We will be balloting members in 50 colleges (see list below); the ballot will open on 6 March and close on 6 April.

There is currently an overall £700 million shortfall in funding for Post 16 education.

Teaching staff numbers and support staff posts have fallen significantly due to the real-terms cuts, while at the same time student numbers have risen. This is putting the future of sixth form colleges under serious threat. If the crisis continues to go unaddressed, it is students’ education that will continue to suffer.

In order to continue to put pressure on Government, we are now re-balloting members (we are required by law to do this as six months has now passed since the initial ballot).  We will be balloting members in 50 colleges (see list below); the ballot will open on 6 March and close on 6 April.  Any action will be sustained. Please do all you can to encourage support for the ballot in your college. If you have any queries please contact our sixth form support team via  6fcballot@neu.org.uk .

You can make a difference. You can help to change things!

FAQs and list of colleges

  • Industrial Action FAQs

    Members in my college are not taking strike action. Why?

    The threshold for participation is 50% of members and in your college the turnout of members was less than 50%.

    Are teacher trainees eligible to strike?

    Only teacher trainees who are employed by the college are eligible to strike.

    I work in a Sixth Form College within an FE college should NEU FE members cross the picket line?  

    Only those NEU members balloted to take action can take industrial action. Members in other parts of the college who were not balloted are not eligible to join the action.

    Can members who joined during or after the ballot go on strike?

    Yes, as long as this is not an additional ‘group’ of members.

    What about if students are taking exams: will they need to cross the picket line?

    Union advice in these circumstances is that the strike should go ahead but there should not be a picket line. Our action is to support teachers and learners, not to cause any undue anxiety in what could be a crucial time for learners.

    Is there dispensation to support students on strike days?

    Requests for specific dispensation should be directed to the relevant regional secretary.

    Explain how the dates were chosen for the industrial action?

    The dates were chosen by the NEU Executive. They are on different days to cause less disruption to timetabled classes.

    Why the union feels it’s important to take the industrial action at this time? 

    The timing of the action is crucial as NEU has seen how the Sixth Form College sector is suffering institutional fragmentation due to funding pressures (Academinsation; takeover and mergers by and with FE colleges; new college groupings being formed). This has, in turn, put pressure on national contracts, bargaining, and pay. This happened in last year's pay deal with the differentiation of SFC Academies and Sixth Form Colleges. If this fragmentation is not addressed to ensure that funding levels meet the needs of pay parity with teachers in maintained schools and that other action is taken on pay, conditions and employment, then national terms and conditions will begin to weaken and potentially dissolve as has happened in FE.

    When will industrial action end?

    When the Secretary of State agrees to provide a sustainable funding environment for Sixth Form Colleges to improve the pay, working conditions and security of employment of NEU members in the sector.  This should include paying the Teachers’ Pay Grant to all sixth form colleges in order to support an adequate pay increase from September 2019.

