Gloucestershire to shut London outpost

Move comes less than a year after a multimillion-pound refit. Melanie Newman reports

The University of Gloucestershire is to close its London campus just seven months after it reopened following an £8.3 million refurbishment.

The site was officially reopened in February in a ceremony that featured the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, as guest of honour.

Gloucestershire had hoped that the campus, which it has owned since 2003 and has been used predominantly for teacher training, would aid recruitment of international students.

But this week a spokeswoman for Gloucestershire said: “The university has for some time been considering how best to maximise use of its estate. We have decided to consolidate our business in Gloucestershire, reducing operational costs and bringing our financial model more in line with the sector.”

The university launched a major efficiency drive, dubbed Transformation 2012, in April amid warnings from Patricia Broadfoot, the vice-chancellor, that it needed to save £5 million over two years.

Gloucestershire reported a surplus of £117,000 in the 2007-08 financial year. But its annual accounts showed that long-term borrowing rose to £32.6 million from £30.8 million in 2006-07 to pay for infrastructure developments that included the London site.

The spokeswoman said the university had nine full-time members of staff on the site in East London, “plus additional part-time support and academic staff”.

Some 38 full-time students for the postgraduate certificate in education are based in London. In February the site also hosted more than 80 students on the graduate teacher-training programme in primary education, 42 overseas-trained teachers and about 100 newly qualified teachers studying for a masters in education.

“The university is committed to its existing students, who will be able to complete their courses during the current academic year,” the university spokeswoman said.

melanie.newman@tsleducation.com

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