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NUS launches campaign to sever link between tuition fees and TEF

Tuesday 11-10-2016 - 15:40

NUS is today launching a campaign to cut the link between the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and tuition fees.

Following an open consultation with students’ unions, NUS is launching the next stage of the campaign to stop the link between the TEF and tuition fees.

The introduction of the TEF would allow universities that score highly to raise their tuition fees from £9,000 to over £10,000 by 2020, with fees continuing to rise each year with inflation. NUS is opposed to further fee rises and we believe measuring teaching quality is an extremely complicated task.

NUS will support SUs to take action against the TEF. This will involve helping SUs to get their vice chancellors on board and lobbying parliament to cut the link between the TEF and fees.

If this is unsuccessful, NUS will support SUs that decide to encourage their students not to fill in the NSS.

NUS will soon be announcing two campaign support days taking place during November. Full details of these will be released shortly. 

Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice President (Higher Education) said: “The government’s higher education reforms threaten the future of our entire education system and risk shutting students out with exorbitant tuition fees. Our membership has demanded we campaign to sever the link between the TEF and fees, even if that means taking radical action. The student voice is so important, and students’ concerns have so far been ignored throughout this process. NUS will be behind students’ unions 100 per cent of the way as we stand up for current and future students.”

Malia Bouattia, NUS president, added: “I’m proud to lead an organisation that listens to its members, and our membership has made it clear we need to take action to cut the link between the TEF and tuition fees – by any means necessary. It is unacceptable universities will be able to raise their fees even higher, and even more outrageous this increase will be dictated by a crude measuring tool like the TEF.”


What happens next?


What will the content of the campaign planning days be?


The campaign planning days will support SUs wishing to undertake an NSS boycott as well as those that are undertaking action short of boycott to plan their campaigns at the local level, and connect with other unions to share ideas and inspire one another.

They will look at mitigating risk of your actions, legacy planning for the impacts, scenario planning, stakeholder mapping and relationship management. You should come into the day with an idea of what it is you would like to achieve, and come out with the framework of a solid plan for undertaking action on your campus, in the ways you best see fit.


What resources and tools will be available to support the campaign?


NUS will be producing a whole suite of tools and resources to enable you to plan your campaign, from guides on how to lobby MPs, speak with your university senior management and plan your student facing campaign on the ground, through to specific templates that you can co-brand with NUS and your SU on what the impact of the HE Bill will be for students, petitions and motions to pass at your union council.

NUS will also be producing an exciting online platform which you can use for lobbying and organising your students.

Beyond that, NUS will be listening to what you want for your local context, reacting to your needs to deliver what you ask for, and showcasing the excellent work you’re doing on your campus for other unions to enable you to learn from each other.


I’m based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, does this affect me?


The TEF and fees campaign is currently aimed at English SUs only, as the reforms specifically affect English institutions. NUS UK, NUS Wales, NUS Scotland and NUS-USI are currently deciding the best way to support all unions wishing to take part in a wider campaign on HE reforms.


I’d like to talk to someone about this – who should I email?


Sorana will be hosting an online webinar from 2pm-3pm on Thursday 20 October, where she will be answering any questions you might have. These will form a ‘Campaigning FAQs’ resource which will later be available online. If you’re unable to make this time, please contact publicaffairs@nus.org.uk with your questions and queries.


The full results of our NSS Consultation are available on NUS Connect here, and a summary is also available here.

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