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Further education sector conference

FE1 Industrial, organising and campaigning strategy - Further education committee

Conference supports FEC's industrial, organising and campaigning strategy developed following the 2009/10 pay ballot.

In the context of unprecedented attacks on public sector spending and funding of education in FE in particular conference calls upon FEC to:

  • Continue fighting job losses and campaigning vigorously in defence of the sector against the devastating funding cuts
  • Support branches fighting job losses by aggregating vigorously in defence of the sector against devastating job cuts
  • Develop and support branch activity on tackling excessive workloads and bullying
  • Seeking to organise instructor/trainer/associate teacher staff with a view to improving their pay and conditions
  • Seeking to build an alliance for action against and pay freeze and/or attacks on public sector pensions with other FE unions, and with other trade unions across the public sector.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE1A.1 - Anti-casualisation committee

In 4th bullet point, add '/agency' after 'associate teacher'

CARRIED

CBC advice, amendments FE1A.2 and FE1A.3 (below): if FE1A.2 is passed, FE1A.3 falls.

FE1A.2 - City and Islington (Camden Road)

Change 'Seeking' to 'Seek' in bullet points 4 and 5.

Add new bullet point at end:

Conference calls on NEC to approach other unions to jointly organise a national public sector demonstration and call for a one day public sector strike in defence of jobs and services in early Autumn and demand that the TUC endorse such a call.

CARRIED

FE1A.3 - Chesterfield College

Change 'Seeking' to 'Seek' in bullet points 4 & 5.

Add bullet point:

Conference calls on NEC to approach other unions and the TUC to jointly organise a national demonstration in the early Autumn against job losses and in defence of public services.

FELL AFTER FE1A.2 CARRIED

FE1A.4 - South East regional FE committee

Insert a third new bullet point: 'Continue to campaign to end the incorporation of FE colleges so that national agreements on pay and conditions are not ignored or watered down by individual college corporations.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference supports FEC's industrial, organising and campaigning strategy developed following the 2009/10 pay ballot.

In the context of unprecedented attacks on public sector spending and funding of education in FE in particular conference calls upon FEC to:

  • Continue fighting job losses and campaigning vigorously in defence of the sector against the devastating funding cuts
  • Support branches fighting job losses by aggregating vigorously in defence of the sector against devastating job cuts
  • Continue to campaign to end the incorporation of FE colleges so that national agreements on pay and conditions are not ignored or watered down by individual college corporations
  • Develop and support branch activity on tackling excessive workloads and bullying
  • Seek to organise instructor/trainer/associate teacher/agency staff with a view to improving their pay and conditions
  • Seek to build an alliance for action against and pay freeze and/or attacks on public sector pensions with other FE unions, and with other trade unions across the public sector
  • Conference calls on NEC to approach other unions to jointly organise a national public sector demonstration and call for a one day public sector strike in defence of jobs and services in early Autumn and demand that the TUC endorse such a call.

CBC advice: motions L6 and L7 (below): if motion L6 is passed, motion L7 falls.

L6 FE pay - Greenwich Community College

FE Conference:

  • Notes the FE pay offer of 0.2% non-consolidated made by the AoC on 17 May
  • Notes the rise in RPI inflation to 5.3% on 18 May
  • Notes continued large rises in Principals' and senior managers' pay
  • Endorses the rejection of the pay offer (in reality a potential pay cut of 5.1%) by negotiators
  • Rejects any attempt by the AoC to use the Tory-Lib climate of cuts and austerity to reduce labour costs and educational provision in colleges and universities
  • Calls on FEC to begin ballot preparations for a national pay campaign with other unions where possible for action early in the new academic year which will protect members' living standards.

CARRIED


L7 Pay Offer 2010/2011 - Stockton Riverside College and Northumberland College

Conference deplores the initial pay offer made by the AOC of 0.2% increase compounded by the insult of non-consolidation. Conference recognises that at least one further negotiation meeting has been arranged for 1st July, 2010. Conference therefore instructs the FEC that once the national negotiators have determined that no further progress can be made on the AOC offer, all branch officers should be instructed to convene branch meetings to determine the views of the branch on whether to accept the offer or reject the offer and call for a ballot on industrial action. The results of such consultations to be reported for consideration at the following FEC meeting which will determine subsequent action based on the results of the consultation.

FELL AFTER L6 CARRIED


L8 AoC Pay Offer - New College Nottingham

Conference condemns the AoC's decision to offer a 0.2% increase in pay and instructs the NEC to campaign for a vastly improved offer.

