On the Poverty of the Student Experience

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This is an opinion piece written by NCAFC member Dan Davison for the 50th anniversary of 1968. An early version was distributed as a bulletin for the 2018 National Student Left Conference, ‘We are the University’. Join the debate by writing for us at anticuts.com!

Fifty years ago, we were warned of the spectacle. We were warned of how the commodity’s tendrils were seeping into every corner of social being, suffocating all potential for authentic human life. Now the commodity’s colonisation of society is complete. Under neoliberalism, ’we are everywhere homo oeconomicus and only homo oeconomicus’. [1] Few areas of social life display this bleak economisation of human existence as starkly as higher education. More and more, our academic institutions become degree factories whose vacuous output feeds the ‘knowledge economy’. Under the metricising gaze of the two ‘excellence frameworks’, the marketisation of education set in motion when the Blair Government introduced tuition fees in 1998 has reached its highest stage. ‘The Poverty of Student Life’ [2] that the Situationists described in 1966 is not only greater in 2018: it is happily advertised on every campus as ‘the student experience’.

Five decades on, we students are still here to be moulded into low-level functionaries within the commodity system. The prospect of this dismal ‘reward’ awaiting us beyond our current ‘provisional role’ still drives us to take refuge in an ‘unreally lived present’. [3] Yet the bureaucrats have learned how to turn this transient, comforting embrace of the unreal into a constant, passive acceptance of the commodity system itself. One sees this from how, on many campuses, students’ unions are little more than inane entertainment venues and docile feedback mechanisms instead of democratic bodies that fight for their members’ material interests. The more we conceive of ourselves as human capital, the more student life models itself on the investment firm. Studies and recreation alike are geared towards that hollow monstrosity of modern life that is the LinkedIn profile.

With the shift in the education sector from relying on government grants to relying on fees and rents as income, shiny new buildings line prospectus pages to help universities meet their ever-rising target student numbers, even where campuses already feel the strain of overcrowding. As we saw in Elephant and Castle, these same ostentatious building projects can mask the gentrifying expansion of campuses both here and overseas, depriving working class locals of their homes and livelihoods in the pursuit of profit. Even the suggestion of lower fees for specific subjects in the Tory Government’s latest Higher Education review retains the logic of student-as-consumer, valuating knowledge according to market needs rather than individual human flourishing or any wider social benefit.

Marketisation and commodification leave the lives of education workers no less impoverished than those of students. Under the watchful eyes of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), academics pursue constant validation by artificial metrics in service of the ‘knowledge economy’. These frameworks herald the final stages in the sector’s decades-long shift towards a managerial accounting model. There are few starker illustrations of what is truly valued in education under neoliberalism than the fact that the University of Bath, the very institution that heralded a national media storm over Vice Chancellors’ pay and university democracy, received a ‘Gold’ ranking under the TEF in 2017. Similarly, the cuts to the University Superannuation Scheme (USS) that led the University and College Union (UCU) into its largest ever strike were made to shift financial risk away from the universities and onto the individual employee. The rhetoric of ‘flexibility’ veils staff’s anxiety over having to structure their entire lives around casual contracts that provide little stable income and leave them at the mercy of managers. Faced with insecurity in future retirement and present employment alike, for postgraduates and Early Career Academics, the ‘student experience’ leads to a poverty every bit as financial as it is spiritual.

The traditional professoriate mourns the death of older collegial forms of university governance and liberal education. To be clear, we are under no illusions about the bourgeois-liberal universities of yesteryear. Such universities provided general education to a privileged minority so that they could take up positions in the ruling class. This is why, when we call to make institutions democratically accountable, we mean to all those who work and study there, and to their local communities. We do not mean democratically accountable to elite academics nostalgic for the days when they were the ‘guard-dogs serving the future masters’ rather than ‘sheep-dogs in charge of herding white-collar flocks to their respective factories and offices’. [4]

However, the Situationists also warned of the ‘modernists’ who wished to ‘reintegrate’ the university into social and economic life. They recognised what such ‘reintegration’ really meant. It meant adapting the entire university to the needs of modern capitalism. It meant ‘subordinating one of the last relatively autonomous sectors of social life to the demands of the commodity system’. [5] With the neoliberal turn, capitalism has subsumed academia into the logic of the market to the point of commodifying education itself. The descendants of the ‘modernists’ have won. The ‘future cybernetised university’ the Situationists warned us about is finally here. [6]

