Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Sent from Coventry, Welcomed in Scarborough

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Sent from Coventry, Welcomed in Scarborough

Article excerpt

Midlands university targets England's 'cold spots' for branch-campus expansion. Paul Jump reports

Being sent to Coventry has always meant either being given the cold shoulder or taking a trip to the West Midlands. However, it could soon entail a stay in any number of English higher education's "cold spots".

According to Ian Dunn, deputy vice-chancellor at Coventry University, his institution aims to open "four or five" new campuses in underserved areas, using the "high quality, low cost" model it pioneered at Coventry University College.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England, led by former Coventry vice-chancellor Madeleine Atkins, was asked by the government last year to pinpoint cold spots so existing universities could address them. Recently announced plans for a university in Hereford could improve provision in the Welsh borders, and Professor Dunn said he was talking to "three or four" local authorities in some of the cold spots identified by Hefce, which include the East and South West, Cumbria, Humberside and North Yorkshire.

The last of these is home to Coventry's first confirmed venture, in Scarborough. The city has hosted a 1,500-student branch campus of the University of Hull since 2000, but Hull announced last year that it wanted another institution to take over and develop a "Scarborough-centric higher education offer".

Coventry proposed to turn it into a university college that, while remaining wholly owned by the institution, would ultimately develop its own locally relevant curriculum, gain degree-awarding powers and become the University of Scarborough.

But last November, Hull chose Hull College Group as its preferred bidder. According to Professor Dunn, Scarborough Borough Council "wasn't happy", as it wanted "a full HE offer". It invited Coventry to build a campus on a new site alongside a Hull-sponsored university technical college and a "sports and leisure village". …

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