TVU scrutinising campus operations amid focus on local needs

May 7, 2009

Thames Valley University is considering the future of its operations in Slough and rethinking the courses it offers in Reading.

Ian Tunbridge, TVU pro vice-chancellor, said: "It's no secret that we've been considering options for the Slough campus and have been working with Slough council to decide the best form of higher education for the area.

"No decision has been taken formally to close the Slough campus. Several options are being considered, and we would wish to consult with staff and unions before any final decision (is) made."

Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the University and College Union, said the union was seeking an "urgent discussion" with the university to clarify the details of the proposal.

She said: "We will resist any redundancies and will strongly oppose any reduction in courses. Universities are key to meeting national priorities, especially during the current recession.

"There needs to be investment in public education, not contraction. Closing centres of learning and making job cuts is not the way forward."

The Slough campus is home to courses funded by the National Health Service and to other part-time professional programmes. Most of TVU's higher education courses are run out of its Ealing campus, while the Reading campus offers mainly further education courses.

The university is also producing a new strategy for its higher education provision in Reading. "We will be looking at redefining a lot of what we do there to meet the needs of the local community," Professor Tunbridge said.

Some honours degree courses are likely to move to the Ealing campus, and the university will be developing new foundation degrees to link up with further education courses. "This is not about course closures," he added.

Meanwhile, TVU is understood to be in talks with the University of Reading about the transfer of the latter's School of Health and Social Care, which has been earmarked for closure. Neither TVU nor Reading would comment on the takeover proposal.

melanie.newman@tsleducation.com.

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