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The Scandal of Calderdale College

Posted by Sarah
Tuesday, December 21, 2004

As someone who has worked in a notoriously poitical and bullying FE college, I can give you my educated guess as to why there is no union action at Calderdale college. Since the government's decision to disown and effectively privatise FE some 15 or so years ago, teaching unions and the agreements set up between staff and management have been systematically undermined and, in some cases, trampled all over.

I personally have witnessed college management using bullying tactics and intimidating staff over several years, with only the union stepping in to intervene. The management have now stopped even this possibility for protection by actually sacking the trade union department.

Sadly it seems that staff are leaving FE in their droves for politcal reasons, and I forsee a future where FE will become not merely the forgotten sector as it is now, but a privatised, disparate 'service'for 'non-traditional' learners.

One possibility would be for seemingly non-related unions, such as Unison, to step in and support the dwindling teaching unions of FE. Many of the support staff in FE are Unison members and their jobs are equally affected by poor resourcing and negative Ofsted and QAA reports. For this to happen, though, the education sector needs to recognise FE and stop ignoring it in the press as a whole. Even the TES seems to forget FE's existence......

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