To see this unsettling truth, one need only look at the extent to which the illusions that the forces of capital once had to impose upon students and workers are now ‘willingly internalised and transmitted’ thanks to metricisation. [7] It is hardly a secret that National Student Survey (NSS) results on ‘student satisfaction’ are essentially junk data and, as part of the TEF, are intended to allow high-scoring universities to become more expensive than low-scoring ones. Despite this, final year undergraduates across the country fill in the survey without a second thought. If the university’s promise of ‘critical thinking’ is to mean anything, then we as students should be dissatisfied with our institutions: dissatisfied with their complicity in job cuts, poverty wages, racist monitoring practices, gentrification, political suppression, and the reduction of all human value to that of capital! What’s more, we should be unafraid to make our dissatisfaction political!

As for how academic staff have responded to this increasingly metricised life, through the felt need to meet submission deadlines in the REF cycle, even at the cost of publication quality, they have come to accept permanent performance monitoring as the basis for differentiated rewards. [8] For all the promises of neoliberalism’s architects that we would be freed from ‘red tape’, bureaucracy is now immanent to work itself. Not only has the ruling class set up new ‘agencies of psycho-police control’: it has made us feel compelled to monitor ourselves and feed the data to those agencies as a matter of routine! [9] The graffitied Parisian walls of May ‘68 warned that ‘a cop sleeps inside each one of us’. The more we watch our every step to meet competitive performance levels, the more that sleeping cop begins to stir.

If the spectacle truly has reached such an all-consuming stage, then how do we push beyond it? Already we see parallel struggles between the youth and student movements of the 1960s, and those of today. The mass sit-ins at Berkeley for free speech in the face of political repression echo in the current rallying cry for ‘Cops Off Campus!’, and in the fight against the racist surveillance of students under the Prevent Strategy. The spirit of the shop steward movement imbues the latest strikes by cleaners, cinema staff, fast food workers, and couriers, proving that young and migrant workers can lead the charge against the ‘gig economy’. The youth who helped build the Corbyn project in the Labour Party and showed their seismic force in the 2017 general election would easily find their counterparts in the anti-bomb and anti-war movements of fifty years ago.

We should not limit our examples to Britain. Even now, comrades in France are showing the way, staging simultaneous student occupations and rail worker strikes to resist Macron’s attacks upon the public sector. The ‘selection’ process Macron seeks to implement would edge French universities towards a marketised system like the UK’s. In Germany, university and school students have gone on strike under the slogan ‘Education not Deportations’ to oppose the expansion of German and EU border controls. They demand a dignified life and proper access to education for all migrants. In Poland, students and workers have occupied the University of Warsaw in protest against a state attempt to change the university’s governance structures, which would centralise power in the hands of the rector and unelected external governors. The protesters also demand increased funding for education and science, and more rights for workers on campus. All these common struggles lay the foundations for international solidarity.

As in the 1960s, we as students need to unite against the shared root of our hardships. We need to bring together the different blades we have drawn against the neoliberal beast. By this I mean the thriving campaigns on campuses across the country to cap rents; to abolish fees; to pay a Living Wage; to end zero hours contracts and outsourcing; to move to renewable energy. At the national level, we need to democratise the National Union of Students (NUS) into a dynamic, militant force worthy of its name. We fight for a democratic, accessible, and truly public education system with a liberatory curriculum. This common goal finds its fullest potency as a rupture within the very capitalist system that keeps us beholden to commodities and bound in wage-slavery. This is the core lesson that 1968 imparted: the need to wage all these different battles as a living, radical critique of world that is and unify them into a single struggle for the world that could be. This way, we can make ‘the student experience’ mean the affirmation, not the alienation, of human life and creativity: a détournement worthy of Debord himself.

[1] Wendy Brown, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution (MIT Press 2015), page 33.
[2] Members of the Situationist International and Students of Strasbourg University, On the Poverty of Student Life (1966). http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/poverty.htm
[3] Poverty, chapter 1.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Hugo Radice, ‘How We Got Here: UK Higher Education under Neoliberalism’, 12 (2) ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 407-18, page 416. https://www.acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/969
[9] Poverty, chapter 1.