Conference further notes the fact that inflation is currently at a level significantly above 0.2% and that the AoC has effectively asked us to accept a pay cut. This is an insult to all FE Lecturers and will not be tolerated.

Conference reiterates UCU policy that we demand the same rate of pay as school-teachers.

CARRIED


FE2 IOU campaign - Nelson and Colne College

FEC welcomes the aggregated ballot and IOU campaign for parity within the sector. It calls for UCU to support further energetic campaigning, including coordinated industrial action, to ensure that all colleges implement the recommendations made in 2004 as soon as possible.

CARRIED


FE3 Principals' Pay - Barnet College (Barnet and Hendon)

Conference:

  • deplores the average 5.8% 08/09 English Principals' pay rises published by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) when the national pay deal for FE staff was a staged 3.5% (if indeed they got it).
  • notes the absurdity of this annual trend in an environment of successive budget cuts.
  • praises the General Secretaries of UCU and UNISON for their prompt public condemnation of the rises.
  • supports UNISON's call for a legal cap on principals' pay.
  • rejects the Association of Colleges' (AoC) contemptible efforts to obfuscate the issue.
  • instructs the General Secretary to liaise with UNISON with the intention of jointly demanding an immediate explanation from the incoming Minister for FE as to how this long-running, scandalous misuse of public money is to be eradicated.

CARRIED


FE4 Consulting and representing members - Northern regional FE committee

It is noted with concern that following the last sector pay conference there was a disparity between the mood of conference and that of members. Conference instructs the National Executive to undertake detailed consultations with branches prior to balloting for industrial action and consequently only those matters discussed with branches will be debated and voted upon.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE4A.1 - Further education committee

Delete first sentence.

Delete text after 'action' and replace with: 'and provide support to branches to encourage maximum representation at special sector conferences.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

It is noted with concern that following the last sector pay conference there was a disparity between the mood of conference and that of members. Conference instructs the National Executive to undertake detailed consultations with branches prior to balloting for industrial action and provide support to branches to encourage maximum representation at special sector conferences.


FE5 Change to the FE pay year (AoC-England) - Yorkshire and Humberside regional FE committee, Sheffield College (City, Hillsborough and Norton branches)

In the context that

  • FE colleges generally, do not receive definitive learner numbers or funding allocations until much later in the academic year
  • FE colleges generally, no longer make nationally recommended pay awards covering 1 August to 31 July

This FE Sector Conference asks that the FE Committee

  • Acknowledges that local implementation of national pay awards would have one less complication if the pay year were to be brought in line with definitive funding allocations
  • Decides that the pay year should be changed to run from 1 February to 31 January
  • Instructs the FE negotiators to pursue an interim 18 month pay award as soon as is practicable so that the pay year can be changed without members losing 'back pay'.

LOST


FE6 Monitoring of redundancies of casualised staff in FE - Anti-casualisation committee

The FESC calls on the FEC to monitor changes in terms and conditions and redundancies involving casualised staff in all areas of further education on a regional basis each term and report these findings to the scheduled meetings of the Anti-casualisation Committee.

CARRIED


FE7 Statutory employment rights of casualised staff - Anti-casualisation committee

Given the fact that the number of casualised staff are increasing in further education, including adult and community education and prison education and that staff with disabilities; those from ethnic minority backgrounds; temporary and part-time staff; hourly paid and agency staff are most vulnerable during cuts in further education, the FESC calls upon the FEC to organise a series of information briefing materials aimed at informing casualised staff of their statutory employment rights.

CARRIED


FE8 Use of agencies in colleges - North West regional FE committee

Conference condemns the cynical use of agencies by colleges to manage provision that is neither temporary nor occasional.

Conference notes the numerous examples of agency staff employed year after year teaching the same courses and working significant numbers of hours.

Conference recognises that:

  1. We have a duty to represent all our members, including those forced into agencies to gain access to employment.
  2. These members are amongst the worst paid and most badly treated members in the sector.

Conference further calls on the FEC to:

  1. Prioritise the fight against the misuse of agencies within colleges.
  2. Draw up a policy that strictly limits the use of agencies, this to be put to the AoC for adoption as a national agreement.
  3. Set up national talks to negotiate on behalf of members, whereby pay and conditions of agency workers are set to mirror our national framework and national agreements.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE8A.1 - Anti-casualisation committee

In paragraph headed 'Conference further calls on the FEC to', add 4th point:

4.  Collect annual statistical information outlining the extent of agency involvement in the sector.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference condemns the cynical use of agencies by colleges to manage provision that is neither temporary nor occasional.

