Love Our Colleges Rally

“It was a wet and miserable day but 1,000s of staff and students from Further Education Colleges nationwide marched and protested outside parliament today over the systemic cuts to funding. Dudley College Rep Sally Hebbard represented UCU, alongside Sophia…. From Unison, together with several students and the President of the Student Union Aldrich….    The UK risks being left behind and lack of funding is increasing the skills gap. Jeremy Corbyn spoke with great passion saying he stood for properly funded colleges which have seen budgets slashed over several years.”

David Monnox – New UCU Rep

We would like to congratulate David Monnox on becoming the newest addition to Dudley College’s UCU rep team.

David Monnox : Sports Lecturer, EVOLVE

I have been working full time in FE for nearly fourteen years, at some large colleges such as Matthew Boulton, BMET, South Birmingham and South Leicestershire Colleges.  During my time I have held positions such as Lecturer, Health and Safety Representative, Curriculum Coordinator, Curriculum Manager and until last year Performance Coach.   

During my time in education, I have seen a big change in the expectations and workloads of staff within the college environment, due to the financial constraints and college restructures and as a result, I recognise the importance of supportive and effective union representation, in order to maintain members’ physical and emotional health and wellbeing whilst at work.   

I have also experienced, seen and been aware of injustices in the workplace due to various malpractices and I feel that as a Union Representative I will be supportive to our members due to my approachable and personable manner.  I am a motivated individual who sees tasks through to completion and in addition, I am not afraid to ask difficult questions when they need to be asked.



3 Week Rule – suggested offer accepted!

After three meetings with Andy Comyn and Kathryn Jones, the ‘3 Week Rule’ issue regarding annual leave was brought to the Joint Consultative Committee meeting. It was suggested that “a line manager can authorise more than 3 weeks continuous annual leave instead of having to contact the Assistant Principal.” This offer was brought to the last full UCU meeting (28.06.17) and attending members voted unanimously in favour of accepting this offer.

The current annual leave policy is as follows:

“…3 weeks continuous holiday can be agreed by the line manager. Where staff require holidays of more than 3 continuous weeks they should make the request in advance to their Vice Principal, with sufficient advance notice, so that the college’s business needs may be fully considered prior to a decision being made.”

We will confirm with all members once this amendment has been ratified. All staff will then be able to put in requests for up to 4 weeks’ annual leave, ensuring the college’s business needs are considered, and this should be approved by your line manager. If you believe that any requests have been unfairly rejected, please contact a UCU rep.



Black Country Area Reviews

UCU Dudley College attended the Pre-Steering Group Meeting (20.05.16) to which all union representatives were invited to speak with David Collins (FE Commissioner & Area Review Lead) about progress in the Black Country Area Reviews.

As this was the 2nd of 5 meetings, very little information was divulged and only general feedback was given. David Collins appeared largely satisfied with the financial health of Black Country colleges and questioned, “Why mess with it if it works?” He also stated that although this may be the case, there will likely be some “tidying up around the edges needed.” When pushed for clarification, he explained that development of the ‘high needs’ provision would be investigated further and good working relationships between colleges encouraged.

Three more Steering Groups are due to take place:

3rd Steering Group – Finance and Estates

4th Steering Group – Options for Recommendations

5th Steering Group – Formal Sign-off on Recommendations

Overall, the outlook appears positive for Black Country colleges with no major concerns or changes planned at this initial stage of the process. UCU Dudley College will keep you posted on any updates.

David-Collins-Landscape-1024x647                                 David Collins – FE Commissioner and Area Review Lead

Report of meeting with FE Commissioner Friday 20 May 2016



“Dudley College and Sandwell College are both doing well and are strong enough to stand alone.” – David Collins

Below you will find the full report below written by Anne O’Sullivan detailing that “all colleges [in the Black Country region] in scope of the review work well together, are financially sound and offer a good quality provision”

Report of meeting with FE Commissioner Monday 20 June 2016


Birmingham Area Review Recommendations

Three Birmingham colleges could merge as a result of the area review in the city, while all three of the city’s sixth-form colleges are in the running to convert to academy status, according to a leaked document.

The recommendations from the Birmingham and Solihull area review’s steering group call for a radical overhaul of post-16 provision in the city, according to documents seen by the Birmingham Mail. The newspaper reports that  the steering group, led by FE commissioner David Collins, will recommend that Bournville College and South & City College Birmingham merge, with the possible addition of Cadbury Sixth Form College.

