This year’s NCAFC Summer Training at Edinburgh College was attended by around 60 student activists from institutions across the country including Edinburgh University, Edinburgh College, Aberdeen University, Kent University, Birmingham University, Royal Holloway, UCL, Swansea University, Sheffield University, Queen Mary University Belfast, Middlesex University, and London Metropolitan University.
The weekend included a diverse range of workshops on a range of subjects including International Students activism, Campaigning around the NHS, Housing Campaigns, Working with Trade Uniosn and more.
In a plenary session on the Saturday, feedback from a range of workshops was brought together into a really exciting set of plans for the term, and year ahead, shaping NCAFC’s upcoming campaign priorities.
Campaign around Student Debt
- Resolved to write to Nick Clegg, which can be seen here, demanding he reverse the plans to sell the student loan book, staged direct action on campuses around the country, and moving towards a national demo early in 2014.
- This should include mobilising graduates as this affects them too.
National Mobilisation Around Campus Struggles
- NCAFC resolved to back and campaign around struggles at the University of London, including the Tres Cosas campaign and the closure of ULU.
- We also discussed mobilising around the cuts at the University of Liverpool, but since our training the campaign has won a victory on campus!
- The attendees agreed that the unilateral closure of student unions by management is an attack that is likely to spread across the country if not stopped now.
Building Local Anti Cuts Groups
- A number of activists from Birmingham University, UCL, ULU and Royal Holloway resolved to go away and write a hand book for ‘how to build a local anti cuts group’ for activists across the country.
Workers’ Rights/Workers’ Struggles
- Campaigning around zero hours contracts was discussed and Mike Shaw (Edinburgh) and Liam McNulty (ULU/Unison) resolved to do further research into what can be done.
- There was some discussion of the employability agenda being pushed in partnership between Universities and SUs, which may back up the marketisation of education. A task group resolved to go away and continue to discuss this.
General Election Strategy
- There was a session on general election strategy over the weekend, but we’re keeping schtum on our plans until they’re more fully formed. If you’re an NCAFC member see contact details below to get involved.
- There was discussion around how to campaign around cuts and privatisation of the NHS, with further discussion at the NCAFC/Medsin event held at Goldsmith’s University the following week. For more information on how to get involved with this campaign, email Pete [email protected], or check out studentsforthenhs.blogspot.com
- There were some internal discussions over the weekend too, looking at the structures and democracy of NCAFC, and also the sexism within the student movement.
- Some good action points came out of this. NCAFC Women are planning to hold Public Speaking Workshops just before NCAFC Conference in November, Facebook event here. We also agreed to continue discussion around sexist behaviours in student men, and how we can improve upon them and make our spaces more inclusive.
- Our members organising web forum has now been launched, if you want to get in on the discussion, email [email protected] with your name and we’ll send you some login details (all current members should have been sent this already).
Campaigning In The Nations
- Lots of the stuff we discussed was England-specific, which seemed a bit strange seeing as we were in Scotland! We discussed how we can apply our campaigning to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Rob Henthorn from Aberdeen raised how the biggest issue in Scotland right now is the changes in Further Education, and we need to be campaigning around that! The room asked the NCAFC Scotland committee to let us know what and how we can do to campaign around this. We also discussed the devolved issues with the NHS and how it impacts differently on different nations.
Contact details for each of the upcoming campaigns – get in touch and we’ll add you to the discussion:
Student Debt: [email protected]
Building Local Anti Cuts Groups:[email protected]
General Election: [email protected]
NHS Campaigning:[email protected] (Pete Campbell)
Zero Hours Contracts: [email protected]
NCAFC Women: [email protected]
FE in Scotland:[email protected]