Bolton faces university hurdle

October 17, 1997

BOLTON Institute is poised to become a university following approval by quality watchdogs.

Members of the degree-awarding powers committee of the Quality Assurance Agency for higher education gave the go-ahead last month.

Education secretary David Blunkett is considering the matter before asking the Privy Council to make a final decision.

Approval from the committee came only after disagreements within the QAA over the committee's powers and Bolton's quality track record.

The committee decided the institute had maintained sufficiently high standards over the past three years for university status.

But internal sources say John Randall, QAA chief executive, raised concerns about a teaching quality assessment report on the institute's theatre, film and television studies programme that was gave it the bottom grade 1 rating for learning resources.

Mr Randall suggested the decision should be considered by the QAA board before going to Mr Blunkett. But committee members insisted their decision stood on the grounds that the QAA had agreed to delegate decisions on such issues to the committee.

Mr Randall was not available for comment this week.

Institute principal Robert Oxtoby said he was hoping the Privy Council's final decision would be known in a few weeks.

"As far as we are concerned, we have now reached the final hurdle and we are looking forward to a successful outcome in the very near future," he said.

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