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When FE and skills won’t pay the bills

The UK may have four separate further education systems, but right now college staff are shouting with one voice about low pay. Julia Belgutay investigates the impact on workers who are struggling to survive and the bubbling discontent that risks fomenting industrial action across the home nations

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A single mother who does not know how to make ends meet, despite working long hours teaching. An experienced lecturer whose workload became so overwhelming that she reduced her hours to part-time. An engineering teacher who could earn significantly more by working in industry, but lives “month to month”. A lecturer who, after 16 years in the sector, knows that her students’ experience is adversely affected by high staff turnover.

As the issue of stagnating pay in English colleges has come to the fore in recent weeks – not least when it emerged that a government-funded pay rise for ...

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