College students and staff unite for more funding

The Association of Colleges, the University and College Union, Unison and NUS students’ union plan to descend on Parliament

The call comes as the Association of Colleges, University and College Union and NUS students’ union plan to descend on Parliament

College staff, students and supporters have been urged to lobby their MPs ahead of a coordinated day of action calling for greater funding for FE.  

The chief executive of the Association of Colleges, David Hughes, has called for a mass lobbying of MPs asking for colleges to be “properly funded”. This comes after it emerged last month that the Department for Education will not be funding a pay rise for college teachers for 2018-19, as it is doing for their counterparts in schools.

The AoC is planning to lobby MPs in Parliament on Wednesday 17 October as part of a week celebrating colleges, Tes understands, although details of the full programme of events have yet to be confirmed.

Unions, including the University and College Union, Unison and the NUS students’ union, are planning a march in Westminster on the same day with a rally in Parliament Square with speeches from “politicians, sector voices and trade unions”.

'Colleges are pivotal'

Mr Hughes encouraged those with a stake in colleges to make the case for better funding to their elected representatives.

He said: “We are asking everyone to support the lobbying of MPs as we head to Parliament on Wednesday 17 October and engage your peers, stakeholders and partners and get them to realise the huge role that colleges can play if funded properly.”

“Colleges are pivotal – to their students, their staff and their local communities. But for too long the vital work they do has been overlooked and underfunded.”

'Fair pay for staff and fair funding for colleges'

Emily Chapman, NUS vice president for further education, said: “We are asking for two key things: fair pay for staff and fair funding for colleges. Together, as a movement, we can show that a strong learner voice can make the difference when it comes to bringing about positive change in FE.

“On Wednesday 17 October, we will be heading to Westminster to lobby our MPs in a nationally coordinated lobby of parliament, alongside college principals and staff.

“We are working with AoC to make sure all college students' unions can be represented, and today I would encourage you to have a conversation with your principal about funding your attendance on this crucial day.”

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