Conference notes the numerous examples of agency staff employed year after year teaching the same courses and working significant numbers of hours.

Conference recognises that:

  1. We have a duty to represent all our members, including those forced into agencies to gain access to employment.
  2. These members are amongst the worst paid and most badly treated members in the sector.

Conference further calls on the FEC to:

  1. Prioritise the fight against the misuse of agencies within colleges.
  2. Draw up a policy that strictly limits the use of agencies, this to be put to the AoC for adoption as a national agreement.
  3. Set up national talks to negotiate on behalf of members, whereby pay and conditions of agency workers are set to mirror our national framework and national agreements.
  4. Collect annual statistical information outlining the extent of agency involvement in the sector.

FE9 Independent Safeguarding Authority - Oxford and Cherwell Valley College

Conference notes the recent creation of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and the requirement, under the ISA framework, to share information under the vetting and barring scheme. While the scheme is designed to offer protection to children and vulnerable adults, there are aspects of the scheme which are problematic. Specifically, even if an allegation is found to be unsubstantiated under disciplinary procedures at colleges, then employers can still refer cases to the ISA if there are 'concerns'. In addition, the burden of proof required is only the 'balance of probability'. The ISA then has the power to bar the individual from working with children and or vulnerable adults after taking into account representations from the individual. There appears to be no appeals procedure. Conference believes that UCU nationally should monitor referrals to the ISA from colleges via UCU branches and seek appropriate safeguards.

CARRIED


FE10 Bullying and workload - South East regional FE committee

FE Sector Conference:

  • is concerned about the increase in cases of bullying in the FE sector and in particular in the number of cases where high and often impossible workloads are used to bully individuals or sections of colleges;
  • instructs its officers to accelerate its bullying and workload campaigns and to focus on and prioritise the health and safety aspects of this issue including how to involve the HSE.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE10A.1 - South Nottingham College

Add: Further instructs its officers to campaign for a specific commitment from employers to a nationally agreed limit on yearly, weekly and daily teaching hours, and to the restoration of adequate abatement in teaching hours in recognition of additional administrative and managerial duties.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

FE Sector Conference:

  • is concerned about the increase in cases of bullying in the FE sector and in particular in the number of cases where high and often impossible workloads are used to bully individuals or sections of colleges;
  • instructs its officers to accelerate its bullying and workload campaigns and to focus on and prioritise the health and safety aspects of this issue including how to involve the HSE.
  • further instructs its officers to campaign for a specific commitment from employers to a nationally agreed limit on yearly, weekly and daily teaching hours, and to the restoration of adequate abatement in teaching hours in recognition of additional administrative and managerial duties.

FE11 OFSTED - College of North East London

Conference notes

  • That Ofsted inspections are conducted by private companies whose judgments are never moderated
  • That the same inspectors who 'fail' an institution can return as consultants to ensure success in re-inspection
  • That internal observation regimes increasingly mirror the Ofsted process
  • That there is no evidence that grading improves teaching standards

Conference believes

  • That the standards set by Ofsted are unachievable in the context of excessive workload and inadequate lesson preparation time
  • That setting teachers up to fail is institutional bullying, corrosive to our self-esteem and psychological well-being
  • That Ofsted is a weapon of mass demoralisation that undermines teachers' confidence to demand better pay and conditions

Conference resolves

  • To demand the abolition of Ofsted
  • To campaign for an end to graded internal observations and punitive observation regimes
  • To demand internal quality control processes that are supportive and developmental

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE11A.1 - Disabled members standing committee

After paragraph beginning 'Conference believes...'

'Conference is dismayed that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has given OFSTED responsibility for monitoring the performance of colleges on Equality and Diversity issues as this will further encourage the tick box culture in the sector.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes

  • That Ofsted inspections are conducted by private companies whose judgments are never moderated
  • That the same inspectors who 'fail' an institution can return as consultants to ensure success in re-inspection
  • That internal observation regimes increasingly mirror the Ofsted process
  • That there is no evidence that grading improves teaching standards

Conference believes

  • That the standards set by Ofsted are unachievable in the context of excessive workload and inadequate lesson preparation time
  • That setting teachers up to fail is institutional bullying, corrosive to our self-esteem and psychological well-being
  • That Ofsted is a weapon of mass demoralisation that undermines teachers' confidence to demand better pay and conditions

Conference is dismayed that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has given OFSTED responsibility for monitoring the performance of colleges on Equality and Diversity issues as this will further encourage the tick box culture in the sector.

