equalities monitoring data is also not available for the ACE sector.'

Add new paragraph at end: 'Conference notes that the spread of casualised contracts across the sectors is an equalities issue and data on their use should also be gathered.'

Carried

Substantive motion

Conference notes the absence of equality monitoring data collected and collated within the further education sector. Successive bodies charged with collecting this data, such as the Learning and Skills Council, have disappeared in the myriad sectoral reorganisations which have taken place over the course of the last decade. There is currently no one repository for this information which could be used for improvement on a range of equality related issues.

This is in stark contrast to the situation in higher education where the Higher Education Statistical Agency collects and publishes data on staff and students on an annual basis. Equalities monitoring data is also not available for the ACE sector.

Conference believes that an equivalent body to HESA needs to be established to cover this work in the further and adult education sectors.

Conference resolves to work with relevant stakeholder organisations and institutions to seek to progress the establishment of a data collection agency for the further and adult education sectors.

Conference notes that the spread of casualised contracts across the sectors is an equalities issue and data on their use should also be gathered.


New paragraph, Defending post-16 education


FE4 Campaign to defend further and adult education - City and Islington College

Conference notes:

  1. area reviews and cuts in adult education
  2. government's apprenticeship targets
  3. UCU's campaign to defend further and adult education.

Conference believes:

  1. the government's area reviews are an attempt to rationalise the sector
  2. the government's cuts in adult education spell the end to lifelong learning
  3. the government's apprenticeship programme will not provide real training or jobs
  4. UCU's campaign to defend the sector, with notable regional exceptions, has not been high profile enough.

Conference resolves:

  1. to launch a dynamic and high profile campaign to defend the sector
  2. this campaign to include:
    - poster, stickers and flyers
    - regular use of social media to promote the campaign, eg, regular thunder claps
    - a targeted campaign against ministers responsible for the cuts.
  3. to campaign for an alternative vision for further and adult education
  4. UCU's campaign to defend the sector to frame all industrial campaigns.

Carried


FE5 Defending post-16 provision - North West Regional FE Sector Committee

Area reviews will devastate further education. The scope of the reviews means the government is intent on targeting colleges further. The rationalisation intends to cut staff, reduce provision and have fewer colleges. The impact will further exclude hard-to-reach groups and rural communities.

Conference resolves to:

  1. encourage branches to campaign to oppose mergers
  2. produce a model letter to encourage branches to lobby MPs
  3. call on UCU's Strategy and Finance Committee to call a national demonstration to defend further and adult education, in line with UCU Congress policy
  4. invite sister unions to join the demonstration
  5. call on the TUC to organise a lobby of parliament against area reviews
  6. seek to coordinate ballots against attacks to jobs and/or terms and conditions, either before or after mergers and area reviews.

Carried as amended

FE5A.1 Southern Regional FE Sector Committee

Add new 7: 'Ensure the vital and professional support from offices located within the region, to enable branches to achieve the above, is fully resourced.'

Carried

Substantive motion

Area reviews will devastate further education. The scope of the reviews means the government is intent on targeting colleges further. The rationalisation intends to cut staff, reduce provision and have fewer colleges. The impact will further exclude hard-to-reach groups and rural communities.

Conference resolves to:

  1. encourage branches to campaign to oppose mergers
  2. produce a model letter to encourage branches to lobby MPs
  3. call on UCU's Strategy and Finance Committee to call a national demonstration to defend further and adult education, in line with UCU Congress policy
  4. invite sister unions to join the demonstration
  5. call on the TUC to organise a lobby of parliament against area reviews
  6. seek to coordinate ballots against attacks to jobs and/or terms and conditions, either before or after mergers and area reviews
  7. ensure the vital and professional support from offices located within the region, to enable branches to achieve the above, is fully resourced.

FE6 Apprenticeships, disability and the destruction of FE - Disabled Members' Standing Committee

UCU acknowledges that apprenticeships are often poor quality or lack of focus. Many apprenticeships are bogus which give virtually free labour to employers. ATUC report identified six month apprenticeships in retail earning £2.60 an hour, which coincided with a busy retail period. Even with genuine apprenticeships, disabled students face barriers in securing places due to lack of support including reasonable adjustments. 

