At this year's National Conference eight policy proposals will be discussed and voted on. In addition to the eight main policy proposals there is one emergency policy proposal submitted by the NUS National President which will also be voted on, about NUS' reponse to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on students.
The eight policy proposals have been submitted by Students' Unions. In total 45 submission were received for policies. Some of these covered the same topic so were merged into 'composite' policy proposals. Conference delegates then ranked the policies to arrive at the eight policies to be discussed by Conference. You can view all the submissions and rankings here.
This year's National Conference is being run digitally in line with social distancing and self-isolation requirements during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Given the timelines for the conference the DPC were unable to find a way to facilitate a full online debate. There are many ways you can find out about and discuss the policies. Videos will be published on this site 11.15am Wednesday 1 April which indicate what students are saying about the policy proposals. There's also a Participation Guide you can use to help you take part in the conference. See all the information here
As a result all votes will be indicative and if passed these proposals will become Position Statements of NUS rather than full Policy.
To vote on policy you’ll receive a separate email with a unique link to vote. This will take you through to voting on ALL policies, Reports and volunteer position elections. Voting opens 11.15am Wednesday 1 April and closes at 12noon Monday 6 April for Policy voting.
In order to vote for a policy you can vote:
FOR: to vote for the policy
AGAINST: to vote against the policy
SPOIL BALLOT: if you wish to abstain from the vote
Policy videos, which include proposal summaries and student speeches, will be available 11.15am Wednesday 1 April. Refresh the Participation 1 April page and find the Policy Videos page in the dropdown menu, or using the tab on the left.
EMERGENCY POLICY ON COVID-19
This emergency motion addresses the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, setting out the key issues our members face and how we can unite as a movement and work to support everyone affected by this crisis in a very fluid situation.
Priority Policy 2020: Building a Movement to Transform Education
This proposal was submitted by the current FTO team and relates to NUS’ Priority Campaign for a National Education Service launched in July 2019. The campaign is NUS’ ten-year campaign for a better education which is funded, lifelong and accessible. The proposal outlines the issues the campaign should address relating to the campaign themes of Education Funding, Lifelong Education and Accessible Education. The proposal argues that for the next two years NUS should focus on building a positive vision of education with students’ unions and winning the public argument for that vision.
Let’s end this mental health crisis together, once and for all
This proposal highlights a mental health crisis affecting students across the UK. It suggests that there are many drivers for this, including accommodation, finance, marketisation and support structures, and that it disproportionately affects specific groups of students. The proposal argues that better NHS funding is key, but that institutions should also change their approaches, including on how they facilitate healthcare and training on mental health. It argues that NUS should lobby to change how institutions and the government approach mental health issues for students, developing collaborative approaches to address the change in student demographics and context.
Declaring a Climate Emergency
The climate crisis is the greatest issue of our time. Extreme weather events are on the increase and those who have done the least to cause climate change are bearing the brunt of the impact. The past year has seen mounting public concern and action on climate, ranging from the school strikes to widespread protest.
We call on the UK further and higher education system to undertake rapid reforms to reduce carbon emissions and to ensure students are prepared for a future which will be drastically impacted by the climate crisis. Rather than simply declaring ‘climate emergencies’ and carrying on business as usual, we want to see wide-reaching reforms across FE and HE in response to the crisis.
International Student Support and Experience
The proposal discusses the financial, academic and other welfare issues international students are facing in a post-Brexit UK. It argues that international students deserve an equitable experience to home students. It outlines a number of solutions that should become standardised across the HE sector to improve international students’ lives. These include reforms to tuition fees, employability, accommodation, visas, student engagement and research into the experience of international students to inform further decision making.
Fire safety, late buildings, accessibility and affordability - the need for a national student housing campaign
The proposal explains how issues in student accommodation such as fire safety and affordability are some of the biggest problems for students across the UK and how there is currently political momentum to capitalise on. It argues that in the absence of a VP Welfare NUS needs to continue this work. It argues NUS should develop a holistic policy vision for what reforms we want to see to the sector and mobilise to win them. To win them NUS should engage in supporting local campaigns and run a national one on this issue.
Parity in Healthcare for all students and apprentices
The proposal explains that students do not have access to equitable healthcare despite students forming a large portion of the community in a lot of major cities across the UK. They are not able to register at two GP surgeries, must pay for prescriptions and medical notes. Students face particular healthcare pressures such as in mental health. The proposal argues that no student should be at an academic disadvantage due to the inaccessible nature of the healthcare system and outlines reforms needed for this to happen such as making medical notes and prescriptions should free to all students in higher education.
Ending exploitation while studying
This proposal discusses students who work in paid employment during study. It argues student workers need greater protections in the workplace, especially in a context of greater marketisation and outsourcing of support roles. As solutions, it suggests greater unionisation of student workers, stronger links with trade unions and the student movement, and work to consider how student volunteers can be protected.
Ending Securitisation, Surveillance and Prevent
This proposal explains that policies such as Prevent, Fitness to Study UK Visa & Immigration policies are acting to securitise our campuses, leading to a decline of academic and civil freedoms. In addition, as safeguarding issues are merged with security, the impact on marginalised students intensifies. The proposal argues that Prevent government legislation should be scrapped, and policing and surveillance of students must stop. It says that unions should understand their legal duties in order to not comply with the Prevent duty, and should address Prevent rebranding into safeguarding as inappropriate and an abuse of student rights.