Fresh bid to secure university for town

First published in News by

PRESSURE is building for Swindon to get its own university after the Government announced this week that 12 new universities would be created – including one in nearby Cirencester.

Ten of these are long-established specialist institutions which are set to be awarded full university status, including the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester, which is at present a university college.

Two, possibly three, private colleges are also expected to be made universities, though not all will be for-profit facilities.

Swindon has already seen its university hopes dashed twice in recent years. The University of Bath intended to establish a base in Swindon and then later the University of West England had plans to expand into the borough.

However, neither reached fruition for various reasons, including changes to central Government policy and funding arrangements.

Mark Dempsey, Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Swindon North, who is also Swindon Council’s Labour group leader, said Swindon Council now needed to press ahead with a project to secure a university.

He said: “Swindon desperately needs a university for the future of our town. Swindon is the largest town or city in the country without its own university.

“Swindon is among the worst 10 per cent of local authorities in England for participation in higher education at 18, and yet our future economic prospects are dependent on providing university level skills. By the year 2020, two out of three jobs created will need university level skills.

“It is deeply disappointing that after eight years, the Tory council has failed to secure a university for Swindon.

“Whereas, as a result of this week’s announcement, even Cirencester has its own university.”

Coun Stan Pajak, the Lib Dem group leader, said: “We would like to see Swindon have its own university, but that seems to be getting harder and harder as these announcements happen and Swindon isn’t included.”

In the summer, Swindon Council set up a dedicated group to support the long-term ambition. It comprises representatives from business, the council, the colleges and other partners.

On December 12, cabinet will consider a report informed by the group, which sets out a series of proposed steps to eventually achieve a university in Swindon, rather than establishing one straight away.

Coun David Renard, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The agricultural college in Cirencester is an existing educational establishment which the Government have agreed to give additional status to.

“What we’re trying to do in Swindon is set up a new institution and what we’ve got back from Government is they don’t have an appetite for setting up any new universities from scratch.

“The challenge we have in Swindon is we have a number of providers which offer higher education and we would ideally love to have a university in Swindon but without Government funding that’s not possible.

“So what the report going before council on December 12 is looking at is how can we achieve that without support from Government.”

Comments (13)

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10:54am Sat 1 Dec 12

Robh says...

Why? It seems that just because other towns are getting one then we want one. They are all acting like green eyed kids.
Why? It seems that just because other towns are getting one then we want one. They are all acting like green eyed kids. Robh
  • Score: 0

11:29am Sat 1 Dec 12

dc the 2nd says...

Yeah, lets dig up the roads out of town too. Swindon needs to be in a bubble.
Yeah, lets dig up the roads out of town too. Swindon needs to be in a bubble. dc the 2nd
  • Score: 0

11:34am Sat 1 Dec 12

I 2 Could B says...

The reality is that virtually nobody who goes to university attends a university in the town/area they actually live in. Indeed, part of the university experience involves moving away to new areas, meeting new people etc.

With that in mind, and given that there are nearby universities in Bath, Oxford, Bristol, Reading... who on earth would decide to move to the South West and choose Swindon above the other options?
The reality is that virtually nobody who goes to university attends a university in the town/area they actually live in. Indeed, part of the university experience involves moving away to new areas, meeting new people etc. [p] With that in mind, and given that there are nearby universities in Bath, Oxford, Bristol, Reading... who on earth would decide to move to the South West and choose Swindon above the other options? I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

11:55am Sat 1 Dec 12

Synergie says...

""Mark Dempsey, Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Swindon North, who is also Swindon Council’s Labour group leader, said Swindon Council now needed to press ahead with a project to secure a university.""
.
The Swindon Labour group leader is Cllr Jim Grant. Cllr Mark Dempsey is his deputy....at the moment!
""Mark Dempsey, Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Swindon North, who is also Swindon Council’s Labour group leader, said Swindon Council now needed to press ahead with a project to secure a university."" . The Swindon Labour group leader is Cllr Jim Grant. Cllr Mark Dempsey is his deputy....at the moment! Synergie
  • Score: 0

12:00pm Sat 1 Dec 12

Always Grumpy says...

I 2 Could B wrote:
The reality is that virtually nobody who goes to university attends a university in the town/area they actually live in. Indeed, part of the university experience involves moving away to new areas, meeting new people etc.