This is set within the framework of a critically underfunded sector facing more cuts. The AOC said that adult education and training could disappear within five years. A statement from UCU called these cuts a devastating blow and once again it is disabled workers who feel the hardest impact in redundancy selection and lack of appropriate support in the workplace.

This conference calls on UCU to ensure the issues facing disabled members and students are integrated into the campaigns and lobbying for decent jobs, education and apprenticeships in FE.

Carried


Area reviews, paragraphs 5.1 - 5.4


FE7 National campaigning, area reviews and mergers - London Regional FE Sector Committee

Conference notes:

  1. area reviews and mergers are being rolled out across England
  2. colleges in London have pre-empted this and announced mergers
  3. area reviews are predicated on fewer colleges, rationalisation of provision, less funding and a narrower curriculum
  4. mergers in Scotland have reduced colleges from 37 to 13 and have cost more than 9% of jobs and reduced provision.

Believes:

  1. UCU should oppose the government's proposals for 'fewer colleges'
  2. mergers will lead to attacks on provision, jobs and contracts
  3. this is the biggest attack on the sector since incorporation.

Resolves:

  1. launch a serious national campaign to oppose government's plans to reduce the number of colleges
  2. put forward an alternative vision that defends further and adult funding and a college in the heart of the community
  3. defend every branch fighting mergers and attacks on jobs and conditions.

Carried as amended

FE7A.1 Composite: Further Education Committee, London Regional Committee

Add under 'Resolves': 

'iv. that all local deals relating to pay and terms of conditions must go before the relevant regional FE officers

v. to set up a national ratification panel to oversee agreements

vi. this panel to have a vice chair and 4 others which are elected at sector conference

vii. an interim panel to be set up immediately after conference elected by FEC

viii. to produce an agreement handbook clarifying what are acceptable deals and what are not

ix. to recognise that branch sovereignty remains intact.'

Carried

FE7A.2 Anti-Casualisation Committee

Add at end:

iv. to ensure the issue of casualisation is prominent in merger discussion and to fight for the best possible contracts for staff currently on casualised contracts.

Carried

Substantive motion

Conference notes:

  1. area reviews and mergers are being rolled out across England
  2. colleges in London have pre-empted this and announced mergers
  3. area reviews are predicated on fewer colleges, rationalisation of provision, less funding and a narrower curriculum
  4. mergers in Scotland have reduced colleges from 37 to 13 and have cost more than 9% of jobs and reduced provision.

Believes:

  1. UCU should oppose the government's proposals for 'fewer colleges'
  2. mergers will lead to attacks on provision, jobs and contracts
  3. this is the biggest attack on the sector since incorporation.

Resolves:

  1. launch a serious national campaign to oppose government's plans to reduce the number of colleges
  2. put forward an alternative vision that defends further and adult funding and a college in the heart of the community
  3. defend every branch fighting mergers and attacks on jobs and conditions
  4. that all local deals relating to pay and terms of conditions must go before the relevant regional FE officers 
  5. to set up a national ratification panel to oversee agreements
  6. this panel to have a vice chair and 4 others which are elected at sector conference
  7. an interim panel to be set up immediately after conference elected by FEC
  8. to produce an agreement handbook clarifying what are acceptable deals and what are not
  9. to recognise that branch sovereignty remains intact
  10. to ensure the issue of casualisation is prominent in merger discussion and to fight for the best possible contracts for staff currently on casualised contracts.

FE8 Area reviews - East Midlands Regional FE Sector Committee

Conferences notes the policy of setting up 'Area Reviews' to create 'larger and more financially stable' colleges by merging current ones across a large geographical area. Conference believes that insufficient evidence has been produced to show that:

  1. larger means more financially stable
  2. students will not be disadvantaged
  3. there will not be largescale job losses
  4. a large college will serve the needs of a particular area as well as existing provision.

Conference resolves that it is opposed to all future mergers as a matter of principle until and unless evidence is produced that satisfies local branches that sufficiently addresses the above four points.

Conference instructs the NEC to:

  1. work with opposition parties and groups to defeat these plans at a national level.
  2. work with branches and regional offices to defeat plans at a local level where appropriate.

Carried


FE9 Area reviews of further education - Southern Regional FE Sector Committee

This sector conference deplores the ongoing government programme of area reviews of further education, caused by the same government which systematically refuses to fund post-16 education adequately, whilst effectively making it compulsory for young people up to 18 to stay in education.