Solidarity with striking staff: Acting like consumers is not what’s needed!

Tyrone Falls, NCAFC South-West Rep, offers a response to proposals that students should demand fee refunds for days and lectures disrupted by strikes. For a contrasting view, see this article by NCAFC International Students’ Rep Bobby Sun. Want to write an opinion article for our blog? Email [email protected]!

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At KCL a campaign has recently been launched by students to demand a refund for days and lectures lost due to strike action by UCU. The slogan for the campaign reads: “Our conscience should be free, refund our fees”. Whilst it’s understandable that students are annoyed that their lectures and seminars will be cancelled, presenting it as an either-or situation – either we have to strike-break because we are not getting a refund or we stand on the picket line because we are going to get a refund – creates a false dichotomy. Ultimately, staff are on strike because their pensions are under threat. Moreover, if these reforms go through they pave the way for further cuts and restructuring of universities. Therefore, the strike is to stop conditions worsening in education. This ought to be cause enough to support it.

However, there are further reasons why this campaign is the wrong approach. Firstly, it accepts the logic that students are consumers; secondly, the way it’s formulated now, it doesn’t strengthen solidarity, but instead says we might show solidarity if we get a refund; and thirdly, it misses the point that the people most immediately affected by the strike are lecturers, particularly those on more precarious and lower-paid contracts.

Solidarity with workers based on defending education not consumerism

A major issue with this campaign is that it embraces the logic that students are consumers and that education is a commodity. Rather than calling out this view of education – that you can attach a price-tag to the education you receive – as a myth, the campaign accepts it. Of course, you might reply, ‘Yeah, I’m against this logic too but the fact is that’s the system we have and we have to work with it’. You can still reject this logic and look to how we can best support the strike. How can we best make links with other workers that will set up structures to fight for a free and democratic education? Unfortunately, behaving like consumers who are paying for a service does nothing to question this model’s underlying logic, and so does nothing for people to become conscious and persuaded that education based on fees and consumerism can never be fair.

Lecturers are fighting cuts to education – this is why we should show solidarity

Again, I can see why students are annoyed that they are missing lectures. However, it is unfortunately normal that strikes negatively affect people other than management. However, if you understand why it is that lecturers are going on strike and agree with them, then you should be supporting the strike anyway. For any support of the strike to be real and genuine, it has to come from people appreciating why it is that workers have been forced to take this action. This is how we should be talking to students and others about the strike. If an en-masse refund campaign were done together with strikers purely for the tactical purpose of causing administrative disruption, then it would be different. However, as currently formulated, the campaign basically says that you can be unsupportive of workers who are taking action, losing pay, and trying to stop further cuts to education, if you don’t get a refund.

Those most affected by the strike are the lecturers

The third issue with the Refund Our Fees campaign is its focus. Yes, people are missing lectures and (based on a marketised view of education) they are losing money. However, those who are most affected by the strike are the lecturers, particularly lecturers on precarious and low-pay contracts. These workers will be losing out on big chunks of pay to defend their pensions. As people who are sympathetic to the lecturers’ actions, our focus should be first and foremost on how can we support striking staff to get over this difficult period and win. We should be asking: “How can we best build the morale of strikers, or help with strike funds, or get other students to understand what is at stake and genuinely support the strike?”

Victory to the UCU strike!

Boycott the 2017 National Student Survey to stop the higher education reforms!

Boycott the NSS to stop the HE reformsThis NUS conference, we are putting forward a motion to boycott or sabotage next year’s National Student Survey (NSS) and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (DLHE).These surveys are bad in themselves: they’re used as a weapon to beat academic staff with and as an excuse to restructure departments. Student satisfaction ratings like these are also racially-biased and gendered, so that women and black academics score lower, and they are essential to maintaining a market in education which pits us all against each other.

There is a good case for not participating in these surveys regardless of any other factors, but in this instance we want to use the importance of these surveys to HE bosses as leverage to defeat the current reforms which represent an attack to education as a public service. We are proposing that NUS will mobilise students to sabotage or boycott the NSS and DLHE if the HE reforms and the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) are not withdrawn and we need your help in getting the NUS to do this.

