Alan Barker

UCU NEC elections: 
Vote Alan Barker for UK-elected HE

For a campaigning, democratic union

Employment History 

I have worked in both sectors as a teacher of mathematics. In FE, I taught at all levels from Entry Level 3 to A-Level Further Mathematics and in HE I currently teach mathematics to undergraduate students at the University of Nottingham. I have been a champion of wider participation and a proponent of the social value of a good mathematics education. 

Service to the Union 

I have been a member of UCU since its formation and was a member of one of its predecessor unions. In that time, I have taken a number of roles: 

  • Branch Secretary (Bishop Auckland College) 
  • Regional Committee member (Northern Region) 
  • Regional Treasurer (Northern Region) 
  • Branch Chair (New College Nottingham) 
  • Regional Secretary (East Midlands Region) 
  • Branch Committee Member (University of Nottingham) 
  • Congress Business Committee member 
  • National Executive Committee Member 
    • Education Committee 
  • Chair of Congress Business Committee 
  • Member of Democracy Commission 

In addition, I am currently secretary of the Nottinghamshire Trades Council and have helped keep the organisation active during the pandemic, despite the obvious difficulties. 

Why I am standing 

I am a member of UCU Left and I believe that our commitment to a number of principles and values is important in leading a modern trade union, especially in a sector that has seen several threats, some of which have been clear attempts to undermine the very fabric of our education system.  

These principles include a staunch defence of our basic terms and conditions but alongside a recognition that this is also a defence of the rights of students to a good quality education.  Fighting casualisation and seeking job security for staff benefits both staff and students.   

Among our education principles are commitments to advancing the equality agenda, decolonising the curriculum and supporting education for climate justice.  I see our union as an embodiment of many of the ideals that inspired me to become an educational practitioner in the first place. 

I have served on the Congress Business Committee (including as its chair). I have always defended the sovereignty of Congress as the supreme policy making body of the union and have been critical of attempts to undermine that. I intend to uphold this standard as a member of the NEC if elected. 

Democracy is vital for a union to be effective in representing its members. 

Conclusion 

As the principal union presence in Further and Higher Education, UCU has a unique responsibility in our society. That responsibility is rooted in our members’ concerns but UCU has always had the ability to see a wider perspective and has acted in the interests of our whole society. Those principles will guide me if elected to the NEC.