In the news this week: 20 November 2015

20 November 2015 | last updated: 15 January 2016

UCU funding report

UCU released a report which found that huge variations infunding further and higher education across the UK in recent years has led to dramatic variations in levels of public resource for students.

Author of the report Dr Gavan Conlon told Times Higher Education that the findings highlighted 'an issue about whether sufficient funding is being allocated to higher education institutions, especially in a period when there is going to be a reduction in the level of spending from central government.'

In a blog for WonkHE Dr Conlon showed how the report demonstrated 'the clear differences in both the level of total funding available within higher education - but also the proportions contributed by individuals privately and the public purse'.

Nurse review of research councils

Following the publication of the Nurse Review into research councils UCU called on the government to ensure a more joined-up approach to future research funding which takes into account the views of staff. UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'It is disappointing that the staffing dimension was absent from both the terms of reference of the Nurse Review and this report. Insecure employment is a problem at the heart of the current research model and the proposed new body, Research UK, must take urgent steps to address this.

Anti-casualisation day of action

Thousands of staff members at colleges and universities across the UK took part in a day of action against zero-hours contracts and other forms of temporary contracts this week using the hashtag #anticas15 to highlight their support and their own personal stories. The Guardian trailed the event in an article comparing casualisation in the education sector in the US and UK.

Miguel Beltran petition

A 5,000-strong petition calling for the swift resolution of jailed Colombian academic Dr Miguel Beltran's appeal process was handed in to the Colombian Embassy in London on Thursday by Justice for Colombia and UCU. UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt said: 'This petition sends a clear message to the Colombian authorities that attempts to intimidate academic staff and restrict academic freedom will not be tolerated by the international community.'

Open University strike

The forthcoming industrial at Open University centres across the country was covered by a variety of regional press. UCU OU branch president Pauline Collins told the Manchester Evening News 'Nobody wants to take strike action, but we feel this is our only alternative. The ball is now firmly in the university's court and we hope they will see sense and reject these plans'.

The dispute was also covered by the Birmingham Mail, the Oxford Mail, the Yorkshire Evening Post and other regional press.

FE college protests in Wales

College staff protested at sites across Wales over the Welsh Government's proposed £26m cuts to further education budgets. UCU policy officer, Lisa Edwards told Wales Online, 'We share the Welsh Government's vision for creating firm educational foundations for the future, however, without the inclusion of the further education sector and particularly part-time adult courses, lifelong education for all will become a thing of the past'.