I have heard this phrase being thrown around a lot in the last fortnight, and if I had a pound every time someone had said it I would probably have been able to buy myself a peerage. But here we are watching the House of Lords undo so much of the mess that MPs in the Commons have created, and on 6th March if you’d listened carefully you may have heard Education Officers up and down the country weeping with joy for the Lords when they voted for an HE Bill amendment to separate the Teaching Excellence Framework and fee increases. This also means they voted to unlink the NSS and fee increases.
We’ve won a big concession in the #NSSBoycott campaign with Baroness Wolf of Dulwich and Lord Lipsey referencing our boycott as their reason for voting for the amendment; we’ve been very smug in committee meetings for the last couple of weeks, but this is by no means over. The Bill is going to go back to the Commons and I don’t know about you but I don’t really want people to play political ping pong with my friends’ and family’s futures.
The next Commons debate is likely to be in the next week or so and we need to do everything we can to make sure our voices are represented. Here are a couple of things we can do to try and keep this amendment in the Bill:
Write to your MP: A boycott is very powerful, but a bit of lobbying on the side is never a bad idea, and a great way for students who aren’t final year undergraduates to get involved… We’re meeting with Vicky Foxcroft - the Member of Parliament for Lewisham Deptford, the constituency in which Goldsmiths is based - today to ask her to attend the debate and vote for the amendments, which you can read about in more detail here. We would ask you to find out who your MP is by clicking here and ask the same of them.
Join the #NSSboycott: If you’re a final year student you can get involved in the campaign by pledging to boycott the NSS. You can even withdraw your submission from Ipsos Mori if you have filled it out but since changed your mind about taking part by emailing email@example.com before 30th April 2017. We know that this tactic doesn’t suit everyone, and that’s okay! Just like the NSS itself, the boycott is voluntary, but we are asking you to join us and UCU (the University and College’s Union) in fighting not only for our future students, but also for our teachers and lecturers. This tactic is controversial, it is risky, but is is working. More than 50 Goldsmiths students have already pledged to take part in the NSS Boycott, and you can join them by not filling in the survey.
Nominate a lecturer for a Student Led Teaching Award: Show your appreciation for your lecturers in a different way and nominate them for a teaching award! The Student Led Teaching Awards take place in institutions across the country and are both a great way of rewarding our lecturers for all the amazing work that they do, and promoting good teaching and innovative curricula in a way that doesn’t marketise our education. Students are some of the best judges of what good teaching looks like and these awards acknowledge that. Read about each category and nominate here.