Conference resolves

  • To demand the abolition of Ofsted
  • To campaign for an end to graded internal observations and punitive observation regimes
  • To demand internal quality control processes that are supportive and developmental

FE12 Composite: Ofsted and lesson observation - chasing the carrot - Northern regional FE committee, New College Nottingham

Conference believes that the present model for adult and further education Ofsted inspection does not serve the needs of staff or students.

Since 2004 when Ofsted was given responsibility for inspecting colleges and improving standards within them

  • the burden of lesson observations on lecturers has increased
  • college managers have often used the existence of Ofsted to bully staff and place unreasonable demands on them
  • graded lesson observations have had no beneficial impact on the quality of teaching and learning.

Conference believes that Ofsted is not fit for purpose and is costly and bureaucratic, and therefore calls for

  • the NEC to call for Ofsted's abolition and replacement with a self regulating structure
  • peer observations to be encouraged, with time allocated to take part in them
  • UCU to investigate the feasibility of a policy of non-compliance with graded lesson observations.

CARRIED


FE13 Ofsted - Disabled members standing committee

Sector conference notes that as part of an Ofsted inspection, where a college is judged to be inadequate in relation to the extent to which the college promotes equality and tackles discrimination, inspectors treat these as 'limiting' judgements and the college's overall effectiveness is likely to be judged inadequate. FESC notes with concern that this part of the inspection is only limited to whether or not colleges have equality policies and procedures in place. FESC is also concerned that these judgments are too often based on student matters rather than staffing issues.

CARRIED


FE14 Lesson observations - Southern regional FE committee

FE Sector Conference is appalled that there is at present no binding agreement on the guidelines for the conduct of lesson observations throughout FE. We are concerned that this causes unnecessary stress, particularly when this process is used for inappropriate ends, such as disciplinary, competence/capability, incremental pay awards and even dismissal. We also deplore the increased number of observations in recent years, including internal quality reviews (IQRs), external quality reviews (EQRs) and reviews of 'failing' departments.

Sector Conference is to therefore:

  1. instruct FEC to establish agreed guidelines with the AoC to be adhered to in all FE Colleges and implemented as a matter of urgency;
  2. ensure that the guidelines outlaw unannounced lesson observations and provide adequate notice to prepare for being observed;
  3. use all measures, up to and including industrial action, to end the abuse of classroom observation as a bullying management tool, and return to an agreed professional development model.

CARRIED


FE15 Lesson observation disputes - Westminster Kingsway

This conference applauds the members at Westminster-Kingsway college who have continued a boycott of lesson observations into a second year. It notes that this has been an empowering experience for the members involved and recommends that other branches consider this form of action. We call on the NEC to ensure that the members now affected by deductions of half a day's salary for each 'refusal' receive sustentation in line with that provided for other types of industrial action.

CARRIED


FE16 Democracy and management of FE Colleges -Richmond upon Thames College

Conference expresses its full solidarity with staff at Richmond Upon Thames College who were presented with swingeing proposals for cuts and redundancies at lunchtime on Friday 7th May.

We condemn the Richmond upon Thames College senior management and governors who have brought a popular college to a state of disarray.

We give our full support to the branch's demands for: No compulsory redundancies; No excessive workloads, Defend RUTC's terms and conditions.
This struggle raises serious questions about the democracy and management of FE colleges, including the totally undemocratic manner in which Governors are appointed.

Conference agrees to mount a campaign to expose the completely undemocratic and unaccountable nature of FE governing bodies, and to demand genuine democracy so that FE operates in the educational interests of students, and not according to the dictats of small elite groups that are largely unelected and unaccountable.

CARRIED


FE17 Franchising and cuts in FE - Oxford and Cherwell Valley College

Conference notes the TES FE lead article that the Higher Education Funding Council has suggested that HE colleges should cut franchised provision to FE Colleges as 'an easy way to make savings while protecting their core honours degree provision' (TES FE 5/3/10). There are some 170,000 students who study HE courses in colleges and are worth £400m to the FE sector. Cuts are being made often with no warning to the FE Colleges or the students themselves and in, some cases, in mid course. The closure of these courses will reduce the widening participation agenda and limit opportunities especially in rural areas. Conference demands:

  • No cuts in the provision of such courses for financial reasons
  • Appropriate development of such franchised provision depending on joint agreements between universities and FE colleges
  • Such provision to be properly funded and resourced so that this is not HE 'on the cheap'.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE17A.1 - Women members standing committee

Add final paragraph:

To note that the cuts disproportionately affect women, particularly cuts in Access and higher education courses. Women are more likely to attend local further education institutions to obtain qualifications for universities and to follow the HE courses at FE colleges, often because of caring responsibilities which affect their freedom to travel.

