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'Oscars' boycott withdrawn

The University and College Union has withdrawn its threat to boycott the lecturers' "Oscars" after winning assurances about the future of the awards.

As FE Focus reported earlier this month, the biggest lecturers' union was set to pull out of the Star Awards over proposals to downgrade the national ceremony and focus on regional awards to create more winners. But the union said it had been assured by the Quality Improvement Agency, which now runs the awards, that it a national prizegiving would still be the event's centrepiece.

The UCU said it had also been reassured that the awards would still focus on celebrating unsung heroes of FE, and not be hijacked as another means to spread good practice.

Dan Taubman, national official of UCU, said: "Discussions have finished and UCU is pleased by their outcome."

The QIA was concerned that the pound;1 million awards were reaching too few lecturers. Out of 1,300 nominations this year, just 17 winners will be chosen, prompting the regional awards suggestion. A spokeswoman said the proposals originally opposed by UCU were only options for discussion and no firm decisions had been made.

She said: "It was just a question of looking to the future. Nothing had been decided." She added that the agency regretted any misunderstanding with the union.

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