Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Press Criticised For Sensationalising TVU Shake-up

The future of further education at Thames Valley University has been the subject of some controversy after the Board of Governors reached a decision 'in principle' to divest further education provision from it's Reading campus.

A six-month review has been commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council and will decide how course provision will be restructured.

Cllr Gareth Epps, LibDem PPC for Reading East, said "This is the clearest sign yet of an ill wind being blown over further and higher education."

Calling for Labour to stop it's counterproductive education cuts, he added that
"The first priority must be to ensure quality sixth form provision for Reading students. Those students intending to go to college in September, in particular, deserve reassurance after TVU's sudden announcement."
Professor Peter John, the Vice Chancellor of TVU, responded:
"We want to assure students that our plans for the future of the Reading campus will not impact on their studies. The changes are about the management of courses in the future rather than the courses that will be available. We believe that the needs of all learners, employers and employees in Reading are best served by recreating separate further education provision for the region."
But it's not just courses at TVU's Reading campus which are due to be reorganised. Slough will also see changes in a move which is claimed "will be closely aligned to the skills needs of Slough employers," according to TVU Deputy Vice Chancellor, Ian Tunbridge.

University managers have signalled their intention to 'minimise the impact on courses and on staff', and it is not expected that there are to be wholesale redundancies as a result.

However this hasn't stopped some from whipping up the spectre of industrial confrontation, despite the declaration that only one FTE teaching job at Reading is effectively redundant.

So it's interesting to read one TVU teacher speaking out on the subject from the sharp end.

The vocational business course remains over-subscribed for the next academic year, but he recognises that the economic situation is causing many young people to think again about staying in education.

He points out that the role of the press is crucial in forming perceptions and makes a sharp criticism of 'sensationalist' headlines which proclaim the impending closure of courses: using public spaces to spread uncertainty is damaging as it could actually drive potential students away.

Oranjepan says:
With confidence in civic institutions on the line the 'fourth estate' must also recognise its responsibility to the public not to sacrifice long-term interests and education for short-term commercial imperatives.


  1. no wonder the post went to twice a week

  2. Actually John was commenting that with the recession more students are finding it difficult to find jobs and therefore looking to stay in college and upping their quals! Hence more demand currently for Reading FE!

  3. Hi Anon, isn't that what's written?

  4. Not quite, you've implied that people are reconsidering their L3 quals (as in deciding NOT to go, rather than to go)...

    Anyway, heres a scoop that will go on the READING TVU site, that will put all students at ease...

    "Following the announcement last week there has been some quite misleading press coverage. If you receive any queries from students, applicants or their parents, the information below should help clarify the situation. This is also going on the Reading campus website ‘homepage’.

    Further Education in Reading – important information for current students and applicants

    Following recent newspaper reports about proposed changes at our Reading campus, we would like to make clear that further education (FE) courses will continue to run in Reading and we are accepting new enrolments. We hope this reassures you if you are mid-way through a course, due to start one or interested in applying for a place, but if you have any questions please get in touch with us on 020 8231 2387.

    Our announcement last week, which was reported in the press, is about the management of FE courses. Courses will continue as normal, but it is proposed that in the future another provider will assume responsibility for management and governance of the provision. Again, we cannot emphasise enough that courses will continue to run at the Reading site."

  5. Thanks John, that's a great contribution.

    I thought I tried to avoid the inference you suggest by starting from the position that it is an open question whether or not people actually want to stay in education and therefore also how they may change their minds, so I guess I wasn't as successful as I hoped.

  6. So why did they stop doing the Politics A-level course and leave those students who were half way through the 2 year course scrabbling to find sixth form places to be able to continue studying Politics?

  7. Well I don't know anything about the Reading campus but why the hell are TVU Ealing (and slough for that matter) not being investigated.
    Nothing more than a money making scam. My 5 year old sister could run a better university. So so many other current and past TVU students will agree. What did TVU do for me? Errr cost me alot of money, got me into alot of debt and ruined my chances of getting a degree. I was an A grade student and never even considered what career path i'd follow if i didn't get a degree. Now? Dreams shattered and I'm 24, in serious debt and earning minimum wage. Thank you TVU. Hope you enjoyed spending my tuition fees on making the place look pretty (well the entrance and the bits that don't really matter.....) It was meant for my education but hey! Oh and that's ok, cancel my modules...if theres nobody to teach me theres nobody to teach me..... As long as the music tech students have enough stupidly expensive equipement to play with I don't mind sacrificing my education for it..... would have been nice to have been given a room with enough seats for students, but i understand the music tech guys are more profitable to you so why not....Just give them it all!!!!!
    Oh it makes me sick. SCAM


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