Sir Adrian Webb called back to reflect on direction of Glyndwr University

Review group to reconvene over future of higher education in North Wales

May 21, 2015

 

The future of Glyndwr University is being reconsidered by the Welsh government, as the institution posts another multimillion-pound loss.

Times Higher Education has learned that ministers have asked Sir Adrian Webb, who led a review that considered Glyndwr’s future which was published in 2013, to reconvene with members of his review group to consider how his recommendations “might be taken forward”.

Sir Adrian has been told to look at “progress to date with the original recommendations and to consider options as put forward by institutions for the future development of higher education in this part of Wales”, a government spokesman said.

The discussions are likely to be given added urgency by Glyndwr’s continuing financial difficulties, which were underlined by the publication this month – long after most other UK higher education institutions – of the university’s accounts for 2013-14. These confirm a deficit of about £4 million for 2013-14, similar to 2012-13.

While most of the 2013-14 loss was made up of one-off costs, these came in a year when Glyndwr received £10.8 million in tuition fees from full-time international students, the majority of whom were enrolled at the university’s London campus.

It is unclear whether Glyndwr will be able to rely on such revenue in future, since it was ordered in November to close this site amid allegations that some students’ language qualifications were invalid.

The university said the process of relocating to a new campus in the capital was “under way” but, at present, its sponsorship licence allows it to recruit about 100 international students to its Wrexham site only.

Glyndwr received a cash advance from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales in March this year in order to “meet its peak forecast funding requirements”, the accounts reveal. This has now been repaid.

Graham Upton, the interim vice-chancellor, told THE he was working to “put the university back on a firm footing”.

“We are disappointed to announce a deficit…but anticipated these results and are now building for the future and implementing a strategy that will bring about financial stability,” Professor Upton said.

The 2013-14 accounts reveal that, although Glyndwr made an £894,000 surplus on its normal operations, this was wiped out by the £1.4 million cost of a voluntary severance scheme.

In addition, Glyndwr wrote off the £1.1 million value of its business in London owing to the winding down of its operations there, and spent £1.3 million on legal costs, some of which were associated with claims by students affected by the suspension of the university’s sponsorship licence.

The rest of the deficit was largely made up of a £1.2 million loss at a subsidiary, OpTIC Glyndwr, up from £900,000 the year before.

Penny Anderson, the president of Glyndwr University Students’ Guild, credited Professor Upton with bringing “some stability and direction” to the institution since he was appointed in January, but warned that the reliance on international student income had to end.

“It is clear there remain serious financial problems facing the university and that a sustainable, stable basis needs to be in place for students to have full confidence in the institution’s future,” she said.

Sir Adrian’s original review recommended the formation of a federation between Glyndwr and Coleg Cambria, a nearby further education college, and also suggested that a federation with Bangor University be considered.

Since the Bangor link-up has gained little traction, the formation of a partnership with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David has also been floated, THE understands.

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

International Student Support Assistant YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Senior Lecturer: Architecture (Cultural Content) NORWICH UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS
Head of Department of Physics ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY
Research Assistant LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS & POLITICAL SCIENCE LSE

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest