Conservation degree 'never existed'

July 12, 1996

Students pay towards their higher education and want value for money. THES reporters look at the university appeals system and what happens when degree courses are not all they were advertised to be. A student is threatening legal action after he gave up his job and spent three years working towards a degree that never existed.

Andrew Skene gave up his carpentry job to study for the BA (Hons) in conservation and restoration of the built environment, which was advertised as involving Lambeth College, South Bank University and the City and Guilds School.

Mr Skene, who described the course as a first-rate idea, worked to build up sufficient credits to secure what he was led to believe would be progresssion to South Bank University where he would in due course gain sufficient credits to merit his BA.

But it was revealed that, while there had been preliminary discussions between South Bank and Lambeth, there was never any agreement to put the course forward for validation.

Mr Skene said: "I feel cheated. I gave up my job and spent three years studying to improve myself and it has come to nothing. I have to admit I'm pretty bitter about it all."

Lambeth's principal Adrian Perry has now admitted that the fault rested with the college in that it inadvertently "gave students too firm an idea" that the degree had been, or was about to be, validated by the university.

A South Bank spokesman said he had every sympathy for Mr Skene and that, while the university was not to blame, it was doing everything possible to help him find a suitable alternative degree.

Mr Skene has engaged solicitors John Perry & Co, who have written a letter on his behalf to Lambeth giving the college until July 15 to progress the situation before an application for legal aid is submitted with a view to pursuing a claim for "substantial damages".

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