This is staggeringly hypocritical in that the government is exhorting colleges to work collaboratively and reduce competition whilst supporting a blinkered target-driven short-term approach to education. It will also lead to reduced and poorer quality of educational provision and de-skill the UK.

We therefore call upon the FEC to actively campaign together with other unions, the NUS, parents and the wider community against these attacks on our sector and on the futures of the students who depend on us.

Carried


FE10 Area reviews - City of Oxford College (Activate Learning)

Conference opposes the government decision to introduce area reviews of post-16 provision. The intention is to rationalise provision by forcing mergers and/or closures of FE colleges as well as driving down staff costs. This will mean loss of opportunities for students as well as the creation of mega-colleges which will be unresponsive to local community needs. In addition, the process of the reviews is flawed by being on such a short timescale, not including post-16 school provision and also not allowing for democrat input into the process.

Carried


FE11 Protect disabled people's access to further education in merger process - Disabled Members' Standing Committee

Conference notes:

  1. the area review process AIMS: fewer colleges; curriculum specialisation; increased e-learning, apprenticeships & private partnerships; larger class sizes; efficiency savings
  2. uneven participation of disabled learners in FE & apprenticeships—with 16% of learners in traditional FE declaring a disability and only 8.6% in apprenticeships
  3. a sharp fall in participation of disabled learners in L2+ courses (11% compared to 22% below level 2).

Potential impacts on disabled learners include:

  1. decreased access where FE courses are replaced with apprenticeships
  2. decreasing participation in higher level courses as concentration means greater distance to travel
  3. decreased access to learner support due to efficiency savings
  4. increased isolation as courses move towards e-learning.

Conference resolves:

  1. to campaign to protect disabled people's access to FE in the Area Review process, working with campaigns, NUS and other unions
  2. to research and highlight impact of merger on disabled people.

Carried


FE12 Composite: Cuts to FE, area reviews, and their impact on learning opportunities and access to education - Blackburn College, West Midlands Regional FE Sector Committee, Croydon College, Mid Cheshire College, Barnsley College, Chesterfield College

Conference notes:

  1. the unprecedented attack on further & adult education funding by a 24% cut
  2. the drastic cutting of ESOL funding by £45 million in 2015
  3. the swift undertaking of the FE area review programme, with the intention of creating 'fewer, more resilient colleges'
  4. that 61% of FE students are female, and 15% from ethnic minorities
  5. that initial area reviews targeted urban areas with high deprivation
  6. the misuse of public money and time, and failure to formally consult with unions and students in the review process
  7. the important work carried out by regional offices, branch reps and campaign groups in working to preserve access to FE.

Conference further notes:

  1. the impact all of these have in terms of job losses, course closures and loss of student opportunities.

An attack on FE is an attack on ordinary people's access to education which particularly affects marginalised groups. This further reinforces inequalities in society, with women returning to education and migrant women particularly affected.

We therefore call on the union to:

  1. launch a national campaign in defence of further education which highlights the work colleges do in raising equality in society, their work in our communities and the need for free access to education for all
  2. gather data to record and publicise the equalities impact of the area review programme and use this in lobbying for restoration of FE funding
  3. support all branches in action against redundancies and course closures.

Carried


FE13 FE cuts, area reviews, and gendered impact on learning opportunities - Lambeth College, Chesterfield College, Women Members' Standing Committee, Croydon College

Conference notes:

  1. the unprecedented attack on adult education funding last year
  2. the withdrawal of JSA ESOL funding last July
  3. the ongoing FE area review with the stated aim of 'fewer colleges'.

Conference further notes:

  1. the impact all of these have in terms of job losses, course closures and loss of student opportunities.

An attack on FE is an attack on working class access to education which particularly affects marginalised groups. This further reinforces inequalities in society, with women returning to education after motherhood and migrant women particularly affected. We therefore call on the union to:

  1. launch a national campaign in defence of colleges which highlights the work colleges do in raising equality in society
  2. gather data to record and publicise the equalities impact of the area review and use this to lobby for restoration of FE funding.

Carried as amended

FE13A.1 LGBT Members' Standing Committee

Add after 'women particularly affected' and before 'We therefore call' insert:

'FE also provides invaluable opportunities to (re)discover academic and vocational abilities including for LGBT people whose experiences at school age have held-back progress. FE makes an exceptional contribution to the self-fulfilment of LGBT learners and teachers.'

