University of Salford plans to axe language courses

23 April 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

The University of Salford has announced that it plans to axe all modern foreign languages (MFL) courses after 2017, despite a review which recommended that they be maintained as part of combined degree study.

UCU was part of a group, established by vice-chancellor Martin Hall, to undertake a review of the specialist MFL provision at the university. This group made a series of recommendations in January, stating that MFL courses should be maintained for students studying a 'major-minor' combined degree programme (eg History and French). The report also recommended the retention of post graduate courses in translation and interpretation.
However, the university has announced that, following a subsequent review, all MFL courses will stop in 2017. UCU was not informed about the second review, and the union says that the proposed changes would risk further redundancies at the university.
UCU added that it was doubly disappointed as the initial review had seemed to mark a turning point in industrial relations between the union and the university. The union's involvement in the review formed part of a stated intent by the university to engage and consult with UCU in order to mitigate an ongoing trade dispute, but the failure to include the union in the second review has undermined this commitment.
UCU regional official, Martyn Moss, said: 'We are deeply shocked by the decision of the university to undertake a second, undisclosed review of modern foreign languages courses and its subsequent decision to cut courses.
'UCU worked hard as part of the initial review group to look at which modern foreign languages courses could be retained, and set out a number of recommendations which the university has apparently chosen to ignore. This underhand approach is unfortunately typical of the university's disregard for UCU's contribution to addressing issues affecting staff.
'We believe that modern foreign languages courses form an important part of the university's portfolio, and this decision will inevitably lead to further redundancies of university staff as current students are taught out and provision is ended. We strongly urge the university to reconsider its decision on this matter and work with UCU to reach a resolution which will work for students, staff and the university as a whole.'