UCU Response to Government Announcement on January College Return

17 December 2020

UCU accused the government of creating more chaos for college staff and students by waiting until the last minute before announcing changes to students’ return

The union was responding to new government guidance to schools and colleges, which includes a delayed return in January and a Covid testing programme. The government has said it will provide Covid tests for colleges, but has not yet explained who will carry out the testing or how it will be resourced. A recent study showed that the type of tests that will be used have been found to miss up to half of Covid cases.

UCU said moving online for the first week of January is the “bare minimum” the government needs to do to protect staff and students but the decision should have been made earlier. UCU said last minute changes create more chaos for overworked staff, and raised concerns over how the government will support staff and students working remotely. These concerns include the unreliability of the tests being used and how the testing will be funded and implemented. UCU said colleges are much bigger than schools and it could not see how testing could be scaled up in the government’s time frame or who would safely carry out the tests.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘The government clearly has not got this pandemic under control. A delay to in-person teaching is the bare minimum it should do to protect college staff, students and the wider public. We know that in-person teaching risks increasing the rate of transmission, so it beggars belief that the government has threatened legal action to keep classrooms open this week and has waited until the day before staff and students break up for Christmas to announce these plans. Staff who have been working hard all term now have to once again respond to last minute guidance that should have been decided months ago.

‘We have  concerns about the reliability of these tests. The results cannot be relied upon as the basis to reopen college campuses when studies have shown they are often wrong. Government needs to fully fund and resource this testing programme. Most colleges have thousands of students, it will be incredibly hard to put everything in place to test all of them by January, and it is unrealistic to expect untrained staff to be able to safely administer the tests.’

CPD webinars Fri 11 Dec 2020

Places are still available for you to take part in the one or more interactive webinars that UCU are providing for members in the Eastern and Home Counties region on Friday 11 December 2020. 

There are 3 webinars on offer:

  • Working Safely During the Pandemic at 10am
  • Introduction to Sustainability at 1.30pm, and
  • Embedding Climate Education in the Curriculum at 3pm.

Working Safely During the Pandemic will explore, through a collective lens, everything that needs to be done to keep us safe. Join this webinar if you want to share your views and support others. You might also find comfort and support from knowing that other members are facing the same challenges as you and what they are doing about it.

The full aims of the interactive webinar are to:

  1. understand why it’s important to unapologetically protect your health and wellbeing at this time
  2. identify some of the challenges you face in working safely whether from home, back in the workplace or a blend of the two
  3. Be clear about what support you can expect from your employer
  4. Identify support available from UCU.

If you want to take part in the Working Safely During the Pandemic Webinar at 10am  click the link here
Introduction to Sustainability is the first in a series of webinars on UCU’s response to the climate crisis.

The full aims of the interactive webinar are to:

  1. understand student demand for sustainability and climate education
  2. Explore the meaning of sustainability
  3. Make the connection between sustainability and climate education
  4. Understand the relevant frameworks defining sustainability, and how to apply them.

If you want to take part in the Introduction To Sustainability Webinar at 1.30pm  click the link here
Embedding Climate Education in the Curriculum is the second in a series of our webinars on the climate crisis, and how we can play our part in resisting it.

To take part in this webinar you do not need to have completed the Introduction to Sustainability session, though you might find that useful too.  This webinar will look at detailed examples of how UCU members are incorporating climate education in their classroom practice in a way which we hope you will find exciting and empowering.

The full aims of the interactive webinar are to:

  1. Understand why sustainability issues are so important to students and UCU members
  2. Explore how sustainability issues have been incorporated into a range of learning programmes
  3. Reflect on how to amend your own practice
  4. Consider how you could use your experience to support other UCU members around sustainability issues.

If you want to take part in the Embedding Climate Change in the Curriculum Webinar at 3.00pm  click the link here
How the webinars will work

The taught sessions will last for about 60 minutes, after which time it may be possible to take 15-20 minutes to discuss the issues raised with a UCU official, depending on availability. In that case the total time commitment will be less than an hour and a half.

