Liverpool John Moores University is to withdraw its bid for a third semester pilot in a move which will deal a blow to Government plans for their introduction across higher education.
The university was the largest of the three institutions to bid for the pilot. The others are the University of Luton and La Sainte Union College. It withdrew this week after the plans were rejected by both academics and the academic board on the grounds that they would erode quality and worsen conditions for staff.
The board had also turned down the proposals on October 16 when it first discussed the bid. Staff had already voted overwhelmingly to reject the pilot, with only ten votes out of 500 in favour in a poll run by Natfhe, the lecturers' union.
The university, which technically could go ahead without staff approval, said that the board recommended that the senior management of the university should not resubmit the bid to the Higher Education Funding Council. This advice had been accepted by Peter Toyne, vice chancellor, and would be transmitted to the council this week.
Natfhe has been campaigning against the introduction of a third semester. Amanda Hart, acting head of higher education, said: "Since this was to be the largest pilot it effectively pulls the rug from under the feet of the Government's plans to introduce third semesters in higher education on a large scale. We have always argued that you could not introduce a third semester without damaging quality."