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Sunday, 22nd April 2018

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‘Will the NUS President fight to defend further education?’ asks FE students

Will NUS do anything to defend students? That will be the key question of NUS National Conference next week.

From the scrapping of EMA and cuts to ESOL funding, to the prospect of a fees and loans system, students in FE are being cut out and priced out of education.

Earlier this week a number of Further Education students wrote to NUS President Liam Burns – who is seeking re-election at this year’s conference – asking him to support the call a national demo to defend FE students from fees and cuts. They are still waiting for a response.

Here we share their open letter.

Open letter from FE students to NUS President Liam Burns – will you back a national demo and fight for our future?

The shameful scrapping of EMA will cost 16-18 year olds in college around £1000 a year each, and the ‘replacement’ 16-19 bursary falls woefully short of what is needed. UCU calculates that by 2013 FE will have suffered cuts of around £300 million, with 7,000 jobs and 160,000 student places facing the axe.

Cuts to ESOL funding and the new proposals to remove financial support for adult learners in FE and introduce a loans system should be fiercely opposed. These moves are forcing the most vulnerable learners out of education, with women, disabled, black and LGBT people all being hit the hardest. Students hoping to go on to HE are now facing the prospect of paying £9,000 a year for their education, and many are feeling priced out of education.

We are pleased to see so many student leaders calling for an NUS demo later this year. The NUS cannot afford to remain silent on these issues and we need to lead the fightback against the government’s assault on education.

With minsters aiming to introduce adult FE loans policy by 2013 we need to show our united resistance now more than ever.

Are you willing to stand up for us and call an NUS demo later this year?


Matt Stanley, MidKent College & NUS LGBT Committee-elect
Jamil Keating, Xavier College & candidate for NUS VP FE
Lizi Gray, Newcastle College Equal Opportunities Officer
Lani Baird, President Aberdeen College Students’ Association, NUS Scotland LGBT & NUS UK LGBT committee (FE rep)
Nathan Cane, K College
Beccy Sawbridge, NUS Black Students’ Committee (FE rep)
Sebastian Chowdhury, Student Governor, Manchester College
James Phillips, MidKent College President & NUS Welfare Zone Committee
Amanda Willis, Vice President, Canterbury College
Ben Hayes, La SWAP 6th form college anti-cuts group
Joey McKillop, Campaigns Officer, West Thames College SU
Joe Kelly, Hope Valley College & NUS LGBT Committee (FE rep)
Stuart Roney, President Stow College Student Association
Samantha Sadler, MidKent College & NUS LGBT FE student of the year

If you are an FE student or rep & would like to add your name please leave a comment or email

Over 150 student leaders have signed a statement calling upon NUS to organise a national demo. To add your name email now.

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