Student on campus

The University and College Union (@UCU) has today (Sunday) called for university teaching to remain online for the rest of the academic year to protect the wellbeing of staff, students and their communities. It said:

  • UCU members remain committed to providing the very best for their students during the pandemic, but cannot do this in unsafe and unpredictable working conditions.
  • University staff are already burnt out from meeting the demands imposed on them, and must be supported to continue giving students the best possible remote learning experience.
  • Where universities do not work collaboratively with UCU branches to prioritise staff safety, the union will continue to support branches that ballot members for action against an unsafe return to in-person teaching.

UCU believes any return to in-person teaching this academic year is impractical due to the Covid pandemic being at its worst stage since March 2020. The union also pointed to regulator concerns over the type of tests the government intends to use to reopen campuses, and delays in the government’s mass vaccination programme, as further evidence that a rushed return could compromise safety.

The union said that university staff have faced unmanageable workloads over the past year trying to adapt teaching for both in-person and online provision, and said a clear decision now that the majority of courses will remain online for the rest of the academic year would allow staff to plan accordingly. UCU said that if university management and the government do not provide this certainty it will support members to fight to stay working remotely off campus, including balloting for industrial action.

The Westminster Government has said the majority of courses must be taught online until at least mid-February. The union said ministers should go further and tell universities to extend online teaching to the end of the academic year, and give universities the financial security needed to put health and safety ahead of business as usual.

UCU branches at Northumbria  and Birmingham City universities have already held successful ballots for industrial action over in-person working, with the union seeking to minimise on-campus working and ensure that all work is done remotely where possible. Another ballot at Manchester Metropolitan University will close next week, and other branches are making similar arrangements. 

Jo Grady 100x100UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:

‘We need as much university teaching as possible to remain online for the rest of the academic year. Death rates are higher than ever, and with the government’s rapid testing programme under severe scrutiny and the huge logistical hurdles in rolling out the vaccine, even an Easter return now looks hopelessly optimistic.

‘If the government and universities will not commit to prioritising staff safety then UCU will continue to resist a return to unsafe campuses while committing to provide the highest possible quality of online teaching. We are willing to ballot universities that are putting our members’ wellbeing at risk and some UCU branches have already taken this step.

‘University staff are also burnt out from the chaotic and unsustainable demands which the sector has placed on them this year. We need certainty and stability if staff are to continue giving students the best possible remote learning. Students are not cattle and should not be directed around the country to buttress university bank balances through their accommodation payments.  

‘We will not let universities sacrifice staff and student wellbeing on the altar of short-term financial incentives. But we are prepared to work with universities in calling on the government to refund students for lost accommodation, as well as underwriting the other extra costs which universities are facing this year.’

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page