Whistleblowers: Trent withdraws from ESE validation deal

November 29, 2002

Nottingham Trent University has decided to end its partnership with the European School of Economics, almost six months after an investigation by The THES found that staff at the private business school were having to teach students without many basic facilities and were resorting to desperate measures just to get their salaries paid.

The THES reported in June that the academic director of ESE's London campus, Sue Coates, had left the school with a catalogue of complaints. She wrote to Nottingham Trent, which validates ESE's degrees, claiming that the school had "refused to provide a basic library" and that her staff were being "controlled by non-payment". She said that in 2001, some 23 staff had had payment problems, of whom nine had resigned in protest. Some withdrew student exam results, and hired a firm of debt collectors.

The THES also reported that Nottingham Trent may not have been getting the most complete picture of campus life at ESE when it conducted its validation reviews. In advance of an inspection in May last year, staff were told to brief students and colleagues before they met a Nottingham Trent representative, "so as to avoid the expression of resentment and dissatisfaction".

This week, a spokeswoman for Nottingham Trent said: "Following a strategic review, it was decided that the validation agreement between Nottingham Trent and ESE would not be renewed. However, Nottingham Trent will fulfil its obligations to validate the awards of continuing students who successfully complete their course of studies with ESE, including those who have enrolled this autumn."

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