> Swindon UWE site to close: “Generic student experience is not that of a higher education student,” claims Professor Langton

Swindon Great Western Hospital

UWE Swindon Great Western Hospital Site is set to close by 2013, according to a document leaked to WesternEye.

The document, a letter to be sent to students from Professor Helen Langton, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, states that the site is not “as fit for purpose as it could be”. It also suggests that this has a direct impact upon students’ “generic student experience” and that:

“Estates issues also impact onto how we manage your teaching and learning experience. For example, we are unable to fully utilise technology to support your learning in new areas.”

Small class sizes are cited as, while being good in terms of contact time, do not “expose you [students] as much to the ethos of higher education as it could do.”

Smaller class sizes also make the Swindon site less economically viable, especially considering that the building is leased from the NHS.

Professor Langton promises in the letter that, unless all students agree otherwise, the site will remain open until the current first-years “enter their final practice placement – which is scheduled currently for late February 2013.”

The fact that UWE leases the Swindon site building from the NHS, when it has a £40m plot next to Frenchay, coupled with the lack of any other suitable higher education facilities in Swindon suggests that it is highly possible that the closure is part of a wider development plan to centralise UWE at the Frenchay site.

A meeting was scheduled to be held at 1 pm today (16th March) between staff and students, to provide a forum for discussion on the proposal.

A full article on this and other issues relating to nursing courses at UWE will be included in the next print edition of WesternEye.