Chair’s report from the organising meeting

Posted on January 11, 2011

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Chairs’ Report

In Attendance:

  • Jamie Woodcock (Manchester Occupation Representative) and Charlotte Gerada (LSESU General Secretary) C0-Chaired the meeting
  • 20+ individuals: representatives of anti-cut groups and unions

Discussions and Decisions Made:

The agenda was agreed to by all who attended; there was a report back from the previous meeting by one of the chairs, then it was proposed that the meeting be used to discuss the organisational aspects of the Assembly on the 30th.

Concerns were raised by several attendees about the location and date of the Assembly, as this would hinder certain unions and students from various Northern areas. However, despite lengthy discussion, it was decided that as only 20+ individuals had attended the meeting, there was no legitimacy or scope to change any of the proposed plans. However, as much would be done as possible to mitigate the issues caused as result, such as helping to organise travel, and fundraising to cover travel costs.

Then a series of decisions were made, including votes:

  1. There were agreed general themes and ideas for the Assembly, including:
    1. Share best practice
    2. Propose Dates for National Days of Action
    3. The theme of the Democratic Deficit
  2. The structure was agreed and voted on, consisting of:
    1. An Introduction with speakers representative of the Education Movement. It was agreed that there shouldn’t be too many General Secretary’s speaking, but instead, representatives from the movement, such as an FE student, HE rep etc. This would also be kept to a restricted level, to avoid lengthy speeches.
    2. Open discussion, debate, ideas
    3. Break Out Sessions
    4. Final Plenary Session (with voting)
    5. Then if groups or organisations wanted to organise thematic meetings or discussions, these can be kept until after the main event, so those from far away can return home after the decision making section.
  3. There was a discussion about the organisation of Chairing at the event. It was decided that there would be 2 chairs, and a minute taker, and that a separate committee would be put together to allocate chairs and minute takers as best as possible, taking into consideration an equal balance of sexes and different races. Alice was to lead the committee and volunteers were to help coordinate with her.
  4. A central blog has already been organised, and it was proposed and agreed that whilst there should be one main starting site, separate unions and organisations should have editing rights and their own separate branch from the central site. The blog was led by Jamie, but several individuals volunteered to help him update content and encourage others to contribute.
  5. There was discussion and an eventual vote on how the break out session would work, including: having the break out sessions in the middle, broken down into the groups of Higher Education, Further Education, Schools (potentially combining the two if they wish), Education Workers and Supporters. It was decided that access to these groups would be liberal, and individuals could attend the group they felt most relevant to them. However, we would be conscious of disallowing non-directly involved individuals to control the groups, such as teachers or parents controlling the School group. Finally, the groups would report back to the final plenary session, with an overview of the main points and proposals.
  6. It was agreed that a Logistical Committee be set up, with it being led by Robin Burrett and Amy. This committee would work out a strategy to build for the Assembly, and provide the broader function of coordinating the arrival and departure of attendees at the event.
  7. It was also discussed at length about how long proposals should be accepted for, and what the motions for the Assembly should consist of. It was suggested that two people should have to propose a motion, and they could be submitted prior to, or at the event.
  8. Questions were also raised about who should get voting rights during the plenary session, and whilst there was not a specific vote, there was a general agreement that as the Assembly and the movement will be composed of a broad range of groups and individuals, it would be wrong to exclude those who have been involved and dedicated to the education movement.

It was expected that the event would go on for 3-4 hours maximum, to ensure that those from other locations could return home in good time. The suggestion was made that the event should allow in-depth discussion, but should be efficient, and kept as short as possible within that time frame.

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