Carried

Substantive motion

Conference notes:

  1. the unprecedented attack on adult education funding last year
  2. the withdrawal of JSA ESOL funding last July
  3. the ongoing FE area review with the stated aim of 'fewer colleges'.

Conference further notes:

  1. the impact all of these have in terms of job losses, course closures and loss of student opportunities.

An attack on FE is an attack on working class access to education which particularly affects marginalised groups. This further reinforces inequalities in society, with women returning to education after motherhood and migrant women particularly affected. FE also provides invaluable opportunities to (re)discover academic and vocational abilities including for LGBT people whose experiences at school age have held-back progress. FE makes an exceptional contribution to the self-fulfilment of LGBT learners and teachers. We therefore call on the union to:

  1. launch a national campaign in defence of colleges which highlights the work colleges do in raising equality in society
  2. gather data to record and publicise the equalities impact of the area review and use this to lobby for restoration of FE funding.

FE14 Anti-casualisation in a time of FE mergers - Anti-Casualisation Committee

Conference notes that the FE sector is facing a time of upheaval with area reviews and many colleges facing mergers. Sometimes in such times it easy for issues such as fighting casual contracts to be de-prioritised. 

Conference reaffirms that resisting the use of casual contracts and improving contracts for those currently on them is a central tenet of UCU activities.

Conference resolves to:

  1. ensure that the case of casual staff will not be forgotten during mergers
  2. that branches that are merging are supported to ensure that members are given the best contracts possible when colleges merge
  3. that if the opportunity to move casual staff onto permanent contracts has not been discussed in the relation to mergers that it is brought to the table
  4. call on UCU to produce a regular quarterly newsletter informing members working in FE and in particular ACE of strategic changes at the workplace.

Carried


FE15 The impact of area reviews on black communities - Black Members' Standing Committee

Conference notes:

  1. that the FE area reviews are being hastily carried out with no meaningful consultation with students or staff
  2. irrespective of the outcomes of the reviews, the government's intention is to 'have fewer, larger more resilient colleges'
  3. the initial reviews have been focused on cities and urban areas with high proportions of black communities and deprived areas
  4. 15% of FE students are black.

Conference believes that:

  1. mergers and closures of FE provision resulting from the reviews will see college sites removed from hard to reach inner city areas
  2. students will have to travel further to access education or be deterred.

Conference resolves to:

  1. ensure that all the campaign materials produced by UCU to defend colleges highlight the racist impact of the shrinking of the FE sector
  2. demand the government's equality impact assessment for its recommendations made from all area reviews.

Carried


FE16 Area reviews and LGBT concerns - LGBT Members' Standing Committee

FE colleges have been, and continue to be, a major part of many UK towns and cities, providing education and jobs.

Conference is concerned about the impact of the area reviews on FE and the impact on LGBT staff and students, particularly in rural areas where there may be huge job losses and cuts in provision.

Many LGBT students have suffered bullying at school and the FE environment provides a safer environment to pursue their goals in learning and in life.

Conference calls on UCU to:

  1. promote the positive impact FE provision has for LGBT learners compared to schools
  2. take every opportunity to emphasise the importance of the inclusive and supportive provision and cultures of FE, and to stress that more, not less, needs to be done to meet the needs of LGBT people who experience bullying and harassment
  3. promote branch and regional organising on LGBT equality.

Carried


New paragraph, cuts to ESOL


FE17 ESOL, campaigning to defend further and adult education London regional - FE sector committee

Conference notes:

  1. ESOL funding was cut by a further £45m at the start of the academic year
  2. David Cameron's comments attacking migrants and pledge of £20m for ESOL
  3. campaigning to defend further and adult education including parliamentary lobbies, marches on BIS, on the London Assembly and Downing Street
  4. the strike on November 10th in defence of pay and education was supported by the Labour front bench who pledged to involve UCU in forming education policy
  5. the autumn budget made a four-year commitment in real terms for 16-19 and adult funding
  6. the defend further education conference initiated by London Region in March.

Conference believes:

  1. that campaigning to defend further and adult education has produced results and raised the profile of UCU and the sector.

Conference resolves:

  1. to call on the FEC to produce a national plan to defend further and adult education.