  • List of colleges taking strike action

    Ashton Sixth Form College

    Bilborough College

    Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College

    Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College

    City & Islington Sixth Form College

    Coulsdon Sixth Form College

    Esher College

    Gateway Sixth Form College

    Havering Sixth Form College

    Hereford Sixth Form College

    Hills Road Sixth Form College

    King Edward VI College – Nuneaton

    King Edward VI College Stourbridge

    Long Road Sixth Form College

    Longley Park Sixth Form College

    Newham Sixth Form College

    Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College

    Peter Symonds College

    Priestley College

    Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College

    Reigate College

    Richard Huish College

    Shrewsbury Colleges Group

    Sir George Monoux College

    St Brendan's Sixth Form College

    St Francis Xavier Sixth Form College

    St John Rigby RC Sixth Form College

    The Blackpool Sixth Form College

    The Brooke House Sixth Form College

    The Sixth Form College Solihull

    Thomas Rotherham College

    Varndean College

    WQE and Regent College Group

    Xaverian College

  • List of colleges to be re-balloted

    Aquinas College

    Ashton Sixth Form College

    Bilborough College

    Bolton Sixth Form College

    Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College

    Capital City College - Angel

    Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College

    City of Stoke-On-Trent Sixth Form College

    Croydon College - Coulsdon Sixth Form College

    East Norfolk Sixth Form College

    Esher Sixth Form College

    Gateway Sixth Form College

    Hills Road Sixth Form College

    Holy Cross College

    Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College

    King Edward VI College - Nuneaton

    King Edward VI College - Stourbridge

    Long Road Sixth Form College

    Longley Park Sixth Form College

    Loreto College

    New City College - Havering Sixth Form College

    Newham Sixth Form College

    Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College

    Oldham Sixth Form College

    Priestley College

    Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College

    Queen Mary's College

    Reigate College

    Richard Huish College

    Sandwell College - Cadbury Sixth Form College

    Shrewsbury Colleges Group

    Sir George Monoux College

    St Brendan's Sixth Form College

    St Dominic's Sixth Form College

    St Francis Xavier Sixth Form College

    St John Rigby RC Sixth Form College

    St Vincent College

    The Blackpool Sixth Form College

    The Brooke House Sixth Form College

    The College of Richard Collyer In Horsham

    The Henley College

    The Sixth Form College Farnborough

    The Sixth Form College Solihull

    Thomas Rotherham College

    Varndean College

    Wilberforce College

    Winstanley College

    Worcester Sixth Form College

    WQE and Regent College Group

    Xaverian College

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Sixth form colleges strike support Twitter card
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I support sixth form college staff striking for fair pay, lower class sizes and the ability to support students better. We need to #SaveOurColleges and secure the funding they need.

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What is it about?

The NEU is in dispute with the Secretary of State in relation to the pay, working conditions and security of employment of NEU members in the sector and in particular the detrimental effects on these of the cuts in college funding since 2010.

The NEU has asked the Secretary of State to address this by increasing the funding rate per student as proposed by the Raise the Rate campaign to which the NEU is a signatory, and by paying the Teachers’ Pay Grant to all sixth form colleges in order to support an adequate pay increase. He has declined to take these steps.

The recent announcement of £400 million extra funding for 16-19 education was welcome but it goes nowhere near closing the £1.1 billion gap that has opened up in 16-19 education funding since 2010. The Education Select Committee has said that across 16–19 education, funding per student fell by a full 16% in real terms between 2010–11 and 2018–19. Twice as much as the 8% school funding fall over a similar period.

The impact on pay

Teachers and support staff in sixth form colleges have suffered a substantial real terms cut in the value of their pay since 2010.  Their pay has also fallen back compared to other workers.  Now the parity for sixth form college teachers with schools has been lost as well.

The Secretary of State’s decision to provide the Teachers Pay Grant only to those colleges with academy status means that it will be very difficult for the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association and NEU to reach a pay agreement for September 2019 that will restore pay parity with schools. This will exacerbate the real terms decline in pay since 2010 for both teachers and support staff in sixth form colleges.

The impact on working conditions - affecting staff, students and the sector

Sixth form colleges suffered a 22% reduction in real terms funding between 2010/11 and 2016/17 - deeper cuts than any other group of education institutions.

During this period, there was a 15% reduction in teaching staff numbers despite a 6% increase in the number of students.

The consequences of the funding cuts are that:

  • SFCs are teaching students in larger classes, increasing teachers’ workload significantly,
  • there have been significant cuts in support staff posts,
  • responsibility payments have been removed,
  • teachers’ contact time has been increased, and
  • staff training budgets have been reduced.

27 February 2020 strike rally gallery

34 colleges that reached the 50% turnout threshold took strike action on 27 February 2020 in relation to pay, working conditions  and funding cuts in Sixth Form Colleges since 2010. #SaveOurColleges

  • Members on open top bus through London on February 27
    Members on open top bus through London on February 27
  • Sixth form cuts bus
    Sixth form cuts bus
  • Kevin Speaking at Sixth Form rally
    Kevin Speaking at Sixth Form rally
  • Sixth form members on strike watching speech
    Sixth form members on strike watching speech
  • Sixth form rally Angela Rayner speaking
    Sixth form rally Angela Rayner speaking
  • Strikers marching to the department for education
    Strikers marching to the department for education
  • Marching sixth form rally
    Marching sixth form rally
  • Rally members standing outside the bus
    Rally members standing outside the bus
  • Sixth form rally cuts board
    Sixth form rally cuts board
  • striking members chanting
    striking members chanting
  • Members outside the dfe
    Members outside the dfe
  • Handing in sixth form cuts
    Handing in sixth form cuts

17 October 2019 strike video - watch and share

Sixth form colleges strike

Watch sixth form college members take strike action - 17 October