Edinburgh College has withdrawn all references to the government's controversial Prevent strategy from training given to staff today. The decision came after the college EIS (Educational Institute of Scotland) branch threatened to boycott the training. The EIS is the largest teaching union in Scotland. Like the UCU (University and College Union), the NUS (National Union of Students) and the NUT (National Union of Teachers), it is opposed to Prevent.
Edinburgh College is one of Scotland's biggest Further Education colleges with around 20,000 students across 4 campuses in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
The college had planned to include references to Prevent in a presentation about its "bSafe" policies, which cover a variety of issues from that range from safeguarding students through to dealing with incidents such as fires.
Penny Gower, EIS learning rep/branch secretary, told staff yesterday:
"In June, Edinburgh college EIS members at meetings on the four campuses voted to boycott Prevent training, following EIS and EIS-FELA national opposition to Prevent. The latter seeks to turn lecturers into informers on their colleagues, and students into suspects.
EIS branch officials (Donny Gluckstein and myself) met with the college BSafe working group today, and have been assured that Thursday’s training session is not a form of Prevent training for staff. Furthermore, the group was receptive to requests to remove references to Prevent, and the subconscious targeting of particular ethnic minorities has been removed from the case studies.
The meeting was an impressive example of partnership working, where all sides were amenable to dialogue, and consensus was reached. There was input from ECSA and Unison too."
The decision by Edinburgh College is a significant step towards SACC's demand for a moratorium on Prevent training across educational establishments in Scotland. It demonstrates that firm action by trade unions can stop Prevent.