This would reduce the number of colleges from the seven covered by the area review to four. If the three-way merger were to go ahead, the document recommends that all of the colleges retain their individual brands. Alternatively, the report suggests that Cadbury Sixth Form College could instead end up forming a multi-academy trust with schools in the south of the city.

birmingham area review

Motivational Points

Have you been awarded your motivational point?
This is just a quick survey to ascertain whether or not our members have received a motivational point following their last PMR.
(Remember that this only applies to members who have reached the top of their pay band - see 'Pay Policy' [Pg 7/8] below)

* indicates required field


Pay Policy

Sandwell Observation Boycott

Observations are often a huge source of stress for members in FE. Already overloaded, the extra paperwork pushes many to breaking point, and added to that is the anxiety of the observation itself, with the fear that what should be a developmental process is used as a capability assessment and potentially as a way to target staff management don’t like. Consultants receive huge amounts of public money to come into classrooms to tell the people who are teaching every day how much better they could be at their jobs. It is exhausting and it damages morale.

At Sandwell college, members are standing together to say they will not accept an unfair observation policy. After management went back on agreed procedure, the branch have been balloted and voted 98% in favour of a boycott, with 89% backing an escalation to strike action if there is any victimisation or unfair financial penalty.

The boycott began on Tuesday (02.02.16), and it would be great for Sandwell branch to receive messages of support from other branches across the region. You can email these to Sandwell’s branch secretary, Dave Muritu, at, and he will pass these along to the branch.

Income tax relief on your UCU subscription

A reminder to check your UCU membership record to ensure that you are paying the correct subscription rates, as failure to do so may disqualify you from receiving legal advice and other benefits from UCU.

UCU members can claim 67% tax relief on the total annual subscription they have paid to UCU – up to the last four years. Subscriptions start on 1st Sept each year so please consider this carefully when making your calculations. HMRC has issued the following advice to the union:

‘Approval is granted on the basis that tax relief is restricted to 67% of the total annual subscription. Please ensure that members are aware that the figure to be shown on their tax return is the allowable figure equal to the 67% of the total annual subscription.’

Further information, including a UCU tax reckoner, worked example and tax relief claim form can be found here.



The Bradford Factor – What is it?

The Bradford Factor is a system used by Dudley College to calculate a score for each employee’s absence in a year. The higher your BF score then the ‘more disruption’ you are causing the college. This is calculated using the following equation:

B=S^{2} X D

B = the Bradford Factor
S = the number of absences in the period measured
D = the number of days in total over the period

You can contact Personnel at any point to ask for your score and what implications it may have.

If you have anymore queries about this, please get in touch!

Bradford Factor

What are ‘Area Reviews’?

What are ‘Area Reviews’?

A series six reviews will be made over 72 colleges in order to ‘establish the appropriate set of institutions to offer high quality provision based on the current and future needs of learners and employers within the local area’. The Birmingham review will be followed very quickly by reviews of FE provision nationwide.

What will this mean?

While the final decisions of the first review will be announced early next year, it is expected that we are looking at lots of merging of provision for higher level courses, with potentially courses closing, job losses and loss of places.

What does this mean for Dudley College?

Dudley College is likely to be involved in the 3rd wave of area reviews which will most likely take place after Easter next year. The first wave is currently taking place in Birmingham colleges and the second around Shropshire and Staffordshire. At the very least, this means that we will know the outcome of the first area reviews and how we may (or may not) be affected.

What are UCU concerns over these reviews?

  • the impact upon learners of rationalisation and increased specialisation, particularly with regard to hard-to-reach groups and those in rural communities
  • the impact upon the jobs of teaching staff should rationalisation lead to fewer, larger colleges
  • the predominance of narrow economic needs as the basis for local provision
  • the over-reliance upon apprenticeships as part of the education offer to the local community
  • the failure to include school sixth forms, private training providers, free schools and other institutions within the scope of the review

You will be able to find more detailed information of these reviews here.

Our current priority is raising awareness around this issue to all members of staff and the general public. It is an outrage that such huge decisions are being made in such a short amount of time which could inevitably cause irreparable damage to our sector.

UPDATE: It has been confirmed that Dudley College will be involved in the 3rd wave of area reviews from APRIL 2016