Hastings hub site opens up access

February 6, 2004

A higher education outpost was opened in Hastings, East Sussex, this week by Alan Johnson, the higher education minister.

University Centre Hastings aims to consolidate higher education provision in the area. It is managed by Brighton University with academic partners including Sussex University, the Open University, Hastings College of Arts and Technology and Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Sir David Watson, vice-chancellor of Brighton, said the centre sought not to become a university in its own right or a branch of Brighton, but rather a one-stop shop for a range of higher education provision in the area.

He said: "This is one of those rare moments when political vision, serious regional investment and academic leadership have come together.

"The centre is a novel and innovative concept, which has the University of Brighton managing a serviced university facility that others, as well as Brighton, can use to expand their course offerings and participation.

"UCH is a carefully managed incremental programme. It buys into the reputation that the University of Brighton has painstakingly built up over the past decade and more. I am confident that it will build steadily from consolidated local and regional provision to become a significant national and international player."

Brighton has some 400 students on courses it franchises to Hastings College of Arts and Technology. These courses are now being run at UCH.

The first students to gain full Brighton degrees without leaving Hastings are due to graduate in art and design this summer. They will be followed next year by graduates in multimedia and, later, computing.

From summer, Sussex will offer continuing education courses at UCH, and the Open University and Canterbury Christ Church will also offer courses.

The South East England Development Agency provided £7 million towards establishing the centre, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England provided £3.5 million.

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