Current Affairs (National)

HE news

HE news is a regular newsletter circulated to HE branches and local associations.

HE news: issue 32, Dec 2011 - available now:


  • USS dispute
  • National Claim 2012-13
  • National Ratification Panel
  • Private Providers in HE
  • Research Excellence Framework
  • UCAS Admissions Review
  • Government reforms to Employment Law
  • Shared Services and Outsourcing
  • Public Sector Equality  Duty
  • LGBT History month
  • Annual Meetings
  • Defence of Public Education Conference


 HE news, no.32, Dec 2011 (.pdf)

... and related

This is a twice yearly newsletter for Academic-Related (APM) staff.  The latest edition (Spring/Summer 2011) can be found here.

Top News Items (Updated: Monday 29 September 2014)


Links to full news items on UCU national web site


Union threatens exam and coursework boycott as staff warned they will lose tens of thousands of pounds from their pensions 29 September 2014 Staff would see tens of thousands of pounds a year wiped off their pensions if proposals made by Universities UK (UUK) were introduced, warns a report released today.

College under fire for failed £300,000 rebrand 26 September 2014 A London college has come under fierce criticism following news that its name and branding, which has been in place for less than two years and cost nearly £300,000 to develop, could be scrapped because it is 'not recognisable as a college'.

More detail needed on Labour apprenticeship plans, says UCU 23 September 2014 UCU today welcomed the emphasis that Labour leader Ed Miliband put on apprenticeships in his conference speech, but called on all political parties to go further with improvements to vocational education.

Education is the key to breaking out of poverty trap, says report23 September 2014 A lack of education is the factor most likely to hold poor people back, says a new report released today.

Plymouth University under fire over £150,000 bill for seven chairs19 September 2014 'Incredible' bill for seven chairs follows increased expenses for bosses, almost £1m extra spent on marketing and £24,000 on a trip to Miami for six senior staff.

UCU responds to HEPI report on student number controls 18 September 2014 The government must clearly set out where funding for extra student places will come from as the number controls are lifted, UCU said today.

UCU members in English colleges to strike on 14 October 16 September 2014 Members of UCU in English colleges will be out on strike on Tuesday 14 October in a row over pay.

UK degree-level spending lags behind competitor countries - and social mobility remains a persistent problem 9 September 2014 The UK is lagging behind competitor countries including the United States, Japan and France in terms of spending per student at degree-level, according to a major international education report released today.

UCU at TUC Congress 8 September 2014 It has been a busy 24 hours for UCU delegates at the 146th annual TUC Congress in Liverpool.

Union responds to Liberal Democrat pre-manifesto education commitments
8 September 2014
Responding to the Liberal Democrats' pre-manifesto education commitments today, UCU welcomed many of the education proposals, but called on them and all parties to face up to the real challenges around funding and set out where they stand on this vital issue.

Shadow International Development Minister adds pressure on University College London over Qatar links 28 August 2014 University College London (UCL) is today being urged to do more to help workers on its campus in Qatar by Shadow International Development Minister, Alison McGovern.

Labour Party gets ball rolling ahead of 2015 universities election debate
28 August 2014
UCU today welcomed plans to reform Britain's universities from Shadow Universities Minister, Liam Byrne. The union said his contribution, published by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) think tank, should kickstart the debate on how to fund universities ahead of next year's general election.

University College London faces international pressure to improve treatment of workers on its Qatari campus 21 August 2014 University College London (UCL) is under international pressure to do more to help workers on its campus in Qatar.

Botched Barnsley College restructure results in staff shortages 15 August 2014 UCU has accused Barnsley College of wasting public money and putting students education at risk following a 'botched' restructure resulting in 29 vacancies within affected departments.

A-levels only part of the story for university entry 14 August 2014 UCU today welcomed the news that more students than ever have secured a place on a degree course following the release of A-level results.

Concern as A4E pulls out of London prison education contract a year early 14 August 2014 UCU has expressed concern following news that A4E is to terminate its contract to deliver education at 12 London prisons because it was operating at a loss.

More pressure for universities to widen access, says UCU 13 August 2014 Commenting on a new report from the Independent Commission on Fees, UCU today called for more pressure on universities to increase social mobility.


-- July 2014


UCU calls on Scottish government to go further on university governance 31 July 2014 UCU Scotland is calling on the Scottish government to bring in stronger rules to improve universities' governance. Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of a code of governance coming into effect and the deadline universities were given to implement the changes the code required of them.