What are the HE reforms and the TEF?

The HE reforms were outlined in the Higher Education Green Paper of November last year. They contain proposals to further marketise higher education, which will make it easier for for-profit private provider to enter the market, for fees to be increased, for universities to shut down and for business to dictate what we learn. A core component of these reforms is the TEF. It will use statistics from the NSS and the DHLE, as well as other data, to supposedly measure the quality of teaching. This means that good teaching will be at least partly defined by the extent to which it increases the value of our work to employers and big business. Scoring well in the TEF would also allow universities to put up their fees, increasing the cost of education and creating further competition in a tiered system between different universities. If these proposals go through, they will radically transform our education for the worse.

Why boycott/sabotage the NSS and DHLE as a strategy?

In order for the TEF to function as intended, students have to participate in both of these surveys. These surveys are also used in other league tables and calculations which those who wish to create a market in the HE sector are dependent upon. If students, en masse, either refused to fill in the surveys at all or sabotaged it by giving artificially maximum or minimum scores, the results would become of little use and would wreck plans for the TEF, having a knock-on impact on other HE reforms and causing havoc with other procedures already in place to manage and marketise the sector. This should act as a major disincentive for the government to go through with their agenda.

How would it work?

If this motion passes, the Vice President Higher Education, in consultation with National Executive Committee and education workers who are affected by the TEF, would carry out research and devise the most effective boycott/sabotage strategy. In June, NUS will write to the government and announce that the NUS will mobilise students to sabotage or boycott the NSS and DLHE if the HE reforms and the TEF are not withdrawn. If the government refuses to withdraw the HE reforms, the NUS will work to mobilise students to sabotage or boycott the Spring 2017 NSS, and the next year’s DLHE. The campaign should begin at the start of Autumn Term 2016 collecting pledges from students that they will carry out the action if the HE reforms are not withdrawn.

How can you help?

If we’re going to get enough students to participate in the boycott/sabotage to make it effective, we need this motion to pass at NUS National Conference. It’s already been successful at NUS Postgraduate Conference and NUS LGBT+ Conference, and we know with enough work we can get it to pass nationally as well. Lobby your delegates to vote in favour of it or take a motion to your SU council to mandate them to vote for it. Share information about this campaign and look out for upcoming actions to get involved with. If you’re coming to NUS Conference, get in contact with us and let us know that you’re up for campaigning there. Email [email protected]

To spread the word, please click attending, invite and share this facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1723705774533592/

The motion itself can found in this document, listed under 201b: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/nusdigital/document/documents/23606/CD10_Final_Proposals_Motions_-_20160322_v3.pdf

The “Teaching Excellence Framework”: exploiting staff, raising fees and marketising education

Tory Minister for Universities & Science, Jo Johnson

Tory Minister for Universities & Science, Jo Johnson

James Elliott, NUS NEC Disabled Students’ Rep & NCAFC Disabled co-rep

Usually when governments say that something, whether students, quality, or access is ‘at the heart of the system’, that is when the student movement needs to pay close attention. Recent statements by the new Universities Minister Jo Johnson and the 2015 budget from George Osborne have confirmed this – we are not ‘at the heart of the system’, but capital definitely is.

Following in the footsteps of David Willetts’ Higher Education White Paper “students at the heart of the system”, new Tory Universities Minister Jo Johnson has announced “teaching at the heart of the system” – which seems to mean a further round of teaching casualisation, institutional funding linked directly to graduate earnings, and even higher tuition fees.

What Jo Johnson proposed is to introduce a new ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ (TEF) to parallel the ‘Research Excellence Framework’, which uses a set of metrics to rank universities every five years and award them funding based on the results. This will include ‘outcome-focused’ metrics, and Johnson’s original speech included the phrase, “clear financial and reputational incentives to make ‘good’ teaching even better.”

Johnson was asked by the London South Bank Vice-Chancellor if this was to be “linked to pricing of courses”, which he evaded and refused to rule out. In the Commons, Johnson was asked by Labour MPs, including the former Blairite President of NUS Wes Streeting, to rule out a fee rise and refused. Then this week, in his budget, George Osborne announced fees would be able to rise in line with inflation at institutions with measures that, “include allowing institutions offering high teaching quality to increase their tuition fees in line with inflation from 2017-18, with a consultation on the mechanisms to do this.”

