The government’s post-18 review of education needs to be extended to look at 16-18 provision as well, according to the NUS vice president for FE.
Emily Chapman was re-elected as the vice president further education at the NUS National Conference in Glasgow last Wednesday. and college funding is one of the key areas where Chapman wants to make a difference in her next 15 months in the role.
“Education should not be run on spare change,” she said. “There is a funding review for post-18 education and I would like to make quite a lot of noise to say it needs to be for 16-18 as well. Education is moving on. There is a lot for HE in FE and the other way around – a lot is becoming blurred quite quickly.”
She said the Office for Students (OfS), which started its work this week, definitely needs FE representation on its new board.
The former student union president at Leeds City College succeeded current NUS national president Shakira Martin as VP FE. “I’m really humbled to be given the next year to carrying on what I’ve started,” she says, although she admits she is “a little bit tired” after campaigning since the beginning of the year.
In 15 months time, Chapman says she would like her legacy to be one of giving FE learners and apprentices a voice.
“It’s something the sector is starting to listen to. It’s about allowing 16- 18-year-olds to become active citizens. You don’t get taught about politics in schools or college so that is where students’ unions come in.”
Votes at 16
Tes reported last month that the NUS and the Association of Colleges were joining forces to launch a Fair.Votes campaign to encourage the government to lower the voting age.
Wales have voted to give 16- 18-year olds the vote in local elections like the same age group can in Scotland already, she said, adding: “It could be achieved in the next year. I can’t see it being any longer than the next two years.”
In terms of supporting apprentices, Chapman says there is a lot of conversation about what makes a quality apprenticeship and she will continue to listen. She said she supports the 20 per cent off the job training requirement as “apprentices are in favour of it”.
Engaging apprentices in the community and wider students’ movement was another priority. “It’s about getting apprentices, employers and training providers to work together," she said.
She will begin her second term in July. When her tenure comes to an end, she wants to continue to champion the FE sector in whatever job she does next, she tells Tes.