Carried


FE18 (EP) Cuts to ESOL and the persecution of women - Women Members' Standing Committee, Lambeth College

Conference notes:

  1. ESOL funding has been cut by 160m since 2008
  2. 45m was taken from ESOL last summer, on top of 24% cut from the adult skills budget
  3. 2/3 of ESOL students are female
  4. global conflict including the Syria crisis has created the biggest displacement of humans of our time
  5. ramping up of racist and misogynistic messages from the government/media
  6. the Prevent program and the damage this is doing in our education system
  7. the dramatic increase in attacks on Muslims (especially Muslim women)
  8. threatened deportation of spousal migrants who do not successfully progress in ESOL within 2.5 years.

We call on the union to:

  1. campaign for restoration of ESOL funding and access to free English lessons for all migrants and asylum seekers, and no deportations
  2. create resources for the educational promotion of respect, understanding and compassion for refugees and migrants.

Carried


Prison educators, paragraphs 9.1 - 9.4


FE19 Ensuring gender identity equality in prison education - LGBT Members' Standing Committee

Conference welcomes the House of Commons report 'Transgender Equality' (2016) and the Forum report 'Pride and Prejudice in Education'. Conference notes that the former welcomed a revision to the prison service instruction about transsexual prisoners and called for clarity on the situation (recommendation 60). Conference further notes that both reports identify significant lack of gender identity specific training. Awareness around gender identity needs to be improved building on the achievements of specialist organisations such as Transgender Europe.

Conference supports the notable call for training in prisons and calls on FEC to ensure that:

  1. UCU gender identity equality training is provided targeting specifically members in prison education
  2. gender identity awareness is promoted in a variety of ways including a briefing highlighting issues experienced in prison education, and support for an annual Gender Identity Awareness day
  3. UCU engages and works with Transgender Europe, and builds relationships with other Trans specific organisations.

Carried


Casualisation, paragraphs 11.1 - 11.4


FE20 Casualisation - Further Education Committee

Conference notes that the use and abuse of precarious contracts in post-secondary education, as well as in the economy more broadly, is currently a high-profile public issue.

Conference welcomes UCU's work to build pressure on FE colleges to engage with the union, including the recent day of action and the nationally coordinated push on colleges to engage over creating more secure jobs.

Conference reaffirms the high priority of the union's 'Stamp Out Casual Contracts' campaign and resolves to continue its work in building greater national public pressure on this issue as well as working to ensure that branches are supported in building vibrant local campaigns that draw on best practice and that can deliver greater job security for casualised staff.

Carried as amended

FE20A.1 Women Members' Standing Committee

At the end of the first paragraph, after "a high profile public issue", insert:

'which impacts disproportionately on women in FE; including difficulties in accessing childcare for unpredictable hours, and the threat of permanent loss of hours or shift to unfavourable work as a result of maternity leave.'

After the final paragraph add a new paragraph:

'Conference calls for research on the number of women in FE who suffer precarious work, lack of access to maternity pay, reliance on tax credits, job insecurity as a result of maternity leave, and include this in the campaign against casualisation.'

Carried

Substantive motion

Conference notes that the use and abuse of precarious contracts in post-secondary education, as well as in the economy more broadly, is currently a high-profile public issue which impacts disproportionately on women in FE; including difficulties in accessing childcare for unpredictable hours, and the threat of permanent loss of hours or shift to unfavourable work as a result of maternity leave.

Conference welcomes UCU's work to build pressure on FE colleges to engage with the union, including the recent day of action and the nationally coordinated push on colleges to engage over creating more secure jobs.

Conference reaffirms the high priority of the union's 'Stamp Out Casual Contracts' campaign and resolves to continue its work in building greater national public pressure on this issue as well as working to ensure that branches are supported in building vibrant local campaigns that draw on best practice and that can deliver greater job security for casualised staff.

Conference calls for research on the number of women in FE who suffer precarious work, lack of access to maternity pay, reliance on tax credits, job insecurity as a result of maternity leave, and include this in the campaign against casualisation.


Workload and safe, sustainable workplaces for UCU members, paragraphs 13.1 - 13.2


FE21 Workload - Further Education Committee

Conference notes the survey of UCU members to better understand the nature and composition of workloads across all parts of the post-16 education sector, and whether these have changed in recent years.

Conference calls for updated bargaining guidance to be made available to branches during 2016/17, which will provide practical measures to tackle the various factors that are influencing members' workload concerns.

