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We need to build a strong FE fight back

Monday 28-09-2015 - 14:18

It clear to see that Further Education is often under-valued, under-rated, under- represented and under-appreciated.

This is made evident by the continuous attacks, cuts and closures being made within the sector by the government. Essential funding for courses, resources and institutions is being ruthlessly slashed up and down the country.

We the students, teachers and staff working within FE feel like we’re walking on thin ice. Not knowing if our jobs are safe. If our courses will still be available. Or even if our local college will be shut down. We can’t go on like this.

But the Tory government look like they are out to destroy our education system. They are putting more and more barriers in place to prevent the most marginalised make something of themselves. They are making it even more difficult to break the cycles of deprivation in our communities. We see them take away opportunities and divide our communities by fuelling hatred and bigotry - and it’s Black communities, migrants, women, disabled people and LGBT communities that are hit the hardest.

George Osborne recently announced the scrapping of maintenance grants for low-income families, as well as capping child tax credit for those with more than two children. Jo Johnson puts student welfare at risk by pushing the counterproductive ‘Prevent’ agenda. And the introduction of the Teaching Excellent Framework is all part of the bigger picture of the government’s austerity game.

FE students facing such immense challenges can often be left feeling isolated, suffer poor mental health, and further marginalised.

When we fight to save our education system, we are fighting to save lives and families.

This is why I am encouraging FE Students’ Unions across the country to come and join the ‘No To Austerity’ protest outside Tory Party Conference on Sunday 4 October in Manchester. Join me, thousands of other students, families, teachers, NHS workers, people of faith and many more people from across the country in a week of action opposing every single cut and attack this Tory government has planned!

I’ll be marching at the front of the student section of the march – so come and join me! I hope that we can have a big FE turnout, showing we care and will stand up for the issues that we care about that affect FE students and our wider communities.

It is vital that we stand together, build a strong FE movement for a strong FE fightback.

I really look forward to seeing you there.  For more information on this or any of my campaigns, please email me Shakira.Martin@nus.org.uk.

And remember…FE = Free Education! Further Education! For Everyone!


P.S. I know that funding can be a barrier preventing FE students from being able to attend local and national demonstrations and protests. I urge all FE Students’ Union to get in contact with your local trade union branches and People’s Assembly groups to see how you can work together and support your students to be able to attend.

There are coaches coming from communities across Britain. Many of them are listed here and here.

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