Corbyn backs UCU campaign for 15,000 more FE teachers

Labour leader supports union's petition calling for funding to hire 15,000 more FE teachers, and backs the 'unsung heroes working so hard to provide vital opportunities in our society'

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has backed a campaign to recruit 15,000 more teachers into the further education sector.

A petition, which has attracted around 2,000 signatures to date, calling for additional government investment has been launched by the University and College Union. It demands that the government makes a "greater investment in FE" by allocating funding for the recruitment of an additional 15,000 teachers.

The campaign claims that there are "more than a million fewer adult learners" than in 2009 as a result of "severe cuts" to FE funding, and has called on apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon to "build the capacity of the further education workforce".

FE 'is vital for our society' 

In a video published on the UCU's YouTube channel, Mr Corbyn gives his backing to the campaign. He describes FE teachers as “unsung heroes working so hard to provide vital opportunities in our society" and says that investment in FE is "vital for our society".

“UCU says that to help 250,000 more [FE learners], we urgently need 15,000 more further education teachers,” he adds. “I agree that investment in FE is vital for our society. But more than that, I believe that we must place education and the opportunity it provides at the heart of our plans to change Britain.”

Mr Corbyn also highlights the Further Education Transforming Lives and Communities campaign, supported by UCU.

Speaking to TES last week, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said the campaign for additional FE funding was “incredibly important” and that “it is absolutely fundamental that we have a well-funded and well-supported FE sector”.

In November, the UCU; Association of Colleges; National Union of Students; Learning and Work Institute; Unison; the Association of Teachers and Lecturers; Voice; GMB and Unionlearn co-signed a letter urging Chancellor Philip Hammond to increase investment in colleges.

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