Circular No. Ed/230/20

21st September 2020

To: All Branches & Regional Councils, Regional Organisers and Head Office Officers & Staff.

Dear Colleague.


I am pleased to be able to set out the initial Trade Union Education Programme for 2021. This programme will be delivered at the Bob Crow National Education Centre (BCNEC) in Doncaster.

The programme as ever is developed and designed to best equip our Unions activists, workplace representatives, officials and officers to support, advise and represent our members across the union. The programme includes the core skills courses for all grades seeking education for Workplace Representatives and Branch Officials roles as well as a number of specialist courses to equip our Representatives and Officials with the skills and knowledge to deal with those issues in the workplaces. The learning style is one of collaboration and participation with activists and reps from across our union learning from each other and strengthening our union.

This circular also has attached the required National Application form that all members have to fully complete before sending in to the Bob Crow National Education Centre for the attention of the National Education Officer. This application form is also available on the RMT website. Members should also note that applications to attend courses can also be made online, each application being notified to the respective Branch Secretary by email.


This years programme has been severely disrupted due to the ongoing pandemic and the BCNEC was closed for a significant period. Following a full risk assessment of the centre a number of changes to the programme and the ‘working arrangements’ whilst courses are being delivered was introduced, this was to ensure as far as is possible the safety of Staff, Students & Tutors. The centre was subsequently able to re open on the 3rd August for a limited programme to take place. Continuing into 2021 it is hoped to be able to deliver, with the existing safety measures, two courses per week. This will of course be subject to prevailing govt advice and decisions of the NEC with regard to Covid 19, and therefore it should be borne in mind the programme may change at short notice in 2021. It is not anticipated that the programme will extend to three courses per week during 2021.


The union is right to seek to ensure the maximum benefit in terms activity and involvement from those attending national education courses back in the workplace, union structures and the wider labour movement. So all Branch Secretary's when considering course applications should discuss with the applicant ‘how the course will help them in their current role/activity or the role/activity they intend to undertake”. Branch Secretary's will continue to be emailed when online applications are submitted.

Again it would be extremely helpful if all Regions could ensure they are represented on the National Education Advisory Committee.

The course calendars will be attached electronically and placed on the unions website (Education Section).

If you require any further detail on the courses or the Bob Crow National Education Centre then please contact the RMT National Education Officer at a.gilchrist@rmt.org.uk

I hope you will appreciate these adjustments will ensure we maintain an extensive accredited programme of Trade Union Education, whilst seeking to ensure the Union as a whole benefits from more within our ranks prepared to deliver for our members and the union and labour movement, and that this is administered and delivered with the safety of all involved being of paramount importance.

Discussions around the risks and safety issues involved in the delivery of regional courses is ongoing and a separate circular will be forthcoming in due course.

Yours sincerely

RMT General Secretary