CARRIED

FE17A.2 - Coleg Gwent (Newport branch)

Add after last bullet point

  • A Nationally negotiated agreement on remission time for scholarly activity for FE lecturers delivering HE provision.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes the TES FE lead article that the Higher Education Funding Council has suggested that HE colleges should cut franchised provision to FE Colleges as 'an easy way to make savings while protecting their core honours degree provision' (TES FE 5/3/10). There are some 170,000 students who study HE courses in colleges and are worth £400m to the FE sector. Cuts are being made often with no warning to the FE Colleges or the students themselves and in, some cases, in mid course. The closure of these courses will reduce the widening participation agenda and limit opportunities especially in rural areas. Conference demands:

  • No cuts in the provision of such courses for financial reasons
  • Appropriate development of such franchised provision depending on joint agreements between universities and FE colleges
  • Such provision to be properly funded and resourced so that this is not HE 'on the cheap'
  • A Nationally negotiated agreement on remission time for scholarly activity for FE lecturers delivering HE provision.

To note that the cuts disproportionately affect women, particularly cuts in Access and higher education courses. Women are more likely to attend local further education institutions to obtain qualifications for universities and to follow the HE courses at FE colleges, often because of caring responsibilities which affect their freedom to travel.


FE18 Cuts, shift to privatisation, the business agenda, the 157 Group - Lambeth College

Over recent years, there has been a diversion of funds into private sector provision, leading to:

  • reduced pay and conditions for staff
  • poor or fraudulent services to 'clients'
  • an increasing 'revolving door' between elected politicians and privatised services
  • exclusion of publicly funded providers such as FE colleges from making applications for major contracts (eg. Flexible New Deal) - because they do not meet the financial the criteria.

FE and Adult Education providers are looking for new ways to expand their "business" opportunities. The 157 Group is leading the way.

This conference agrees to:

  • campaign alongside PCS and other unions against the expansion of publicly funded private sector provision eg. in job centre provision
  • to lobby against the expansion of the "business" objective and the "competitive" agenda, over service to the local community
  • campaign against colleges using their funding to contribute to the 157 Group.

CARRIED


FE19 Fourteen to sixteen year old students in FE - Southern regional FE committee

This Sector Conference is concerned at the under-resourced growing presence of 14-16 year olds in FE, the teaching of whom is frequently imposed without sufficient training, resources and support, leading to stress and disciplinary action against tutors, compounded by such work often being undertaken by trainers instead of qualified lecturers, leading to deprofessionalisation and an unfair burden.

We therefore instruct FEC to:

  1. mount a campaign to identify colleges which are models of good practice in this field with a view to developing appropriate policy and guidelines;
  2. seek agreement with employers, supported by appropriate action up to and including strike action, that this teaching should only be done by staff willing, qualified and trained;
  3. lobby Government to put in place adequate resourcing, and end the disparity of pay between the compulsory and FE sector in the light of increasing numbers of under 16's being encouraged into FE.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE19A.1 - Further education committee

Delete ii) after 'employers' and replace with: 'to provide structured support and development for staff teaching 14-16 year olds.'

Add new point reading: 'iv) to support a move to convergence between Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS).'

TAKEN  IN PARTS: FIRST PARAGRAPH LOST, SECOND PARAGRAPH CARRIED

Substantive motion

This Sector Conference is concerned at the under-resourced growing presence of 14-16 year olds in FE, the teaching of whom is frequently imposed without sufficient training, resources and support, leading to stress and disciplinary action against tutors, compounded by such work often being undertaken by trainers instead of qualified lecturers, leading to deprofessionalisation and an unfair burden.

We therefore instruct FEC to:

  1. mount a campaign to identify colleges which are models of good practice in this field with a view to developing appropriate policy and guidelines;
  2. seek agreement with employers, supported by appropriate action up to and including strike action, that this teaching should only be done by staff willing, qualified and trained;
  3. lobby Government to put in place adequate resourcing, and end the disparity of pay between the compulsory and FE sector in the light of increasing numbers of under 16's being encouraged into FE;
  4. to support a move to convergence between Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS).