Carried


FE22 FE workload and exploitation of staff - Southern Regional FE Sector Committee

This sector conference notes the increasing and spiralling workload of lecturers and the expectation that staff will work for free. The goodwill of lecturers is abused and exploited and unreasonable workload is now seen as a normal occupational hazard of the job.

It is high time to explode the myth that students will suffer if we are not willing to work beyond our contractual hours. In reality, the opposite is the case.

We therefore call upon the FEC to:

  1. develop simple to use software so that members can easily log their time spent on anything work-related
  2. support branches in any disputes over excessive and unreasonable workloads and to counter intimidation in resisting such demands
  3. educate members about working to our legitimate contracts and the detrimental effect overwork has on our own health and the quality of our teaching.

Carried as amended

FE22A.1 Southern Regional FE Sector Committee

In point 2. after 'support branches' insert: 'and individual members'

Carried

FE22A.2 Disabled Members' Standing Committee

Add point 4:

'The UCU document (April 2016) has highlighted 50 FE colleges with the highest levels of precarious contracts. This has profound effects on disabled members within the sector especially with regard to reasonable adjustments. We call upon UCU to ensure that branches actively highlight the impact of these dreadful working conditions on disabled members.'

Carried

Substantive motion

This sector conference notes the increasing and spiralling workload of lecturers and the expectation that staff will work for free. The goodwill of lecturers is abused and exploited and unreasonable workload is now seen as a normal occupational hazard of the job.

It is high time to explode the myth that students will suffer if we are not willing to work beyond our contractual hours. In reality, the opposite is the case.

We therefore call upon the FEC to:

  1. develop simple to use software so that members can easily log their time spent on anything work-related
  2. support branches and individual members in any disputes over excessive and unreasonable workloads and to counter intimidation in resisting such demands
  3. educate members about working to our legitimate contracts and the detrimental effect overwork has on our own health and the quality of our teaching
  4. the UCU document (April 2016) has highlighted 50 FE colleges with the highest levels of precarious contracts. This has profound effects on disabled members within the sector especially with regard to reasonable adjustments. We call upon UCU to ensure that branches actively highlight the impact of these dreadful working conditions on disabled members.

Adult and Community Education, paragraphs 14.1 - 14.3


FE23 Reaching out to ACE workers - Hackney ACE

Conference notes that there is a significant reduction in ACE provision by local authorities. Many smaller organisations, including those in the third sector, are delivering adult education. ACE workers are increasingly dispersed and isolated and less likely to be union members. It is increasingly hard in this context to organise against job losses, eroding conditions, increasing casualisation and use of volunteers.

Previous conferences have committed to reach out to ACE workers. It's time for UCU to take this up before the sector becomes more fragmented.

Conference instructs officers and NEC to:

  1. campaign to defend publicly funded ACE delivered by professional, paid teachers
  2. commit resources to specifically promote membership within smaller ACE organisations
  3. prioritise supporting ACE members to establish new branches and build weak ones
  4. approach this in a way that recognises the specific context of the ACE sector.

Carried


FE24 Supporting small scale ACE events and actions - Brent Start

Conference notes that the structure and scale of ACE organisations and their UCU branches differ significantly from HE and FE. Current UCU regulations and approaches regarding numbers of members required for meetings and actions to be deemed viable and effective are in some cases inappropriate for the ACE sector. In order to build this sector events and actions will need to start on a small scale.

Conference instructs the FEC to:

  1. review regulations and approach in relation to the ACE sector and report back to the ACE National Meeting in November
  2. recognise the value of, and support, small scale events and actions which will enable the ACE sector to grow and become more organised.

Carried


FE25 ACE national meeting - Brent Start

Conference notes that there is a need to increase attendance at the ACE national meeting. Members' input into the organisation of a successful meeting is crucial. The right choice of speakers can be a significant draw regarding attendance and success of the meeting.

Conference instructs relevant national officers to:

  1. consult with active ACE branches and members to develop new approaches to promote the national meeting
  2. give members more control over the agenda, speakers and time allocation of the day
  3. ensure speakers adhere to the values and objectives of UCU as a trade union.

Carried


FE26 ACE representation in UCU structures - Hackney ACE

Conference recognises the barriers to participation of ACE in the democratic structures of UCU due to the average size of branches and workplaces. Conference instructs the FEC to:

  1. research current barriers and possible solutions, for example, to the process of electing ACE delegates to congress
  2. look at ACE participation in equalities and anti-casualisation meetings
  3. report findings to the National ACE meeting.

