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University of Wolverhampton course cuts breach government regulations, says UCU

17 June 2022

UCU has written to the Office for Students (OfS) urging it to investigate the University of Wolverhampton's plans to cull 146 courses, which the union believes breach government regulations.

The suspension of 146 courses would see significant numbers of staff losing their jobs and would have a devastating impact on current and future students as well as the local community. Courses the university wants to cut include performing arts, fashion, social sciences, interior design and fine art.

The OfS regulates universities and sets the requirements needed for an institution to be registered as a higher education provider. In its letter, UCU says Wolverhampton's cuts are so severe they put at risk the university's registration status.

The letter says by implementing course cuts on such a scale and in such a short timeframe Wolverhampton is likely to be in breach of a number of OfS regulations including:

  • the regulatory objective to 'ensure...students from all backgrounds...are supported to access...higher education', as the closures mean local students will have much less choice in what they study and are therefore less likely to go to university
  • the regulatory objective to ensure 'all students receive a high quality academic experience' as many students who have accepted offers from the university can no longer take up their places. Likewise many current students will now find their courses severely impacted and the value of their degrees diminished over time.

The letter draws particular attention to the situation of students studying performing arts where all but seven teaching staff are expected to lose their jobs before September.

UCU regional official Anne O'Sullivan said: 'The Office for Students has a vital role in regulating higher education in England. It is abundantly clear that the cuts the University of Wolverhampton is forcing through will mean that future students in the local community will be denied opportunities to access higher education. Many prospective students who have accepted a place in September will no longer be able to attend Wolverhampton and current students will have their university experience damaged beyond recognition. These devastating cuts must be halted'

Last updated: 17 June 2022