What does this ‘TEF’ mean?

The Times Higher Education’s John Morgan has analysed what this might mean, predicting that once the Conservatives have passed “English Votes for English Laws”, they may be in a better position to get a rise in fees for English universities through Parliament, and then those that do well in the TEF may be allowed to raise fees.

This will be set out in an autumn Green Paper, usually a precursor to legislation – and an Act of Parliament could be a sign that the TEF will be linked to a fee hike, or at least a variation in the cap. I explained how this might work for NCAFC this week.

The TEF has ramifications beyond just tuition fees, however, and is another logical step in the marketisation of higher education. The ‘outcome-focused’ metrics are likely to measure things such as graduate salaries which clearly have nothing to do with the quality of one’s education. This will hugely disfavour teaching staff who train students who go into low-paid public sector work, like becoming the next generation of casualised academic workers. It will also fail to take into account that people with higher-earning parents will go into higher-paying graduate jobs, not necessarily through good teaching but through personal contacts or early advantages in life.

What is the Research Excellence Framework, and what is wrong with it?

The Teaching Excellence Framework follows in the footsteps of the Research Excellence Framework. Described by Peter Scott, Professor of Higher Education Studies at the Institute of Education, as “a Minotaur that must be appeased by bloody sacrifices”, where, “universities’ main objective is to achieve better REF grades, not to produce excellent science and scholarship”. The REF is the governments method of allocating research funding to institutions. For 2014, 1,100 academics graded 191,232 research outputs submitted to REF, where sometimes just one assessor will grade your research. The system is erratic, and unpredictable, and could see departments closing from a loss in funding. In one half-joking Guardian piece advising academics how to do well in the REF, they are told, “Don’t write a book or extended monograph: the REF makes no distinction between research outputs, so there is no incentive to undertake long-term projects. Also don’t bother with risky, visionary or imaginative projects unless you can be absolutely certain that you will get a publication out of it. No publication means no impact.”

Sound like the sort of thing that university teaching could do with? No, us neither.

What did Jo Johnson actually say?

Let’s take a closer look at what Johnson actually said. He claimed his focus will be on three key manifesto pledges, which are lifting the cap on student numbers, delivering the TEF, and finally, “driving value for money both for students investing in their education, and taxpayers underwriting the system”. Johnson says he plans to, “assess the employment and earnings returns to education by matching Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Department for Education (DfE) education data with HMRC employment and income data and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits data.”

This will likely mean that the outcome-focused metrics are all about graduate earnings and employment. A ‘good teacher’ is no longer someone who enriches your understanding of a subject, or enhances your critical thinking, they are now a glorified careers service – and their success will be measured by your paycheque.

Johnson also talked up the National Student Survey (NSS), a continued irritant for education workers who are pitted against one another in a quantitative survey. These kinds of metrics hurt workers in education, facilitating their exploitation, as quality of education is not something that can be polled, quantitatively measured or bottled up and weighed. These bogus metrics are then used to justify redundancies, funding cuts, and drive workers to striver harder and harder to ‘outperform’ their colleagues, fostering antipathy and a competitive spirit among staff that divides them.

What is particularly damaging is the repeated references to the Competitive Markets Authority, and polls conducted by the Higher Education Policy Institute, which seem to indicate students are increasingly thinking of themselves as consumers buying a product – and that their teachers must be graded on their ‘customer service’.

Unsurprisingly for such an ardent Thatcherite, Johnson notes, “competition will also be central to our efforts to drive up standards”, a continuation of a policy which has seen almost half of academics pressured into giving higher grades and struggle with unmanageable workloads.

While paying lip service to the notion that, “education is about more than just wage returns”, Johnson went quickly back on course by reminding students that, “it is also important to remember that higher lifetime graduate earnings provide benefits to society – including higher tax revenues and faster and fuller repayment of student loans.” Johnson has redefined ‘education as a public good’ to mean ‘work hard for the bosses and pay off your debts’.

