I want all areas of further education (FE) to have a strong voice in the NUS. It’s time for the NUS to start listening and acting on the issues that are relevant to its FE members, from sixth form colleges to apprentices and FE colleges. We form a majority of the NUS membership, but the FE issues - such as cuts in funding and the government being close to scrapping BTECs - get overshadowed and don’t get the attention they deserve. I would commit to ensuring the NUS stands up for all of its FE members. Vote Peter #1!
Nominated by: Florence Kilby, Esher College; Jenny Corcoran, Coleg Sir Gâr Students' Union; Eddie Thompson, The College of Richard Collyer Student Council; Yasmin Raja, Brighton Hove & Sussex VI Form College; Alys Sheahan, Academy of Contemporary Music; Elodie Fenton, Godalming College Students' Association; Melanie Brooke, Brooklands College Students' Union; Becca Romans, Havant and South Downs Students' Union
Peter Hopwood #1 Vice President Further Education
Levelling up for learners in FE
Teachers in FE are paid less than their counterparts in schools and universities. College funding doesn’t provide essential maintenance, when we need and deserve modern facilities. FE is demoralised, under-reported and under-represented. Enough is enough. A vote for me is a vote to transform the situation for college students, adult learners and apprentices - a proven campaigner that will put the needs of FE students into the heart of decision making and level up esteem, funding and rights.
As President of a small College SU, despite being underfunded and under resourced, I’ve led the way in achieving so many wins for our students. When I organised and chaired a hustings at college, I held our local MP Jeremy Hunt to account on local and national issues, such as funding cuts for FE and the NHS down to local issues such as transport. I have also driven this agenda locally, regularly meeting with councillors to put my members’ needs top of the agenda.
Under my leadership, I’m so proud that our SU successfully campaigned for gender-neutral toilets on campus, responding to the needs of our diverse membership. I have also been instrumental in developing a funding scheme for our clubs and societies and have led the charge on a Raising and Giving campaign across the college which has seen us raise over £1000 for various charities.
So don’t just vote for me because of my vision. Vote for me because of my track record.
Supporting Our Students
As President of a College SU, I’ve watched as our SUs navigate tight or non-existent budgets. As your VP FE I will work with you to develop a vision and strategy for fully funded, politically autonomous and structurally independent SU’s in every college. TOTUM has failed us, and the NUS is nowhere to be seen. And we’ve let the Westminster government off the hook on their failed apprenticeship travel promise. That’s why I will:
Deliver a national NUS FE union development plan for a statutory obligation to fund and support FE student representation. I will launch the campaign, in partnership with FE providers, for fully funded, structurally independent, politically autonomous students’ unions.
Consult with FE members to demonstrate the benefits of students’ unions to FE students, colleges, and the wider society.
Campaign for 50% rail travel cards to be implemented for ALL FE students; not just 16-17 year old students.
Demand access to proper mental health support for all students in FE providers.
SEN & Accessibility; Fight for more accessible spaces and better support for our SEN students in FE institutions.
Push to ringfence TOTUM income for FE students and FE campaigns, and deliver alternative and sustainable income mechanisms for FE SUs, with practical and innovative methods.
A Youth Shakeup
We are facing some of the biggest political issues of a generation with the declaration of the climate emergency and Brexit. Like many students, I couldn’t vote in the 2019 General Election but the outcomes will have massive consequences for our futures. If elected, I will:
Equip FE Unions and student groups with resources and support on the climate emergency
Champion votes at 16/17 so that FE students can have a stake in our democracy and decision making.
Stand up for the rights of European and International students through this turbulent Brexit process
Partner with campaign groups to restore youth funding and youth services
Protecting our Colleges and Apprentices
We need a national union that will respect, represent and reach out to us. The Government’s plans to withdraw funding to Applied General Qualifications with very little foresight, guidance and consideration, despite the sector’s opposition, will have hugely negative impacts. And why do we think harassment and hate crime is confined to HE? As VP FE, I will:
Campaign to protect BTECs and other Applied Generals qualifications
Promote and campaign for increased FE college funding, and support the SFCA’s Raise the Rate campaign to give a voice to sixth form colleges
Work with NUS Wales, NUS-USI and NUS Scotland to drive up FE funding in the nations
Take proactive action on harassment and hate crime with national research and lobbying
Campaign to restore the Educational Maintenance Allowance, setting a minimum meaningful funding level for all learners across the UK
Our students and their unions deserve better. Put your trust in me, Vote Peter Hopwood #1 for VP FE!