FE20 Academies and the involvement of FE Colleges - East Midlands regional FE committee

Sector Conference notes that there have been a number of recent instances of FE Colleges volunteering to sponsor new Academies. In the past, UCU has been very sceptical about the ability of Academies to deliver quality education and has opposed their formation.
However, until now UCU has been able to view the situation from the standpoint that our members have not been directly affected. This is no longer the case.

Therefore, Sector Conference resolves that UCU oppose on principle any FE College setting out to sponsor an Academy and:

  1. Work within the college concerned to raise awareness of the political issues at stake and encourage our members to take an oppositional
  2. Work with other trade unions and the Anti Academies Alliance where possible to stop the formation of an Academy.

CARRIED


FE21 Institute for Learning (IFL) - Further education committee

Sector Conference reiterates that FE staff are proudly professional. We emphasise the importance of meaningful continuing professional Development. 

We note:

  • Following the 2009 Conference motion on IfL a joint working party was established and several UCU candidates elected to the IfL Council

We demand that:

  • Members should be encouraged to stand for IfL council
  • UCU should remain vigilant towards IfL activities
  • IfL membership should remain free.

CPD should be:

  • Appropriate and relevant to FE teachers' needs
  • conducted within lecturers' working hours, with time off from teaching, if necessary
  • Fully supported by employers.

We further note:

  • The Early Career Survey that demonstrated the importance of staff development issues for the profession's new entrants and the valuable work conducted by Learning Reps.

We agree to review these issues at Sector Conference 2011.

CARRIED


FE22 IfL, CPD, QTLS, GPRLS...etc - Lambeth College

IfL requirements on continuing professional development (CPD) and QTLS are onerous and bureaucratic, increasing stress and workload.
Individual colleges are demanding new qualifications. This means that teachers qualified prior to 2007, looking for new jobs / promotion are required to re-qualify, no matter how highly qualified / experienced they already are.

These demands are unfair and impact disproportionately on Equalities groups.

This conference agrees that

  • UCU should lobby against the retrospective application of the FE Regulations 2007.
  • UCU should fully debate our relationship with the IfL with a view to establishing a position on workload, membership (voluntary/compulsory), fees, qualifications, etc.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE22A.1 - Further education committee

Add to the end of the first bullet point: 'which is not permitted by the 2007 Regulations, and all attempts by college managements to unilaterally change these Regulations.'

And at the end of the motion, add a new bullet point: ' UCU should campaign for the convergence of QTS and QTLS to establish parity of professional status between school teachers and FE lecturers.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

IfL requirements on continuing professional development (CPD) and QTLS are onerous and bureaucratic, increasing stress and workload.
Individual colleges are demanding new qualifications. This means that teachers qualified prior to 2007, looking for new jobs / promotion are required to re-qualify, no matter how highly qualified / experienced they already are.

These demands are unfair and impact disproportionately on Equalities groups.

This conference agrees that

  • UCU should lobby against the retrospective application of the FE Regulations 2007, which is not permitted by the 2007 Regulations, and all attempts by college managements to unilaterally change these Regulations..
  • UCU should fully debate our relationship with the IfL with a view to establishing a position on workload, membership (voluntary/compulsory), fees, qualifications, etc.
  • UCU should campaign for the convergence of QTS and QTLS to establish parity of professional status between school teachers and FE lecturers.

FE23 Lesson observation, CPD and IFL - South East regional FE committee

FE Sector Conference opposes the:

  • growing number of lesson observation schemes which are linked with PRP;
  • increased tendency for management to see satisfactory as unsatisfactory;
  • narrowing focus of CPD on college and national priorities rather than on the needs of the teacher.

FE Sector Conference is concerned about the:

  • cost of the IFL at a time when funding for FE is being squeezed
  • shift of the IFL towards being a controlling rather than supportive body
  • structure of the IFL and the limited involvement of public sector FE practitioners

FE Sector Conference therefore instructs FE Officers to draw up guidelines for Branches on lesson observation and CPD incorporating these issues and to raise the IFL concerns with the IFL.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE23A.1 - South East regional FE committee

Delete the word 'and' between 'issues' and 'to raise' and add at the end of the sentence after 'IFL': 'and to conduct a full debate with UCU members on UCU's relationship with the IFL'.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

FE Sector Conference opposes the:

  • growing number of lesson observation schemes which are linked with PRP;
  • increased tendency for management to see satisfactory as unsatisfactory;
  • narrowing focus of CPD on college and national priorities rather than on the needs of the teacher.