You will need to find a quiet space, away from distractions (like telephone and email!), and you may prefer to use headphones for the session. I would also recommend that you check that you can use zoom before the session if you are unfamiliar with it.

I do need to stress that if you do say that you want to be involved I need you to treat that as a commitment as the webinar will be over-subscribed. 

You will then be sent a meeting number and password for the webinar using zoom, along with a couple of points to think about before the webinar. You will be able to join the session from about 10 minutes before the stated start time. I would also recommend that you do join 5 to 10 minutes early as you will need to be admitted to the session, and of course there can be technical problems.

If you have any questions please email Glen Pickard at  gpickard@ucu.org.uk

UCU CPD for All programme

 

 

 

Dear colleague
Places are still available for you to take part in the one or more interactive webinars that UCU are providing for members in the Eastern and Home Counties region on Friday 11 December 2020.
There are 3 webinars on offer:
• Working Safely During the Pandemic at 10am
• Introduction to Sustainability at 1.30pm, and
• Embedding Climate Education in the Curriculum at 3pm.
Working Safely During the Pandemic will explore, through a collective lens, everything that needs to be done to keep us safe. Join this webinar if you want to share your views and support others. You might also find comfort and support from knowing that other members are facing the same challenges as you and what they are doing about it.
The full aims of the interactive webinar are to:
1. understand why it’s important to unapologetically protect your health and wellbeing at this time
2. identify some of the challenges you face in working safely whether from home, back in the workplace or a blend of the two
3. Be clear about what support you can expect from your employer
4. Identify support available from UCU.
If you want to take part in the Working Safely During the Pandemic Webinar at 10am click the link here

Introduction to Sustainability is the first in a series of webinars on UCU’s response to the climate crisis.
The full aims of the interactive webinar are to:
1. understand student demand for sustainability and climate education
2. Explore the meaning of sustainability
3. Make the connection between sustainability and climate education
4. Understand the relevant frameworks defining sustainability, and how to apply them.
5.
If you want to take part in the Introduction To Sustainability Webinar at 1.30pm click the link here

Embedding Climate Education in the Curriculum is the second in a series of our webinars on the climate crisis, and how we can play our part in resisting it.
To take part in this webinar you do not need to have completed the Introduction to Sustainability session, though you might find that useful too. This webinar will look at detailed examples of how UCU members are incorporating climate education in their classroom practice in a way which we hope you will find exciting and empowering.
The full aims of the interactive webinar are to:
1. Understand why sustainability issues are so important to students and UCU members
2. Explore how sustainability issues have been incorporated into a range of learning programmes
3. Reflect on how to amend your own practice
4. Consider how you could use your experience to support other UCU members around sustainability issues.
If you want to take part in the Embedding Climate Change in the Curriculum Webinar at 3.00pm click the link here

How the webinars will work
The taught sessions will last for about 60 minutes, after which time it may be possible to take 15-20 minutes to discuss the issues raised with a UCU official, depending on availability. In that case the total time commitment will be less than an hour and a half.
You will need to find a quiet space, away from distractions (like telephone and email!), and you may prefer to use headphones for the session. I would also recommend that you check that you can use zoom before the session if you are unfamiliar with it.
I do need to stress that if you do say that you want to be involved I need you to treat that as a commitment as the webinar will be over-subscribed.
You will then be sent a meeting number and password for the webinar using zoom, along with a couple of points to think about before the webinar. You will be able to join the session from about 10 minutes before the stated start time. I would also recommend that you do join 5 to 10 minutes early as you will need to be admitted to the session, and of course there can be technical problems.
If you have any questions please email Glen at gpickard@ucu.org.uk
I very much hope that you will be able to take part in one or more of the webinars.
Take good care,
Rob Hancock and Glen Pickard
UCU CPD for All programme