Moray rejects merger talks call

March 28, 1997

MORAY House Institute of Education has angrily rejected a call from its estranged partner, Heriot-Watt University, to be involved in talks about its future.

Moray House has been an associated college of Heriot-Watt since 1990, but unexpectedly announced last November that it was holding merger talks with Edinburgh University. Heriot-Watt's new principal, John Archer, has now called for tripartite talks.

The proposal, to be submitted to the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council this summer, had come as a shock, he said.

"Although we have played little direct role in the teacher training programmes at Moray House, we have fostered the programmes in technology and also the sport and leisure programmes at the Cramond campus," he said.

"The staff and students at Cramond have become very close to their colleagues here and we would be horrified to see something we have all worked on for many years being discarded."

But the Moray House board of governors has told Heriot-Watt it has no part to play in talks on the college's strategic development.

Board chairman Peter Stillwell has written to Professor Archer saying there has been progress in the merger talks on the basis of all courses becoming Edinburgh's responsibility, and tripartite working parties have no function.

He told Professor Archer that governors were pleased that "sensible transitional arrangements" had been agreed for Moray House students currently taking courses leading to Heriot-Watt awards.

Gordon Kirk, principal of Moray House, said the college had decided to seek a new partner because its experience with Heriot-Watt had been "unsatisfactory in many respects".

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