FE Sector Conference is concerned about the:

  • cost of the IFL at a time when funding for FE is being squeezed
  • shift of the IFL towards being a controlling rather than supportive body
  • structure of the IFL and the limited involvement of public sector FE practitioners

FE Sector Conference therefore instructs FE Officers to draw up guidelines for Branches on lesson observation and CPD incorporating these issues, to raise the IFL concerns with the IFL and to conduct a full debate with UCU members on UCU's relationship with the IFL.


FE24 The IFL has failed - Liverpool Community College (Bankfield)

The IfL has failed: to raise our professional profile; to establish democratic structures guaranteeing our professional body is steered by chalk face practitioners; to ensure a progressive model of representation of BME, LGBT, Disabled and Women members; to challenge the bogus self-employment of agency staff; to demand that institutions interrogate their CPD shortcomings.

That the IfL has recently honoured a minister (with responsibility for the failed Train to Gain) and a senior AoC member (a body that has failed to deliver parity of pay with the school sector) illustrates the gulf between the priorities of the IfL and the concerns of UCU's membership.

Conference calls on the NEC to undertake a survey of branches to establish whether members:

  1. Are content with the current direction of the IfL, or
  2. Believe that democratic engagement with the IfL might lead to its reform, or
  3. Seek the abolition of the IfL.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE24A.1 - Disabled members standing committee

Add after second paragraph

'Conference strongly objects to IFL policy of withdrawing membership for alleged 'infringement' or 'competence' issues. This profoundly affects our disabled members who may find their licence to teach withdrawn allowing employers to conveniently use this to avoid their responsibility under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

The IfL has failed: to raise our professional profile; to establish democratic structures guaranteeing our professional body is steered by chalk face practitioners; to ensure a progressive model of representation of BME, LGBT, Disabled and Women members; to challenge the bogus self-employment of agency staff; to demand that institutions interrogate their CPD shortcomings.

That the IfL has recently honoured a minister (with responsibility for the failed Train to Gain) and a senior AoC member (a body that has failed to deliver parity of pay with the school sector) illustrates the gulf between the priorities of the IfL and the concerns of UCU's membership.

Conference calls on the NEC to undertake a survey of branches to establish whether members:

  1. Are content with the current direction of the IfL, or
  2. Believe that democratic engagement with the IfL might lead to its reform, or
  3. Seek the abolition of the IfL.

Conference strongly objects to IFL policy of withdrawing membership for alleged 'infringement' or 'competence' issues. This profoundly affects our disabled members who may find their licence to teach withdrawn allowing employers to conveniently use this to avoid their responsibility under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).


FE25 Anti-union tactics at The Manchester College impact badly on FE - The Manchester College

Conference notes that:

  • The Manchester College management have, systematically persecuted union activists over a number of years, made branch officers redundant and suspended branch officers,
  • failed to follow legal procedures in making redundancies or changes to working conditions,
  • failed to communicate with UCU in any effective or meaningful way.

Conference believes that:

  • The tactics of the management at The Manchester College have lead to the demoralisation of staff and large numbers leaving Further Education. As the largest college in Europe, these attacks on unions and working conditions will be seen as a green light for other college managements to follow suit, greatly impacting on the quality of education provision in FE.

Conference calls for:

  • A campaign to stem the undermining of education provision through attacks on working conditions and professionalism,
  • a campaign to fight anti-union bullying in the public sector, and
  • greylisting of The Manchester College.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

FE25A.1 - North West regional FE committee

Add at end two further points:

  • the reinstatement of those UCU activists and members targeted and made redundant.
  • a Labour Movement investigation of The Manchester College's Principal's anti-union management practices.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes that:

  • The Manchester College management have, systematically persecuted union activists over a number of years, made branch officers redundant and suspended branch officers,
  • failed to follow legal procedures in making redundancies or changes to working conditions,
  • failed to communicate with UCU in any effective or meaningful way.

Conference believes that:

  • The tactics of the management at The Manchester College have lead to the demoralisation of staff and large numbers leaving Further Education. As the largest college in Europe, these attacks on unions and working conditions will be seen as a green light for other college managements to follow suit, greatly impacting on the quality of education provision in FE.

Conference calls for:

  • A campaign to stem the undermining of education provision through attacks on working conditions and professionalism,
  • a campaign to fight anti-union bullying in the public sector
  • greylisting of The Manchester College
  • the reinstatement of those UCU activists and members targeted and made redundant
  • a Labour Movement investigation of The Manchester College's Principal's anti-union management practices.

