The conference of our National Union of Students (NUS) is an opportunity for Northumbria Students’ Union to shape the way the student movement campaigns for the next year. Today, on the first day of National Conference 2014, your NUS delegates; Fazley Ahmed, Cameron Giles, Nicole Pegg, Mike Potter, Jamie Thompson, Joshua Waterton-Bailey, and, Hamish Yewdall join President Natalie-Dawn Hodgson in Liverpool to see conference get underway.
Today conference will host debates across two of the five NUS policy zones – Further Education and Higher Education – along with the priority campaigns report and proposals by NUS President Toni Pearce. We’ll also be hearing about the work of NUS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and getting the first glimpse of the candidates in the NUS elections which take place tomorrow.
Today’s debates will see conference discuss the impact of university strikes, the national student survey, and the future of university funding. Of particular interest will be Toni Pearce’s priority motion – motion 101: A New Deal for the Next Generation – which will attempt to set out the path to the general election in 2015, with a little under 13 months to go it is likely conference will attempt to campaign against the current coalition government, in particular the Liberal Democrats, although how directly remains to be seen.
Throughout the day I’ll be posting live updates as and when things happen, you can also watch conference live at http://conference.nusconnect.org.uk/
11.40 – Delegates head to conference floor to kick off national conference
12:30 – Liverpool Lord Mayor Gary Millar welcomes delegates to Liverpool on behalf of the people of the city, his speech focuses on what students can bring to cities, both economically and non-economically.
12:50 – Chairperson Rachel Wenstone, Vice President Higher Education, invites the chief executive of Movement for Change, Kathryn Perera to deliver greetings to conference.
13:00 – Conference hears from a former vice president who pays tribute to former staff member Diane Maginnis who passed away recently.
13:10 – President Toni Pearce takes to the stage to deliver her opening remarks.
13:17 – “I’m not sure our police can be trusted to do the right thing”, NUS National President Toni Pearce in her opening remarks.
13:20 – “Now the system is broke and broken like we said 7 years ago”, Toni Pearce speaks about the effect of commercialisation on education.
(13:27 – Conference is now running aproximately 30 minutes behind schedule)
13:40 – Conference gets to vote on introducing new members.
13:41 – Conference agrees to introduce new members.
13:44 – Conference is temporarily suspended to allow a company law meeting, allowing the aproval of proposals surrounding political expenditure.
13:56 – Conference moves into the priority zone, focusing on the work of the national executive.
14:26 – Conference rejects an amendment which would see NUS specifically focus on protests, occupations and student strikes in light of cuts to education.
14:31 – And it’s time for a fringe break, back soon!
15:57 – Delegates return to the conference floor, during the fringe break delegates attended sessions on a new deal for education and another agaist fees and cuts.
16:01 – VP Society and Citizenship Dom Anderson speaks in favour of funding jobs for all.
16:25 – Amendment calling for a national demonstrations fails after a very close count.
(16: 45 – Faults with the wifi here at Liverpool, hopefully will be resolved soon)
17:16 – Now on the Education Zone, expect discussion on qualification standards, GPAs and progression from Further Education to Higher Education.
17:26 – Debate starts on the first Higher Education motion, looking at curriculum design, assessment and feedback.
17:29 – Further Education Committee speak on the impact of the new GCSEs and A levels to be introduced in 2015.
17:43 – Conference now hears debate on whether education insitutions should be governed by democraticly appointed bodies.
17:53 – Conference now debates “cops on campus”.
19:21 – After another fringe break, conference hears from Rok Primozic, chairperson of the European Students’ Union
19:33 – Conference resumes the education zone motions.
20:05 – Conference rejects proposals to send a question on fitness for practice procedures to the national executive council.
20:10 – Heavy debate on conference floor around indistrial action by staff at Higher Education insitutions.
20:15 – Conference discussing setting a “default position” to support indistrial action by staff, unless the national executive council disagree.
20:29 – Getting towards the end of conference today, couple of procedural matters currently being discussed. For more info check back with us tomorrow where we’ll be covering more of what’s happening at NUS National Conference 2014.