Monday 01-02-2016 - 15:35
I’m continuing my review of the week to make sure you get all the latest information from me and NUS, and a brief look into what I’m up to, representing you on a daily basis!
It’s been a good few weeks getting back into the swing of things since New Year. Having spoken to many students’ unions officers, I know this year is going to be a lot of hard work for everyone. But I am really excited for the next few months, and being able to support you on all your work.
So here’s my review of last week...
Focusing on students’ unions
Last week NUS published all the zone reports and proposals ready for National Conference in April. These are the initial set of policies heading to National Conference from each Zone Committee, along with the priority motion that sets NUS’ priorities for the year ahead.
- You can read the officer reports and proposals on NUS Connect here
- A few weeks ago I launched a flash consultation with students’ unions to consult with you directly on what NUS’ priority should be in the year ahead. I was really grateful for your responses and we’ve now published the priority zone motion.
- I am delighted that the NEC voted to approve our motion ‘Working for students’ unions, winning more power for students’ and that NUS will be prioritising talking about students’ unions at National Conference and voting on policy which ensures we support students’ unions.
- Don’t forget you can find everything about conference on the conference hub
Women in leadership conference
On Monday I started the week by travelling up to Sheffield for Women in Leadership conference! It is one of my favourite events of the year and I was privileged to be able to speak at the opening of this year’s conference.
- There were many incredible conversations, discussions, debates and workshops at the conference including on standing in elections, how to build networks, understanding yourself as a leader and how we can all tackle lad culture.
- There was an awesome keynote session from Laura Bates, who is the founder of the #everydaysexism project
- There was also an incredible performance by performance poet Siana Bangura.
- You can find all the highlights of the event over on the Twitter hashtag and some highlights from the day on NUS Connect.
More on what NUS does in this area
- You can read the NUS report into Lad Culture and the audit report here.
This week I attended a board meeting at Endsleigh, together with Simon Blake, our Chief Executive at NUS. NUS has had a really special relationship with Endsleigh since we founded it in 1965.
- Endsleigh Insurance was created by NUS in 1965 and we’ve been working together ever since, even though NUS no longer owns Endsleigh. Simon and I sit on Endsleigh’s board.
- We’ve worked on many projects, and Endsleigh are a huge friend of the student movement and support many students’ unions
- You can read about Endsleigh’s history on their website
FE Unplugged launch
On Friday I was in Derby with Shakira, your Vice President Further Education to launch the #FEunplugged campaign. The sector is currently on life support and this campaign is about ensuring further education is put at the heart of the government’s priorities.
- You can read about the campaign on NUS Connect
- You can take action by contacting your MP and getting students and their families as well as the local community to join the campaign
- You can also read Shakira’s blog on the campaign here
Supporting students’ unions
On Wednesday last week I visited our NUS offices in Macclesfield and met with NUS staff to talk about how NUS can better support students’ unions.
- I met with our NUS extra team who do incredible work every day to put millions of pounds back into our movement, through the NUS extra card. Hundreds of thousands of students are card holders, saving them on their everyday costs. This is crucial to our #CutTheCosts campaign. If you don’t have a card, you should get one and you can find all the details here.
- I then met with our NUS Insight team. This is sometimes an overlooked area of NUS’ work in supporting students’ unions – and putting money and resource back into the movement. The work we do here means we can better understand students, their views and behaviours. You can learn more here.
- I also met with our NUS membership engagement team who work every day to ensure students’ unions know what’s happening at NUS and how to get involved, lead our work and that you feel supported, and valued, as a member. If you need more information or want to know more about getting the best out of NUS you can use our handy guide!
Last week we launched the preliminary reports from the beginning of the Project 100 consultation on developing a strategy for the student movement in the run up to NUS’ 100th anniversary in 2022.
- You can read the initial reports here.
- Project 100 Festival begins tomorrow in Sheffield where we will be working with students’ unions to shape the next phase of the consultation. But you don’t have to be at the event itself to take part and there are many ways to get involved, detailed in the report!
Cut The Costs resources
We are also launching the next phase of the #CutTheCosts campaign with action and support for students’ unions on transport and hidden course costs.
Maintenance grants debates
Last week students’ unions across the country continued to take action to save maintenance grants, and together we forced this issue to the top of the agenda.
- Unfortunately the House of Lords did not vote to stop the government’s plans but students’ unions had successfully lobbied many Lords to turn up to the debate and ensure that students’ voices were heard.
- You can read a summary of the debate here and you can read the full debate
- You can also find more details about the controversial ‘English Votes for English Laws’ rule that was used when voting through the scrapping of maintenance grants which affected students’ unions in the nations.
- We are still pushing ahead with a Freedom of Information request on the government’s original Equality Impact Assessment so that we can make this document public. This is increasingly important as the government have tried to hide from this debate, and now the Prime Minister is showing blatant hypocrisy in saying he is concerned about access and the fairness of higher education. Scrapping grants is the very worst thing he could do. Our message is that the government still has time to change its mind.
As we head into 2016, I’m incredibly excited to continue working on behalf of students’ unions and I can’t wait to see you all soon. Let me know if there is anything or any particular bit of NUS’ work that it’s helpful to cover in any of my future ‘Week in Reviews’ too!