UCU comment on possible changes to student loans 29 July 2014 UCU has today responded to reports about government proposals to reform the English student loan system which could lead to higher tuition fees for students and changes in loan terms.

Blame game no help to disadvantaged students aiming for university 24 July 2014 Commenting on a new report looking at widening participation in higher education released today, UCU said there was much more to do if colleges and universities are serious about changing the social make-up of their campuses.

Government was wrong to ignore warnings about for-profit colleges, says report
24 July 2014
  UCU pleased other voices are now coming out against unchecked expansion of for-profit colleges • Report says UK is scared to properly regulate private and for-profit sectors in case they take their ball home.

UCU calls for an end to zero-hours contracts at meeting with industry leaders
22 July 2014
UCU today re-emphasised its opposition to zero-hours contracts at an industry briefing on atypical and zero-hours contracts hosted by conciliation experts Acas.

Student finance in England needs urgent overhaul, says UCU 22 July 2014 The time has come for government to seriously reconsider the current system of tuition fee loans in English higher education, UCU said today.

Stockton Riverside College under fire for sacking staff over the holidays 18 July 2014 College announce 119 job losses and pay cut plans as staff break up for the summer • College refuses union's demand to delay consultation until after staff return from break

UCU calls on universities to fund national bursary scheme for disadvantaged students 17 July 2014 National bursary scheme would simplify 'labyrinth' poorest students currently have to navigate • Further education colleges put universities to shame as they spend 50% more on outreach work than universities.

UCU responds to cabinet reshuffle 15 July 2014 UCU today welcomed the new further and higher education ministers and said it was looking forward to discussing the important issues that face them in their new roles.

King's College London ignored credit agency warning not to axe jobs 15 July 2014 Standard and Poor's report advised against job cuts, warned about reputational damage and identified risks with building projects. King's is pushing ahead with building project and sacking 57 staff.

Staff 'deliver' giant postcard to Open University top brass in effort to save regional centres 15 July 2014 UCU members delivered a giant postcard to members of the Open University's council this morning, as the institution's senior members met to discuss the future of the Open University's regional centres.

UCU slams Edinburgh Napier University for zero-hours lecturer job ads 14 July 2014 Edinburgh Napier University is under fire after it was revealed that it is advertising lecturer posts on zero-hours contracts. UCU has today written* to the institution warning that employing staff on zero-hours contracts is bad news for the staff employed and does nothing to enhance the student experience.

Strike action not ruled out in row over job losses at K College 11 July 2014 UCU has not ruled out the possibility of strike action at K College in a row over jobs losses at the Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Ashford sites.

UCU comment on 10 July strikes 9 July 2014 UCU today expressed its solidarity with public sector workers on strike tomorrow over cuts in pay and pensions.

King's College asks for volunteers to cover specialist teaching in jobs axe row 9 July 2014 Leaked memo reveals extraordinary request for volunteers to cover sacked staff.

Lambeth College to shut down courses for most vulnerable students unless union capitulates 9 July 2014 The principal of Lambeth College has threatened to axe courses for disabled students and foreign speakers wishing to learn English (ESOL) if UCU does not accept his proposals to amend contracts for new staff.

Public back apprenticeships as degree alternatives 8 July 2014 More than half of young people would rather do an apprenticeship than go to university, if there was an apprenticeship in a job they wanted to do, according to polling released today.

Staff will be protesting at Plymouth University on Wednesday (9 July) in an ongoing row about job losses. 7 July 2014 Protests at Plymouth University on Wednesday after job loss talks fail.

The questions universities don't want asked at open days 7 July 2014 Prospective university students will be encouraged to ask difficult questions at open days as part of a campaign for greater transparency in higher education launched today.

Goldsmiths becomes first university to let a student into the secret of the boss's pay
3 July 2014
UCU says staff and students need seats at the table when universities decide vice-chancellors' pay.

Strike date announced at King's College London 3 July 2014 Strike action next Thursday coincides with Princess Anne opening new building.

Student satisfaction remains high, says report 3 July 2014 Students in the UK have become more satisfied with their degrees over time, says a new report released today.

Pet Shop Boy adds support to Lambeth College strikers 2 July 2014 Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant has added his support to the strikers at Lambeth College as they enter a fifth week of strike action.