Valentine’s card handover at the Treasury

This Thursday (14th February), the #LoveOurColleges campaign will deliver a Valentine’s card to the Chancellor urging him to increase college funding and fund a fair pay deal for staff.

The card handover will take place at 12.15pm at HM Treasury on Horse Guards Road.

The #LoveOurColleges campaign is about making the case for extra government funding to support fair pay and funding in further education.

UCU head of policy, Matt Waddup, said:

‘The government speaks a lot about the importance of skills, but massive cuts to further education funding have left staff and students worse off. It’s time for the Chancellor to show his support for the vital work of colleges by funding them properly and investing in the further education workforce.’

The campaign is supported by UCU, Unison, Unite, GMB, NEU, NUS, TUC, ASCL and the Association of Colleges, who held a week of action from 15-19 October, including a national lobby of parliament on 17 October 2018.

How can I support the campaign?

There are lots of ways you can support the #LoveOurColleges campaign:

  • Tweet using the #LoveOurColleges hashtag to say why you think the government should invest more in colleges and their staff and students
  • write to your local MP asking them to support fair funding in FE and sign Early Day Motion 1686 calling for urgent in investment in FE colleges - see draft text below.
  • sign this petition calling for sustainable funding for FE   

Background to the campaign

Further education colleges are an essential part of England's education system. Whether it's through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions. Rooted in local communities, they are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.

From 2009 to 2019, college funding has been cut by around 30%. This drop in funding has led to:

  • fewer hours of teaching and support for young people
  • a drastic reduction in the number of learning opportunities for adults
  • the value of staff pay falling by over 25% since 2009
  • college teachers earning £7,000 less on average than school teachers.

This situation is not sustainable and ultimately impacts on college students and staff, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

What we are calling for

Trade unions, students and college leaders are coming together to call for better funding and fair pay for further education colleges.

We are calling on the government to:

  1. increase college funding to sustainable levels, including but not limited to:
    • Increasing the 16-19 funding rate by 5% a year for the next five years, and extending the pupil premium to cover post-16 students
    • Fully funding a National Retraining Scheme to support level 3 to 5 skills
    • Introducing a lifetime learning entitlement to fund skills training for all adults who have not previously achieved a level 3 qualification.
  2. provide immediate exceptional funding, ring-fenced for pay, to cover the costs of a fair pay deal for college staff from 2018/19 onwards.

Read the  Love Our Colleges manifesto [752kb] for more information.

Write to your MP

You can help us campaign for better pay and funding in further education by writing to your MP using our online tool.

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