Further Education

Sixth form colleges strike

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 08:35
Author

Hugh Workman

We’ll be striking in 25 colleges on 17 October, and then again on 5 and 20 November.

The feeling I pick up is that oversized classes, workload, management bullying, interpretation of directed time agreements are the big issues, exacerbated by issues of funding and pay.

Sixth Form teachers’ pay has fallen behind school teachers’ pay. We probably need a 15% rise to get us back to the relative level of 2008.

There’s been a general pay freeze, but that has been eased in schools and continued in the Sixth Form sector. The government is trumpeting the end of austerity, but the Sixth Form sector is

How Labour should end austerity

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:31
Author

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

The NHS and social care have been squeezed so that waiting lists expand and A&E wait times explode. Hospitals routinely run at the upper limit of capacity, so that an epidemic, or an

Markets, cuts, and education

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 11:59
Author

Maisie Sanders

The Augar review into post-18 education and funding, commissioned by Theresa May last year, was released on 30 May.

As yet the government says only that it will “take very seriously the report’s proposals”. The report presents its aim as a more “accessible” system of higher and further education that provides “value for money” for both students and taxpayers and is more responsive to labour market demands.

University student numbers have continued to increase steadily since 2009-10, but there has been a sharp decline in students choosing higher-level technical qualifications (Level 4 and 5,

Student left slams democracy shutdown

Published on: Tue, 11/12/2018 - 17:04
Author

Maisie Sanders

Student Left Network member and Workers’ Liberty supporter Justine Canady launched her campaign for National Union of Students (NUS) President on Friday 7 December.

She is running as part of the Student Left Network’s campaign of no confidence in current NUS President Shakira Martin. More candidates on the Student Left Network slate will be announced soon.

Martin has given unelected student union CEOs and staff unchecked control over the NUS's response to its financial deficit, a response which will severely curtail democracy and campaigning.

Students are to have no control over decision

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2018 - 10:18
Author

Charlotte Zalens, Ollie Moore, Peggy Carter and David Pendleton

Further Education (FE) college workers are holding a national week of action from 15-19 October. The week of action over FE funding involves the FE lecturers′ union the UCU, plus other unions including Unison, Unite, GMB, NEU, NUS, TUC, and ASCL.

The week will also involve a march, rally and lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 17 October (as Solidarity went to press). FE funding has been cut by around 30% since 2009. This has resulted in fewer teaching hours, a drastic reduction in adult education courses, and a real-terms pay cut of 25% for staff — college teachers now earn £7000 less on

Students call for left unity

Published on: Thu, 21/06/2018 - 13:19
Author

Workers' Liberty Students

Around seventy students attended the “We Are the University National Student Left Conference”, hosted by the NCAFC in Sheffield on 16-17 June.

Activists from more than 30 different universities, some representing Labour Clubs and free education groups attended. Many became active through the occupations and other action in support of last term’s UCU strike.
There was a sense of excitement about building on the upsurge of campus organising and using the momentum around it to renew the student movement.

In the weeks before the conference over 100 students, sabbatical officers and NUS officers

"There is a world beyond the campus" - Vote Sahaya James for NUS President

Published on: Wed, 14/03/2018 - 12:00
Author

Sahaya James

Students don’t live in hermetically sealed containers, undisturbed by the oppression and exploitation around the world. Yet too often student unions behave as if they do.

We constantly hear the rhetoric of the “average student” concerned only with the costs of printing and nights out, as if campuses aren’t implicated in the injustices which define our society.

When institutions like Oxford and Cambridge invest millions in offshore funds to develop deep sea drilling, climate justice is an issue for our student unions. When institutions act as border guards, monitoring the attendance of

NCAFC Recommits to 2018 NSS Boycott

Published on: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 15:26
Author

Ruaridh Anderson

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) held its winter conference in Liverpool last weekend, which saw a lively debate on whether or not to recommit to the 2018 NSS Boycott. After scrutinising the tactic and its potential effectiveness - particularly in relation to the upcoming UCU marking boycott - the conference voted overwhelmingly to continue the boycott into 2018 as part of building a movement of united students and workers against the marketisation of higher education.

The conference also voted to support the workers' struggles that have begun to spring up around the country

Free education now!

Published on: Sun, 19/11/2017 - 13:57
Author

By Ruairidh Anderson

As many as 7,000 students marched through London on Wednesday 15 November to demand “Free Education now — tax the rich”.

The protest was organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and supported by Momentum, RMT, Unite, NUS Scotland and student unions across the country. Workers’ Liberty student activists were centrally involved in organising and leading the demonstration, along with other comrades in NCAFC.

The demonstration was arguably the most energetic and loud free education march in recent years. The atmosphere was boosted by well timed flares and the presence of the

Tories seek mandate to increase cuts, inequality, poverty

Published on: Wed, 03/05/2017 - 07:41
Author

Martin Thomas

“Mrs May”, writes the Tory-leaning columnist of the Financial Times, Janan Ganesh, “could not survive an election campaign saying so little so often if people paid attention”. Since so many don’t, “the repetition of slogans in lieu of answers carries no cost”. Fraser Nelson, another Tory, comments in the Spectator: “She seems to think that, if you refuse to give the press anything, the public won’t care. Worse, she seems to be right – for now, at least”. May’s purpose, so Nelson writes, is not to “seek a mandate”, but to evade one. “That’s what this election is really about: a bonfire of these

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