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NEU launches project to help FE staff achieve sustainable workloads

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Wednesday 27th June 2018

The National Education Union (NEU) is launching an #efFEctiveeducation project to campaign for better funding for the FE sector and help staff achieve sustainable workloads, the union’s website reports.

The move comes after a poll conducted by NEU found seven in ten FE college staff in England have thought about leaving the sector, with workloads mounting and many suffering from stress.

The survey, which compiles the responses of 229 FE staff, uncovered that 88% have seen workloads increase over the past year, with 62% attributing this to there being fewer staff at the college.

In terms of workloads, 35% of respondents to the survey say they had to teach for more hours in the past year. Meanwhile, 34% were given new subject areas to teach and 31% found themselves teaching more classes.

Around half of FE college staff said they work over seven hours – meaning one full day – more than they are contracted to work every week. A total 88% of these staff put this down to workload commitments, with 37% believing that this is expected of them.

With statistics like these, it’s little surprise that 40% of respondents have seen a health professional due to stress, and that just over 12% have been signed off due to stress. Worryingly, around 16% of staff feel stressed but aren’t currently seeking support.

Staff at FE colleges cited job security (25.67%), working conditions (24.06%) and pay (15.31%) as the three factors worrying them most.

NEU’s joint general secretary, Dr Mary Bousted, commented: “It is not surprising that so many FE college staff have considered leaving – they have faced huge turmoil in the sector with the area reviews and are suffering from chronic overwork and underpay.

“For too long FE colleges have been the poor relatives in education, paid little attention by Government and starved of funding. This cannot continue. The Government needs to recognise the vital role FE colleges play in developing a skilled workforce, educating 62% of 16-18 year olds and adults who are upskilling and reskilling.”

We hope the NEU’s project will help to raise awareness of the key role FE colleges play in helping to develop to workforces of the future. You can keep track of the project using the hashtag #efFEctiveeducation.

Source: is the UK’s number one FE job board, working with over 350 colleges and training providers and over 580,000 candidates.

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