AQA UNISON members invited Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester Central and Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston, to meet with them to discuss the swathes of changes to their workplace, communities and the English examination system as a whole.
A range of subjects was discussed, including the ‘bedroom tax’ and housing issues, zero-hours and annualised hours contracts and Labour’s education policies.
Since the coalition came to power in 2010, the Education Secretary Michael Gove, has made a concerted effort to drag the examination system back to the days of one end of year examination, with more emphasis on academic subjects and fact-based learning.
This has impacted AQA due to the end of linear exams and coursework throughout the year, meaning exam design, grading and qualifications will peak once a year rather than a constant stream of work as is currently the case. Along with this, Gove wants to open up the tendering process for exams across the English examination system to bids from Welsh, Scottish and Irish exam boards and those from across the private sector. This will inevitably see exams moved away from AQA, but has not been implemented as of yet.
AQA UNISON members spoke to their MPs about the impact of these changes on their lives and asked MPs to take their concerns to management and back to Westminster.
The MPs have promised to raise questions on the closure of AQAs Logistics Centre in Trafford, and measures being put in place to avoid compulsory redundancies for those who are unable to transfer. They will also ensure the impacts of Gove’s Education Policy will be taken back to Lucy Powell’s colleagues in Labour’s Shadow Education Team to inform their plans for 2015 and beyond.