UNISON speaks up for members in post-16 review

Union gets seat on ‘national area review advisory group’ for post-16 education in England as new government guidance issues

UNISON will be able to speak up for members in the government’s review of post-16 education and training in England.

News government guidance on the area reviews names the union as a member of a ‘national area review advisory group’ that will meet for the next time on 10 March.

This body includes other stakeholders such as the National Union of Students, the Association of Colleges, the Sixth Form College Association and the FE Commissioner.

UNISON head of education and children’s services Jon Richards welcomed the union’s inclusion, saying: “This will allow us to voice the concerns of our members on this issue that will affect members working in colleges across England.”

But, he added, “unfortunately this is only an advisory body and not a decision-making body.

“We will continue to press for representation on the local area view steering groups.”

In the meantime, UNISON national and lay officials remain involved in the parallel discussions in each of the area reviews.

The government’s new guidance also refers to the funding available to colleges that are restructuring.

It also clarifies some of the benchmarks that should be considered by the area reviews. These can be found in Annex F of the document.

The timescales have been extended in response to the early reviews that should have reported in January – the first report from Birmingham and Solihull is only expected this week.