Keele's lost course

June 5, 1998

Your article by Vicky Hutchings ("A year of living famously", THES, May 29) describes Keele University as it was more than 20 years ago and yet highlights many of the features of the curriculum that still exist.

My colleagues and I remain committed to all of those benefits embodied in the curriculum such as breadth, flexibility and the benefits of a campus-based academic community. Nevertheless, we have to move with the times.

The changing pattern of education in schools and colleges coupled with the deteriorating economic circumstances in which students find themselves, particularly with the introduction of tuition fees and increases in student debt, have reduced demand for the foundation year as it was originally conceived.

The intake for the foundation year has been about 20 per cent of the total undergraduate entry for a number of years. I am confident that we would very much have had the support of Lindsay in our attempts to maintain a modern and dynamic programme at Keele.

I can assure Vicky Hutchings and all your readers that we will continue to reflect all those aspects of our programme from which she and so many others have benefited in the past in developing our courses.

We will also retain our commitment to mature students and to providing a programme with an international perspective.

We all regret the passing of the foundation year but we have to take a realistic view of the current climate in which we all work in higher education and respond to the changing student demand.

E. F. Slade Director of academic affairs Keele University

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