NUS National Conference is about students from across the UK coming together to make change. At National Conference students discuss, deliberate and vote on issues that matter to them. What’s voted for at conference then becomes the policy of NUS UK which is then used by elected officers to build campaigns and make change happen.
Delegates attending National Conference also elect the leadership of NUS UK. The officers elected at National Conference, along with those elected at the Liberation Conference and nation conferences, lead the work of NUS UK. At National Conference students elect the National President as well as the two education Vice Presidents who represent Higher Education and Further Education students.
"This has been my second NUS National Conference and my last as the Sabbatical Officer of B&FC Students’ Union. I think I speak for all the B&FC delegates in congratulating NUS in their efforts to carry on with National Conference in the current climate by moving to a digital platform. I hope that in years to come, NUS continues to amalgamate the physical and digital presence for Conference, ensuring that they maximise participation rates across the country for all the Unions they represent.
This year was the first time B&FC has jointly submitted a policy to National Conference with Activate Learning and Sheffield College Students’ Unions. Our ‘Let’s End this Mental Health Crisis together, once and for all’ policy proposal was passed by conference and we are very excited for NUS to begin work on reaching the solutions needed to support all students in their right to a properly funded mental health service.
I would like to thank Lauren Cooper, our NUS member support adviser, for all the work she has done in helping us prepare for Conference this year and I wish NUS, the new officers and the rest of the student movement the best of luck in all that they endeavour to achieve. Be rest assured that in my new role I will continue to support the cause in whatever way I can." - Callum Morley (Re-elected Students' Union Sabbatical Officer 2020/21)
At this year's National Conference eight policy proposals were discussed and voted on with an additional emergency policy proposal submitted by the NUS National President about NUS' response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on students.
Delegates voted For or Against the policy proposal to become Position Statements of NUS.
For each policy there is a video which summarises the policy and contains videos from students, telling you what they think of the proposals.
The results of the 2020 Policy voting are as follows;
EMERGENCY POLICY ON COVID-19 - Result: For
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.
Building a Movement to Transform Education - Result: For
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 - Result: For
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 - Result: For
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 - Result: For
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 - Result: For
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 - Result: For
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 - Result: For
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 - Result: For
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.
Full-Time officer (FTO) election results:
The Full-Time Officers are responsible for the political leadership of the organisation. They work together to decide the political priorities of the organisation. They take direction from Conference on what NUS should campaign on. And, they lobby decision-makers on behalf of the movement. The FTOs are elected by their peers to lead the NUS movement for a two-year term.
The results of the 2020 FTO elections are as follows;
Larissa Kennedy (Warwick Students' Union) - NUS National President – Listen to her acceptance speech here
Salsabeel Elmegri (Bradford College Students' Union) - Vice President Further Education - Listen to her acceptance speech here
Hillary Gyebi-Ababio (University of Bristol Students' Union) - Vice President Higher Education - Listen to her acceptance speech here
National Scrutiny Council (NSC) election results:
NSC members are elected to scrutinise and examine the work of NUS officers and hold them to account.
The results of the 2020 NSC elections are as follows;
- Najma Abdi (City of Bristol College Students' Union)
- Nahaja Nurani (Leicester College Students' Union)
- Majid Shemsedin (The City Of Liverpool College Students' Union)
- Khuram Mahmood (Walsall College Students' Union)
- Lubaba Khalid (University of Westminster Students' Union)
- Hatty Ruddick (University of Manchester Students' Union)
- Stephanie Lomas (University of Central Lancashire Students' Union)
- Amanda Sefton (University of Birmingham Guild of Students)
- Nazifa Zaman (Warwick Students' Union)
- Molly Smallwood (Edge Hill Students' Union)
- Jack Appleby (Chester Students' Union)
- IjIhal Kahlid (University of Sussex Students' Union)
- Adnan Rahman (University of Leicester Students' Union)
- Joshua Muirhead (University of Stirling Students' Union)
- Muna Ali (Union of Kingston Students)
- Tiana Holgate (Warwick Students' Union)
Democratic Procedures Committee (DPC) election results:
DPC is all about running NUS’ democracy in a fair impartial manner. The job of DPC is to set and implement rules to make sure our democratic spaces run well.
The results of the 2020 DPC elections are as follows;
- Eve Alcock (University of Bath Students' Union)
- Rania Salim (City, University of London Students' Union)
- Lucy Holland (Middlesex University Students' Union)
- Fraser Amos (Warwick Students' Union)
- Tobiloba Adeyemi (University of Birmingham Guild of Students)
One of the jobs of Conference is to consider reports on the work of NUS. These reports tell delegates what NUS has been doing in the last year and what their plans are for next year.
The results of the 2020 reports are as follows;
Officer Executive Plan for Action 2019/20 report - Result: For
This report tells you what our Officer team has been doing to implement the Plan for Action. 2019-20 was the first year that NUS’ officers got together as a group and published a concise and coherent campaign plan to our members. We published the NUS Plan For Action to you in September 2019 and since then we’ve been working tirelessly to deliver for students. Find ou more by reading the report.
NUS UK Board report - Result: For
This report tells you what our boards have been doing, particularly in relation to implementing reform of NUS. The Boards and sub-committees are an important part of NUS’ governance, overseeing our financial, reputational and strategic health. Since October 2018 our Boards have been laser focused on turning NUS around from an organisation in crisis back to a thriving organisation. In 2019-20 NUS is transitioning from a multi-entity group structure organisation into two side-by-side organisations. As such the various boards of NUS’ entities merged into one single Joint Board for the transitional period only. This period ends on 30 June 2020. The Joint Boards are responsible for the management and administration of the National Union and may exercise all the powers of the National Union as set out in the Articles of Association and the Rules.
Financial Estimates - Result: For
The Estimates is a financial policy document that guides NUS UK spending throughout the year. The board and a NUS UK Members’ Meeting agree the total financial envelope available, and they have outlined how much money should be spent in each area of NUS. Once these amounts have been set, NUS UK National Conference has responsibility for directing where and how much NUS UK allocates for its various activities. The NUS UK Estimates 2020/21 reports on the proposed areas of expenditure for NUS UK in 2020/21.
Democratic Procedures Committee Report - Result: For
DPC acts as the referee for National Conference. Their role is not to see that one side of the debate is successful over another, but instead to support the process and make judgements that we hope are fair and balanced. This year the DPC has been working hard to deliver reform to NUS Democracy in line with proposals passed by conference last year. Read the report to find out more on what they have been doing
Deputy Returning Officer Report - Result: For
NUS has appointed Civica Election Services (CES) as the new Chief Returning Officer (CRO) for its elections.. The CRO acts as an independent source of appeal with power to make final rulings on any matters arising through NUS’ elections. Kathy Wylde has been appointed as the Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) and is responsible for the practical running of the elections, including confirming nominations and deciding on candidate eligibility, making rulings on complaints and overseeing the count. This report, prepared by the DRO details the elections work that has taken place, particularly around reform.