Further Education Noticeboard

Your latest update from GMB in further education


Date: 13/01/2021

Joint FE Unions Case to Government for Staff Vaccination Priority

The joint unions in Further Education have written to the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment, and Secretary of State for Education to make the case for prioritising staff in Early Years, Schools, Colleges and Adult Education settings for vaccination.

In brief, their rationale was:

  • Fully reopening education settings is a national priority - the moment it is safe to do so.
  • Learning often takes place indoors and in close contact with large numbers of students in multiple groups, putting staff at high risk of both catching and transmitting the virus.
  • Vaccination prioritisation, combined with mass testing, would be a sure way to reduce transmissions, remove any further disruption to the education of our young people and to support the resumption of economic activity by reducing the burden of home schooling on working parents.

The government has set the priority list for phase one of the vaccination programme based on Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice focused on reducing risk of preventable mortality. JCVI have said that more occupations could be prioritised in phase two as it moves to a transmission reduction programme.

You can read the full correspondence here.


Previous Bulletins

Date: 01/10/2020

Joint Union Pay Claim 2020/21

GMB as part of the joint trade unions in further education have submitted a pay claim for the next financial year. You can read the full claim below:

The joint trade unions also wrote to the Michelle Donnelan, Minister for Further Education on 23/09/2020, to express urgent concerns around the September return and the risks faced by staff, you can read the full letter here:

Date: 13/08/2020

GMB & Joint Trade Unions/National Association of Colleges


GMB and 5 joint FE trade unions nationally have worked with the NAC, in order to produce this guidance on planning any return to FE colleges, as well as specific guidance for the return in September:


Date: 08/06/2020

FE England Joint Trades Unions Open Webinar

Working together to make any return to onsite working safe in FE.

Register here. Registrations will close at 12 noon Monday 8 June.

Full details here.


Date: 04/06/2020

GMB, NEU, UCU Unite, and Unison, the 5 joint FE trade unions nationally have put to the government 5 tests it must pass before onsite learning or working is safe to begin:

  1. Significantly Lower Numbers of C-19 Cases
  2. A National Plan for Social Distancing
  3. Comprehensive Testing
  4. A Whole College Strategy for Health & Safety
  5. Protection for the Vulnerable

You can read the full statement here:

March 2020 

GMB and sister unions have been discussing the current problems facing everyone in FE. 

GMB continues to push for the best possible deal for workers in these extremely challenging times we are working with the employers to achieve this end. 

The employers association is the Association of Colleges, and covers 95% of colleges involved in further education. 

Government advice to slow down and halt the spread of the virus will continue to change, and you should follow it.  The advice is to stay at home unless absolutely necessary, practice social distancing if you go out (a minimum of 2 mtrs), and frequent hand washing, all of which will help. 

We have discussed FE college access to the job retention scheme  

Key Workers 

If any FE staff are formally in the key worker category, you will already have been written to to confirm your status. 

The employers association and trade unions are jointly seeking advice on the application of the furlough scheme to FE Colleges. 

The employers consult unions on a regular basis and their up to date guidance can be found here 

Employers guidance

FE Pay 

Initial pay discussions have begun, but have been put into abeyance while the Covid 19 problems are with us. 

Further bulletins will be issued shortly. 

If you need any further information, please email: publicservices@gmb.org.uk or kevin.brandstatter@gmb.org.uk 

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