Carried


FE27 Regional adult and community education anti-casualisation campaigns - Anti-Casualisation Committee

Conference recognises that ACE is the weakest sector in UCU and one of the hardest to organise in. The ACE sector has a high proportion of staff on casual contracts. Many members in ACE have not seen a rise in the hourly pay rate for over a decade. There has not been a focused campaign to improve pay and contracts in ACE. A trade union's responsibility is to fight for the conditions of its weakest sector.

Conference resolves to:

  1. use regional structures to organise anti-casualisation meetings aimed at giving practical advice to ACE members to campaign to improve their pay and contracts
  2. make resources available to share good practice and case studies where better contracts have been won
  3. encourage FE or HE branches to pair up with ACE branches in their vicinity and support these campaigns.

Carried


New paragraph, Greylisting and accountability


FE28 Greylisting college principals - Barnsley College

Conference notes the shoddy actions of some college principals when making and then breaking deals with UCU branches.

Conference also notes the UCU's willingness to garner such deals via private conversations with principals, and a subsequent unwillingness to pursue the matter when branches are let down.

This conference believes that whilst some deals may not be legally binding, the inaction of UCU has a negative impact on members' confidence, and gives a green light to principals to use such methods without any concern for their reputation and future dealings with the UCU.

Conference resolves to:

  1. task the FEC with creating a grey-list of college principals who have acted as outlined above or similar
  2. develop a clear strategy for safeguarding against broken promises, as part of National Pay Plus and guidance and support for local disputes.

Carried


FE29 Accountability in further education - New College Nottingham

Conference notes:

  1. many of the difficulties faced by the sector are caused by two things:
    a. a chronic lack of funding
    b. poor use of that money by incompetent and/or nefarious management.
  2. such managers often go on to other similar roles in the sector, leaving a trail of destruction behind them
  3. conference passed motion FE22 last year in an attempt to deal with this
  4. there is no indication that the NEC carried out this motion effectively.

Conference resolves to instruct the NEC to take meaningful action on the above motion. This to include:

  1. working with regional committees to compile a central list of principals and senior managers who have failed in their duties to properly spend money within their institutions
  2. to monitor the movement of these managers around the country and forewarn branches and the relevant regional committee as appropriate.

FE29A.1 South East Regional Committee

In point 1., delete 'two' and replace with 'three' before 'things' and add: 'c. The absence of democratic control and accountability in FE.'

Add third resolution at end of motion: 'c. Lobbying for the end of Incorporation and a return of full democratic control and accountability in FE.'


New paragraph, Prevent


FE30 (EP) Composite: Prevent - education is not surveillance - Further Education Committee, North West Regional FE Sector Committee

This conference restates its concerns with regards to the current government's attempts to reshape the role of FE lecturers in its counter-terrorism surveillance strategy.

Conference notes:

  1. the duties imposed on lecturers under the prevent programme fundamentally alter the relationship between staff and students
  2. instead of key lecturer's role being to stimulate a broader societal awareness and critical analysis, we are being required to monitor and report on any non-standard behaviour, with a particular focus on a religious/racial group
  3. that Prevent has been part of the government's counter terrorism strategy for over 10 years
  4. that it was placed on a statutory footing in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015.

Believes:

  1. that Prevent is based upon a flawed understanding of the causes of terrorism and the supposed 'radicalisation' of young people
  2. that as centres of education, college and university campuses should be the site of free speech and open debate
  3. that the Prevent duty inhibits widespread discussion
  4. demonises Muslim communities
  5. places an unacceptable responsibility upon teachers and lecturers to spy on Muslim students
  6. there are specific questions for FE branches with the implementation of Prevent such as the inclusion of 'British values' into lesson observation criteria and specific FE compliances required by the inspectorate on colleges, eg. Ofsted in England.

Resolves:

  1. that our union develops a well-grounded strategy in relation to the new surveillance society and supports any individual or group of members who oppose the onerous duties imposed by government legislation
  2. to work with students and others in opposing the Prevent agenda.

FE30A.1 LGBT Members' Standing Committee

After bullet point 4 add new bullet points:

'5. Some training on Prevent has highlighted the positive impact of youth work but cuts to youth work services have deprived some areas of such support.

