Received from: UCU
Congress notes the vital importance of post-16 education in creating a fairer society in the UK, and developing the skilled workforce we need to build a greener future.
Congress condemns the devastating funding cuts in post-16 education since 2010, including the scrapping of the Union Learning Fund, and the tuition fee model in higher and further education which lumbers students with exorbitant debts and requires providers to compete for students.
Congress further condemns the government’s attacks on arts and humanities education; subjects which enrich our cultural life as well as contributing significantly to the UK economy.
Congress notes with concern the falling value of staff pay across post-16 education which, along with rampant casualisation and unsustainable workloads, has caused acute problems with recruitment and retention.
Congress believes that staff working conditions are student learning conditions, and that the market-driven system focussed narrowly on employability and built on debilitating student debt is fundamentally broken.
Congress calls on the TUC to campaign, ahead of the 2024 general election and beyond, for funding and regulatory reform in post-16 education which would:
i. scrap tuition fees and introduce a sustainable funding model which values all students, staff, subjects, and provider types
ii. address problems caused by marketisation and uneven student distribution across providers
iii. tackle education cold spots and widen access to ensure that all students can get the education that best meets their needs and aspirations
iv. improve pay and conditions to ensure that the sectors are able to recruit and retain the skilled staff they need.
University and College Union