With that in mind, and given that there are nearby universities in Bath, Oxford, Bristol, Reading... who on earth would decide to move to the South West and choose Swindon above the other options?
That might have been the case in the past, but reports on the BBC indicate that since the increase in tution fees more students are choosing their home town university so that they can live at home and save considerable accomodation expenses.
[quote][p][bold]I 2 Could B[/bold] wrote: The reality is that virtually nobody who goes to university attends a university in the town/area they actually live in. Indeed, part of the university experience involves moving away to new areas, meeting new people etc. [p] With that in mind, and given that there are nearby universities in Bath, Oxford, Bristol, Reading... who on earth would decide to move to the South West and choose Swindon above the other options?[/p][/quote]That might have been the case in the past, but reports on the BBC indicate that since the increase in tution fees more students are choosing their home town university so that they can live at home and save considerable accomodation expenses. Always Grumpy
  • Score: 0

1:49pm Sat 1 Dec 12

faatmaan says...

Swindons best option , which is happening with the tangible visible input of Oxford Brookes is a faculty designed to meet the future vocational requirements of industry in this region, whilst Swindon is huge in relative terms to many of the present and proposed areas for new universities, it further reflects the lack of a coherent front by politicians who only wnat to see benefits for small vested interest groups in the borough, rather than the big picture, this would give Swindon better value for money and a bigger boost to ambiance of Swindon than any Canal project or the ressurection of condemned buildings that were already condemned thirty years ago, my vote will go the politicians at local or national level who actually seek a faculty of this nature to fruition and beyond. Its a good job Swindon already has a good amount of HI tech companies as we could be looking at being parked up in the super information layby by the inactions of our elected servants.
Swindons best option , which is happening with the tangible visible input of Oxford Brookes is a faculty designed to meet the future vocational requirements of industry in this region, whilst Swindon is huge in relative terms to many of the present and proposed areas for new universities, it further reflects the lack of a coherent front by politicians who only wnat to see benefits for small vested interest groups in the borough, rather than the big picture, this would give Swindon better value for money and a bigger boost to ambiance of Swindon than any Canal project or the ressurection of condemned buildings that were already condemned thirty years ago, my vote will go the politicians at local or national level who actually seek a faculty of this nature to fruition and beyond. Its a good job Swindon already has a good amount of HI tech companies as we could be looking at being parked up in the super information layby by the inactions of our elected servants. faatmaan
  • Score: 0

4:34pm Sat 1 Dec 12

Al Smith says...

Always Grumpy wrote:
I 2 Could B wrote:
The reality is that virtually nobody who goes to university attends a university in the town/area they actually live in. Indeed, part of the university experience involves moving away to new areas, meeting new people etc.

With that in mind, and given that there are nearby universities in Bath, Oxford, Bristol, Reading... who on earth would decide to move to the South West and choose Swindon above the other options?
That might have been the case in the past, but reports on the BBC indicate that since the increase in tution fees more students are choosing their home town university so that they can live at home and save considerable accomodation expenses.
In addition to that students who've studied at a particular university often stay in the town or city because they've found graduate jobs or are in a relationship.

I've heard it said time and again that Swindon based companies struggle to find suitable employees.
[quote][p][bold]Always Grumpy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]I 2 Could B[/bold] wrote: The reality is that virtually nobody who goes to university attends a university in the town/area they actually live in. Indeed, part of the university experience involves moving away to new areas, meeting new people etc. [p] With that in mind, and given that there are nearby universities in Bath, Oxford, Bristol, Reading... who on earth would decide to move to the South West and choose Swindon above the other options?[/p][/quote]That might have been the case in the past, but reports on the BBC indicate that since the increase in tution fees more students are choosing their home town university so that they can live at home and save considerable accomodation expenses.[/p][/quote]In addition to that students who've studied at a particular university often stay in the town or city because they've found graduate jobs or are in a relationship. I've heard it said time and again that Swindon based companies struggle to find suitable employees. Al Smith
  • Score: 0

4:43pm Sat 1 Dec 12

itsamess3 says...

