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National Student Survey – UCU supports NUS boycott

At our AGM this week, members of Bath UCU gave unanimous support to Bath Students’ Union which has joined the growing move to boycott the National Student Survey (NSS). The background is laid out below in the branch motion and a message from our General Secretary. Branch Officers will now invite Officers of the SU to discuss how members of Bath UCU can best support the student boycott.

UCU has prepared resources, including posters and an FAQ for members. These are available from the national union website.

Bath UCU AGM 2016 – Motion 2: TEF and NSS [Passed]

In agreement with national UCU policy on supporting NUS opposition to the TEF and NSS, the local association offers its full support to Bath SU in its policy of joining twenty other students’ unions in supporting a boycott of NSS and the TEF. These measures are detrimental to higher education and staff and students are united in opposition to them. We encourage UCU members to support Bath SU in practical measures to end TEF and NSS and to take part in national action in support of these aims.

Message to members from Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary

As many of you will be aware our ally the National Union of Students (NUS) has called a boycott of the National Student Survey (NSS). The boycott covers all institutions where NSS is distributed and includes higher education (HE) courses that take place within further education (FE) institutions. The NUS boycott will begin in some institutions from 6 January 2017.

The NUS boycott is in furtherance of their policy that the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which itself uses NSS data, should be decoupled by the government from any increases in tuition fees.

Like UCU, NUS has a long standing policy of raising concerns about the NSS both in terms of its positioning of students as passive customers and in its use for internal performance management.

UCU is working closely with NUS, reflecting our longstanding relationship. In line with our own policies we will give full support, within the law, to NUS’s campaign. I have agreed a joint statement with Malia Bouattia the president of NUS

The practicality of how and when the boycott is to be implemented may differ between student unions. UCU and NUS have therefore agreed that our branches and local unions should seek to reach a joint position on the campaign locally in order to maximise support.

We are working closely with NUS on materials both for students and staff in support of our joint work and these will be available for download in this Friday’s campaigns update email.

You can view the NUS campaign page here.

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts have posted a further explanation of the NSS boycott strategy on their website.

University of Bath response to HE Green Paper

Senate has agreed a response to the controversial HE Green Paper, which includes the proposal to introduce a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

TEF: Bath and Bristol UCU branches oppose new Government push to privatise HE

Invitation: From REF to TEF: On the Government’s Plans for Higher Education, Thursday, 21st January 2016, 17:00-18:30, Old Council Chamber, Wills Memorial Building

Dear Bath UCU Member,

Bristol UCU invites you to From REF to TEF: On the Government’s Plans for Higher Education, a panel discussion and Q&A on the future of Higher Education in the wake of the government’s recent proposals.


From REF to TEF provides a space to debate this direction of travel. What exactly do the Green Paper and coming White Paper mean for the notion of a University? What is to be done in the face of Jo Johnson’s ‘reform’ agenda?

Panellists include
• Sorana Vieru (NUS Vice President, Higher Education)
• Harriet Bradley (UWE and UCU NEC and HEC)
• Jessica Patterson, (PGR Rep, NCAFC)
• Tom Hickey (University of Brighton)


Statement from UCU branches at Universities of Bath and Bristol

We endorse comments circulated to branches in the UCU briefing on the Green Paper (November 2015).  However, we call on the HEC at its meeting on 13 January to make a clear statement of opposition to the Teaching Excellence Framework and the role it is intended to play in the further privatisation of higher education.  With HEFCE teaching grant now reduced to 5% of total HE income, we call on the HEC to respond to the consultation by calling for an increase in public spending on university teaching as the only way to guarantee teaching excellence. (more…)