The newly elected NUS head of FE is no 'career politician'
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Toni Pearce has a reputation for being a bit feisty. In fact, she is supposed to be so ferocious that someone has set up a Twitter account to lampoon her — a backhanded compliment usually only accorded to politicians and celebrities. Her virtual alter ego, Toni_fierce, gets drunk on cheap cider and picks fights with people in the street.
The real Pearce seems anything but fierce. In person, she seems nervous and jittery, perhaps because this is her first interview as the FE vice-president for the National Union of Students (NUS).
Pearce officially starts the job next month, replacing Shane Chowen, who led the NUS campaign against the scrapping of the education maintenance allowance for 16- to 19-year-olds from low-income families, and went on to stand unsuccessfully for election as the union's president. The EMA campaign resulted in a partial U-turn by the government, which managed to find an additional £180m to help those already receiving EMA.