There are further references to making sure higher education matches the needs of big business, including the very explicit statement that, “we are not yet rising to the challenge of ensuring that enough young people are choosing courses where there are skills shortages and strong employer demand”. While this technocratic, business-led approach to higher education is not dissimilar from what Labour were offering before the general election, Johnson may outline in more detail what this means in his Autumn Green Paper.

Then comes the final explanation of what his ‘TEF’ will look like. In a mission to “drive up standards in teaching”, Johnson will, “stimulate a diverse HE market and provide students with the information they need to judge teaching quality”. This explicit marketisation will give students indicators of which course suits them best, to be provided by his TEF. In neoclassical market economics, ‘pricing signals’, are required to indicate a product’s worth. Demand goes up, so does the price. Given this (unexpectedly, and probably deliberately) failed in higher education with so many institutions charging £9,000 straightaway, there is of course nothing to differentiate between – except for things the government wouldn’t imagine we would value, such as the course content, who’s teaching, the location and any number of other, non-monetary factors. Part of Johnson’s justification for the ‘TEF’ thus appears to be that it will help you, as future students, pick your course. Kind of like a Which? for HE, but where the poor performers face job cuts and closures.

Reassuringly and honestly, Johnson finishes by reminding us that this TEF, “goes with the grain of our reforms since 2010 and aims to accelerate positive changes already underway in the sector.”

Most worryingly, Johnson then talks about ‘incentives’, and says that they will be published in the Green paper in the autumn. What better way to make potential applicants aware of what the best institutions are than by allowing those universities to ‘price’ themselves somewhere above the current £9,000 cap? And what better way to reward such ‘teaching excellence’ than to allow those (likely already very rich) institutions to bring in more cash though higher fees? It’s a win-win for the bosses, and a lose-lose for students who pay more and the staff who are pressurised.

What are the politics behind this?

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which universities sits under, is in financial trouble. They have to make the same austerity commitments as other departments, and in 2010 that meant replacing all the lost funding from central government (the grant for humanities teaching was all but abolished) by trebling fees. Higher fees, and the move by almost all universities to charge the maximum, has meant that huge amounts of public money are having to be loaned out to an increasing number of students – 45% of which is expected to not get paid back. This has created a huge strain, and led to the move to sell-off student loans.

BIS are now being asked to find another £450m of cuts from somewhere, hence Osborne’s cuts to maintenance grants, and making universities rather than the state responsible for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) from 2016/17.

Now in order to provide some relief to the Vice-Chancellors and the sector, Johnson is throwing them the promise of some extra cash (in the form of higher fees) if they jump through the hoops in his new TEF. If institutions offer the right courses for business (in other words, fund science at the expense of the humanities), and students play ball by looking to pay off their enormous debts, then everyone at the institution will win the reward of a tuition fee hike.

How does the student movement fight back?

We need to start fighting now against the potential threats, not wait until the government explains things in more detail, by which time it will be too late. This has always been a failure of the student movement and often the NUS, in playing the waiting game and merely ‘consulting’, when it should be protesting and picketing. We need to get the word out quickly that this is bad news, and defeat the Green Paper before it is even published. That means mobilisation, linking students’ unions up with UCU branches, and building for the national demonstration in November.

We must present our alternative which is democratic control of teaching, in the interests of students, communities but also teachers and workers themselves. When the government consult, we must simply tell them they are wrong as loudly as possible, not try and get a seat at the table.

There may well be attempts to integrate students’ unions and the NUS into the process of drawing up this system, and running it, in order to give a sheen of legitimacy and make ‘students as consumers’ feel ‘empowered’ by the TEF, like we are finally getting our ‘value for money’ by reviewing our teachers. We should be totally opposed to this.  The fundamental basis of these policies is anathema to us – they can’t be fixed so they must be smashed – and the stance of the student movement should be no collaboration. Just as UCU is advising its branches to not comply with the Islamophobic Prevent programme (which is also the Conference policy of the NUS), our SUs should not contribute to the implementation or governance of this system except to say it should be stopped outright, that we reject markets in education, and that we will not be tricked into thinking these policies empower students.

“Students and workers, unite and fight” is not just a slogan, but a principle. The government that is going to raise our fees and cut our grants is not only the same that is cutting staff pay and introducing metrics to discipline the workforce – but these policies are inextricably linked. We must fight them both, together.