Bid to transfer two schools

May 4, 2001

About 300 staff and 1,700 students at De Montfort University could transfer to the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside next year as De Montfort steps up its repositioning strategy.

Negotiations are under way to hand over ownership of De Montfort's operations in Lincolnshire. Although the financial basis for the deal has yet to be finalised, the university's board agreed in principle this week.

The decision follows the announcement earlier this year that De Montfort would withdraw from its campus in Milton Keynes and concentrate on sites in Leicester and Bedford.

"This is a very competitive environment where students want the best facilities, which are harder to provide on ten sites than just two," vice-chancellor Philip Tasker said. "We are not closing anything down, and we will not have any fewer students."

He said De Montfort was planning to invest £40 million in developing the Leicester and Bedford campuses.

Ownership of the school of agriculture and the school of art and design will shift to the ULH if a board meeting there on May 10 agrees on the cost.

The move also has to be approved by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Learning and Skills Council.

The transfer would form an integral part of the ULH's bid to rebrand itself as the University of Lincoln, which, subject to Privy Council approval, will be launched in October.

The ULH has decided to move the bulk of its academic operations out of the city of Hull and concentrate on its site in Lincoln. Significant investments are already being planned for the two schools, it said.

Professor Tasker said there would be no job losses at the school of art and design. A review of jobs at the school of agriculture would be handed over to the ULH.

He said staff would transfer to ULH employment under the transfer of undertakings protection of employment regulations. Current students and those beginning their courses in September would be able to complete their courses with De Montfort. Subsequent students would graduate from the University of Lincoln.

Gill Thwaites of De Montfort student union said the move had the union's full support: "Having the majority of Lincoln's students belonging to one university will create a more vibrant community and Lincoln will become an even more exciting student city."

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