FE26 Disability equality agreement - Disabled members standing committee

Sector conference notes and welcomes the new national guidance agreement on disability equality. This includes a groundbreaking agreement on disability leave and disability related absence. Sector conference further notes the work which has started in some colleges to implement this agreement locally.

Sector Conference instructs FEC:

To work with the Disabled Members Standing Committee and UCU's Equality Unit to support the local introduction of this important national agreement.

CARRIED


FE27 The impact of college mergers on black members in further education - Black members standing committee

Conference notes the impact that college mergers will have on the most vulnerable members of staff. Swingeing public sector cuts have already been implemented and the prospect of more devastating reductions in funding year on year loom ominously.

Black members in colleges are traditionally more likely to be found in less secure forms of employment such as fixed term contracts or part time employment.

As the cuts begin to bite some colleges will find it difficult to remain economically viable leaving them more vulnerable to merger from more aggressively expansionist institutions. The resultant mergers inevitably lead to redundancies and the first workers at risk are those in the least secure employment.

Conference would like to ensure that equality impact assessments are placed at the heart of our negotiating tools for branches in the fight against merger led redundancies and in support of black colleagues.

CARRIED


FE28 Race Equality Implementation Group in further education - Black members standing committee

Conference notes with interest the forthcoming Race Equality Implementation Group which is the successor to the Workforce Race Advisory Group. The new group, which includes UCU representation has been set up to implement the appropriate recommendations of the Commission for Black Staff in Further Education across the further education system, taking into account subsequent research, drivers such as forthcoming changes to equalities legislation, re-skilling, talent management, learner and employers' needs, and other relevant issues.

Conference believes that it is vitally important that issues such as representation, progression and inclusion of Black and Minority staff in the sector are addressed at both a strategic and operational level in conjunction with the appropriate stakeholder organisations.

Conference resolves to support this important initiative and ensure that the needs of UCU's black members are placed at the front of the agenda.

CARRIED


FE29 Female health and safety representatives - Women members standing committee

Conference notes with concern the low numbers of female health and safety representatives compared with male health and safety representatives, currently standing at a ratio of 1:2.

Conference further notes that in Further Education there are particular curriculum areas in which the numbers of lecturers and students are predominantly female.

Conference therefore instructs the NEC to:

  1. make the recruitment of female health and safety representatives an NOP priority.
  2. set a target of increasing the number of female health and safety representatives in colleges to at least 50% of all health and safety representative.
  3. ensure that all UCU health and safety training includes activities on gender-sensitive issues, including risk assessments.
  4. encourage health and safety representatives to ensure that all health and safety agreements, policies, practices, and risk assessments are gender sensitive.
  5. monitor progress on all of the above and report back to next year's FE annual conference.

CARRIED


FE30 Gendered segregation of subjects - Women members standing committee

Conference notes that the gendered segregation of subjects continues and recognises that in times of recession these divisions become further entrenched. Conference further recognises that this continues to limit the opportunities of students and maintains gender stereotypes. Conference accepts that it is a role of education to challenge these limiting stereotypes. (Currently in Adult Apprenticeships 1% of construction apprentices are women compared with 97% in the care sector.)

Conference calls on the FEC to construct a campaign that involves:

  • Lobbying of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Sector Skills Councils and AoC to require that these bodies identify changes to practice;
  • Identification of good practice;
  • Identification of strategies to spread good practice across the sector;
  • Making links with campaigning bodies like women in construction, Women in Science Engineering and Technology.

Conference calls on the FEC to report back to next conference on this campaign.

CARRIED


FE31 Action against homophobia LGBT members standing committee

Sector conference notes continued reporting of homophobic bullying in FE colleges in the context of widespread inaction. This mirrors society where the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has failed to take action after 25,000 complaints about a homophobic article and the BNP were on Question Time.

Conference states that cut-backs must not make those vulnerable through bullying ever more marginalised rather action should be taken to support and promote all equality strands.

Conference calls on the FEC and equality committee to

  • revisit the 2006 Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) report on homophobia in FE,
  • assess the use in FE colleges of training packages such as Visible and Valued and the 2010 Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) Gender Identity equality production,
  • promote and support action in college to celebrate LGBT history month through the production and distribution of related materials,
  • monitor and report on the adoption of policies supporting sexual orientation and gender identity equality.

CARRIED

Last updated: 1 August 2016