Striking tomorrow in sixth form colleges

National Education Union members working in 34 Sixth Form Colleges will be taking strike action on Wednesday 12 February in response to the impact of funding cuts in their sector.

It is one of three strike days taking place between now and Budget Day. The other dates are Thursday 27 February and Tuesday 10 March.

In total, 38% of all sixth form colleges and 16-19 academies will be taking action together. The NEU is in dispute with the Secretary of State and seeking improved pay, conditions and employment through better funding for 16-19 education.

NEU members will be taking action to secure the funding needed to reverse job losses, class size increases, and cuts to teaching time and curriculum provision.

Funding for 16-19 education has been cut by more and for longer than in schools and funding increases announced before the Election are grossly inadequate. Jobs have been cut, class sizes have risen and pay has fallen. If the crisis continues to go unaddressed, the future of the sector is at threat and it is students’ education that will continue to suffer.

The NEU is seeking higher and sustained funding which will improve the pay, working conditions and security of employment of NEU members and secure the future of the sector.

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

“The Conservatives have neglected 16-19 education and sixth form colleges in particular. No wonder our members are angry and determined to secure a properly funded post-16 sector for both students and staff.

“Gavin Williamson must take heed of this very real concern from a long-suffering sector and make the case to the Chancellor and the Prime Minister that the Budget on 11 March must include at the very least a £700m injection of new money to close the gap with schools. Otherwise the crisis in 16-19 funding will continue.”

In the recent NEU sixth form colleges ballot, which closed on 16 September, 84% of members voted Yes to action and Yes to saving the sixth form sector. Overall, there was a 43% turnout. 

In addition, a re-ballot of 16 colleges – which closed on 4 November – saw 9 more colleges pass the 50% turnout threshold under trade union law.

The following colleges will take part in Wednesday’s action: Bilborough College, Nottingham; Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College; Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College, Stockport; City & Islington Sixth Form College; Esher College; Hereford Sixth Form College; Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge; King Edward VI College Stourbridge; Long Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge; Longley Park Sixth Form College, Sheffield; Newham Sixth Form College; Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College, Leeds; Priestley College, Warrington; Reigate College; Richard Huish College, Taunton; Shrewsbury Colleges Group; Sir George Monoux College, Waltham Forest, London; St Brendan’s Sixth Form College, Bristol; St Francis Xavier Sixth Form College, Clapham, London; St John Rigby RC Sixth Form College, Wigan; The Brooke House Sixth Form College, Hackney, London; The Sixth Form College Solihull; Varndean College, Brighton; Gateway Sixth Form College, Leicester; WQE and Regent College Group, Leicester; Ashton Sixth Form College, Ashton-under-Lyne; Coulsdon Sixth Form College; Havering Sixth Form College; King Edward VI College, Nuneaton; Peter Symonds College, Winchester; Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Darlington; The Blackpool Sixth Form College; Thomas Rotherham College, Rotherham; Xaverian College, Manchester.