6. Insufficient regard for diversity, including invisibility of LGBT Muslims, can lead to misconceptions and increased potential of isolation. This needs challenging with clearer presentation of that diversity.'


New paragraph, Learner/student voice


FE31 Learner/student voice - South East Regional FE Sector Committee

This conference notes the motion passed by Congress in 2015, which agreed to prioritise the learner/student voice campaign and to provide a model policy and legal and practical advice to branches.

This conference notes that the learner/student voice is even more of an issue in FE than it was before and that branches would welcome both a model policy and legal and practical advice.


New paragraph, professionalism


FE32 Professionalism in post-16 education - Further Education Committee

Conference notes:

  1. the failure of the IfL to embody a professional formation of teachers in the sector
  2. that the IfL was largely perceived as a 'CPD enforcement' body and that it did not speak for the interests of those it purported to represent
  3. that there is nevertheless a place for various types of formation supported by but separate and independent from UCU. These may take many forms from single issue campaigns to formal professional groups
  4. that UCU should not be discouraged by the IfL experience into turning its back on any subsequent attempts of teachers in the sector to form or join professional associations.

Conference instructs the NEC to monitor the various ways in which teachers in the sector are working together as professionals, particularly where formal structures and organisations are being set up and lend support to such groups as appropriate.

Carried


FE33 FE lecturers and QTS - Yorkshire and Humberside Regional FE Sector Committee

Increasing stress, reducing pay (in real terms) and significant potential loss of job security, due to area reviews, is devaluing the professional status of FE lecturers. Sadly the excellent campaign to secure equal status of QTLS with QTS, while successful, has not, unfortunately, resulted in parity. QTLS is not accepted by all within the UK as equal to QTS and even less so internationally, nor does it give FE lecturers access to career paths and promotion that would be available with QTS.

FEC is therefore asked to review the merits of campaigning for eligible FE lecturers to be able to apply for QTS.

Remitted


New paragraph, Lesson observation and Ofsted


FE34 (EP) Lesson observation - South East Regional FE Sector Committee

This Conference notes that:

  1. the common inspection framework has been adopted for inspections and UCU is committed to campaigning against all attempts to introduce a standardised observation policy or practice based on graded results
  2. many colleges have introduced learning walks and other methods of unofficial observation.

With that in mind, so that all providers ensure that all lecturers, teachers, tutors and instructors receive fair treatment, this conference agrees that a national campaign should be mounted to create, promote and introduce a standardised UCU model lesson observation policy for FE.

This policy will:

  1. ensure that providers commit to promoting a culture of collegiate peer observations and self-directed Continued Personal Development
  2. ensure a reduction in workplace stress
  3. remove punitive policies
  4. bring a national strategy to workplace observations
  5. remove the link between observation outcome and performance related pay
  6. remove any link to capability and take into account other measures of performance.

Carried


FE35 Further education and OFSTED - City of Oxford College (Activate Learning)

Conference notes Sir Michael Wilshaw's negative view of FE colleges claiming in a recent speech that the bottom 20% of students at his previous school ended up at a local FE college, 'usually a large impersonal and amorphous institution, and did badly'. He also claimed that 'too much post-16 provision is 'poor' adding that 'educational provision, for many children who do not succeed at 16 or who would prefer an alternative to higher education, is inadequate at best and non-existent at worst'. Conference condemns this smear against FE which casts serious doubt on OFSTED's view of FE.

Carried


B5 Additional Learning Support - Hackney Community College

Conference recognises:

  1. the importance of ALS: additional teachers/tutors; counselling and mental health services; equipment & personal assistances; financial and housing advice and support in creating genuine access to FE
  2. Tory plans to slash disability benefits will affect members and students
  3. mergers and 19+ loans will affect access for disabled students.

Conference deplores the removal of ALS ring fencing in FE.

Congress instructs FE committee to have a member led campaign, working with other unions, NUS, student and disabled people organisations to:

  1. support campaigns to stop benefit cuts
  2. organise a conference involving the above groups and HE members, to plan and launch a campaign for fully funded ALS which provides what individual students need to support learning and involves campaigning to return ALS ring fencing; and
  3. produce and publicise principles for provision of ALS and a public statement on ALS.
  4. Carried

Last updated: 2 June 2016