UCU NEC Election Address

I have been a UCU Rep for 7 years.  I am Lead Negotiator and Lead Caseworker and was elected to the position of Branch Chair in 2014 in a climate of serious mistrust between Newcastle College and UCU.  I have worked with our Branch to break down barriers that had built up over a long period of time:

  • Approaching the College in a fundamentally different way
  • Ensuring Branch involvement in Executive meetings regarding issues affecting staff
  • Consulting on and contributing to policy writing
  • Convincing the HR team to co-deliver training with UCU

Employed as HE Mentor at Newcastle College, the only FE College with taught degree awarding powers, my remit includes delivering academic study skills. With 10 years’ experience of working in FE on both academic and vocational programmes from Entry 3 to Level 7, I am in a unique position with extensive experience and knowledge of issues affecting both FE and HE staff:

  • Area Review representation
  • Representation in the first Group UCU recognition arrangement for NCG
  • Experience of UCU working in a College Group
  • Working in a large, multi-site FE College
  • Privatisation trends
  • Funding crisis
  • Workload

Branch strength has been built through solid and consistent casework alongside successful campaigning at national and local levels including:

  • Workload
  • Regrading of teaching contracts
  • Evaluation of teaching and learning
  • Lobbying Parliament regarding cuts to Adult funding

My passion is FE – enabling access to education and opportunities for disadvantaged groups and those living in areas of high social deprivation and I want to work with the NEC to raise FE on the political agenda to protect our sector.

I intend to shift the paradigm through which the purpose and function of post-compulsory education is considered: a tool for social change, for bettering lives, for lifting communities, for making the difference.

  • I care about the welfare and achievement of all students
  • I care about the welfare and conditions of all staff – and this is how Newcastle College Branch membership increased by 20% in 15/16
  • I want to stop the current trend to fast-track the extinction of FE
  • I want to ensure equality of access to education for everyone regardless of age or privilege
  • I want all teachers and student-facing support staff in the FE sector to be regarded as professionals with commensurate pay, terms and conditions: optimum working conditions equate to optimum learning conditions
  • I want FE colleges pulsating at the heart of the communities they serve.

I have a strong sense of equality, democracy, fairness and justice; basic socialist principles which underpin all my actions and decision-making.  I am also very aware that I am a representative of others and of the importance of acting in the best interests of all members