Revamp results in campus closure

August 29, 2003

Southampton University is to close and sell off its flagship widening participation campus in parallel with a major restructuring exercise.

The New College site, formerly the La Sainte Union College of Higher Education, is expected to raise several million pounds when sold, releasing cash to invest in teaching, research and development at the university's remaining six campuses.

New College was established as part of the university in 1997 and hailed as the first venture of its kind with a mission to offer opportunities to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The university said it was a model for widening participation.

The campus is unlikely to close for a year or possibly two and the university said that widening participation activities would remain a high priority.

Peter Reader, director of external relations at the university, said: "New College is a separate site, which worked in two ways. It could be seen as a plus, reaching out to the community, and as a minus because the students there did not feel part of a university. They were in some ways second-class citizens.

"If the university is going to deliver high-quality education across the board, we cannot afford to have people pushed away. We want to ensureI that they are fully integrated into the university."

A wide-ranging restructure was announced at Southampton at the start of the month. It sees the number of faculties reduced from eight to three and the university's 40-plus departments rejigged into 20 schools.

Mr Reader said that there had been no jobs cut as a result, and that any voluntary severance packages had been made "in the normal course of things". However, some staff would be doing different jobs as a result of the restructuring and the university was providing the necessary training.

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