Art students flounder after school axes places

August 23, 2002

A dozen art students found their futures on hold after the degree places they had confirmed almost four months ago were cancelled weeks before their course was due to begin.

The students had accepted unconditional places on the fine art degree at Lincoln University's Hull School of Art and Design in early May, but they were told at the end of July that the course had been suspended.

"My world came crashing in on me when I found out there was no course," said Nastassia Page, one of the students. Ms Page said that she had only ever considered Hull because her foundation course college tutor had studied there and it came highly recommended for the work she was doing.

She accepted a place after an interview in April and had arranged travel from her home in Essex and had booked accommodation.

"I had decided in February that I wanted to go there, and I had spent months putting everything in place," she said. "It was perfect for me. But I was faced with an almighty panic when some secretary told me there was no course."

Ms Page was lucky, as she has just accepted a place on a fine art course in Sheffield. She said others have been less fortunate. "One person on my foundation course at Colchester who was due to come with me to Hull is still backpacking in Thailand. He is not coming back until the very end of August, and the course was due to start on September 6. Our tutor has been in touch with his parents, but I don't think they've been able to get hold of him."

A spokesman for Lincoln said the course was not recruiting this year because it had not attracted enough students to make it viable, but it was expected to be offered again next year. "The School of Art and Design in Hull is doing well," he said. "Its eight other courses have all recruited to target, and it is a firm part of the Hull campus."

He said that only 12 students had accepted a place, but the course needed about 70 to be viable. "It is regrettable if students have been inconvenienced, but the course just wasn't viable. The university has helped students make other arrangements."

The students have been offered places on other courses at Hull or on a separate fine art course at Lincoln's main Lincoln campus.

One parent, who asked not to be named, said: "Surely they would have known about any recruitment problems months ago, as the students all get interviewed in April."

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