What is Zones Conference?

Zones Conference is a crucial part of NUS’ policy development and is an important milestone on the road to National Conference 2018.

Each ‘Zone’ is based around a key theme, which will be explored by delegates.

These themes help us to focus proactively on emerging issues within each specific Zone so that you’re able to truly shape policy proposals for National Conference.

Your work at Zones this year will drive research, develop policy and ensure that we are constantly working to improve students’ lives; equipping them to shape the future of education and ultimately to create a just and sustainable future.

Each Zone will also review the work of NUS’ National President and it’s respective Vice Presidents. Delegates at each Zone will also elect a committee to steer these key issues to National Conference in Brighton next April.

Five Zones, five policy areas

NUS produces campaigns, projects, briefings, events, training, statements, seminars, resources, materials, committees, speaker tours, lobbies, protests, conferences, consultations and probably a hundred other types of ‘things’ to help students in their studies and in their lives.

The work that we do is prioritised and decided through policy.

To help make sense of this, our work is split into five separate ‘Zones’ and the policy that is passed comes from one of these five zones:

  • Further Education | which covers things that affect the study and development of students in Further Education including: FE institutional funding, FE student funding, courses & curriculum, FE work based learning, 14-19 Agenda, FE Learner Voice, marking & assessment, qualifications framework and relationships with FE sector agencies (e.g. AoC, LSC)
  • Higher Education | which deals with issues that affect the education of students in Higher Education including: institutional funding, student funding, liberation in education, access & participation; student engagement in courses & curriculum, postgraduate funding, research students, quality assessment and enhancement and relationships with HE sector agencies (e.g. QAA, OIA)
  • Society and Citizenship | this zone works on issues that affect students in wider society and the world – such as environmental issues, involvement in national democracy, global conflict, Students in the community, volunteering, world poverty, political issues in the community, Votes at 16, minimum wage.
  • Union Development | which works towards supporting students’ unions to be effective in building power for students and giving them opportunities. The zone covers students’ unions’ funding, capacity, people and governance; engaging and empowering students; student opportunities including clubs, societies and media; and improving NUS as a membership organisation.
  • Welfare | which decides the work that supports the wellbeing of students in their institutions, their homes and their families including: institutional housing, private housing, students at work, diversity and discrimination on campus, council tax, advice, sexual health, benefits, crime and student health issues.

Each Zone has…

  • A section of National Conference that sets the policy in this area
  • A zone conference that consults on what should be suggested for this area at National Conference and provides workshops that train and develop staff and activists
  • A vice-president, elected by National Conference, who takes the political lead on this work
  • A zone committee, elected by zone conference, who act as advisors and critical friends for the vice-president. 

The purpose of Zone Conferences

Each Zone is required to hold an annual conference in the first term. The purpose of this conference is three-fold:

  • To elect the Zone Committee
  • To hear reports on the work of the Zone Vice President and National President
  • To discuss shared issues students are raising to input into NUS’ policy

Elect the Zone Committee

Zone committees are coordinating committees that lead the Zone. In practical terms it means the following:

  • Using the reports and consultations from delegates at zone conferences to make a number of policy suggestions to students’ unions at National Conference
  • Help the Vice President decide what the priorities for the Zone are
  • Scrutinise the work of the Vice President and give feedback
  • Help steer what the Zone works on next
  • Ensure that the wider membership are consulted on what is going on

There are nine positions on each Zone Committee, one of which will be the National Executive Council Zone place.

Review the work of the Zone Vice President and National President

During Zone Conference the Zone Vice president and National President will deliver a report on their work so far and there will be an opportunity for delegates to ask questions and hold to them to account.