Uni in our town--yes. Doubtful if we would get one as we have a very disfunctional council which struggles to make sensible plans and is more concerned with building on every small space more houses.
We have a very high proportion of immigrants here who have no problems getting housing and jobs whilst our own folk struggle to get work and housing.
Our councils for decades did nothing to attract manufacturing to the town after so many companies left-nor reduce business rates to encourage the big companies to locate here.
Uni in our town--yes. Doubtful if we would get one as we have a very disfunctional council which struggles to make sensible plans and is more concerned with building on every small space more houses. We have a very high proportion of immigrants here who have no problems getting housing and jobs whilst our own folk struggle to get work and housing. Our councils for decades did nothing to attract manufacturing to the town after so many companies left-nor reduce business rates to encourage the big companies to locate here. itsamess3
  • Score: 0

5:16pm Sat 1 Dec 12

house on the hill says...

Some very good points made here. yes of course we would all like it to happen but in the right way. otherwise it will be just another white elephant to join the herd of others.

Not sure we have a council with enough vision to get it right as shown with all the mess ups of the last few years. Also not sure that many would come here and there arent enough "local" people to make it viable or many who would want to come to Swindon. Great idea but not the right time for Swindon.
Some very good points made here. yes of course we would all like it to happen but in the right way. otherwise it will be just another white elephant to join the herd of others. Not sure we have a council with enough vision to get it right as shown with all the mess ups of the last few years. Also not sure that many would come here and there arent enough "local" people to make it viable or many who would want to come to Swindon. Great idea but not the right time for Swindon. house on the hill
  • Score: 0

7:03pm Sat 1 Dec 12

adsinibiza says...

Al Smith wrote:
Always Grumpy wrote:
I 2 Could B wrote:
The reality is that virtually nobody who goes to university attends a university in the town/area they actually live in. Indeed, part of the university experience involves moving away to new areas, meeting new people etc.

With that in mind, and given that there are nearby universities in Bath, Oxford, Bristol, Reading... who on earth would decide to move to the South West and choose Swindon above the other options?
That might have been the case in the past, but reports on the BBC indicate that since the increase in tution fees more students are choosing their home town university so that they can live at home and save considerable accomodation expenses.
In addition to that students who've studied at a particular university often stay in the town or city because they've found graduate jobs or are in a relationship.

I've heard it said time and again that Swindon based companies struggle to find suitable employees.
It's not only a case of compainis struggling to find suitable employees - for many types of work there are few, if any, decent jobs available for graduates in Swindon

Swindon looses out on so much because of the lack of a university in the town in terms of both employment opportunities and culture
[quote][p][bold]Al Smith[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Always Grumpy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]I 2 Could B[/bold] wrote: The reality is that virtually nobody who goes to university attends a university in the town/area they actually live in. Indeed, part of the university experience involves moving away to new areas, meeting new people etc. [p] With that in mind, and given that there are nearby universities in Bath, Oxford, Bristol, Reading... who on earth would decide to move to the South West and choose Swindon above the other options?[/p][/quote]That might have been the case in the past, but reports on the BBC indicate that since the increase in tution fees more students are choosing their home town university so that they can live at home and save considerable accomodation expenses.[/p][/quote]In addition to that students who've studied at a particular university often stay in the town or city because they've found graduate jobs or are in a relationship. I've heard it said time and again that Swindon based companies struggle to find suitable employees.[/p][/quote]It's not only a case of compainis struggling to find suitable employees - for many types of work there are few, if any, decent jobs available for graduates in Swindon Swindon looses out on so much because of the lack of a university in the town in terms of both employment opportunities and culture adsinibiza
  • Score: 0

1:25am Sun 2 Dec 12

Empty Car Park says...

If SBC take up the task, any plans for a university in Swindon will be based on pimping Swindon to developers and will involve thousands more houses and flats. With no guarantee of a university at the end of the "deal"

Just like the Coate fiasco
If SBC take up the task, any plans for a university in Swindon will be based on pimping Swindon to developers and will involve thousands more houses and flats. With no guarantee of a university at the end of the "deal" Just like the Coate fiasco Empty Car Park
  • Score: 0

11:49am Wed 5 Dec 12

RichardR1 says...

Swindon really does not have anything to offer the quality Uni students, so we will end up with those who can't get in anywhere else.

Great for the town.!!!!!!!
Swindon really does not have anything to offer the quality Uni students, so we will end up with those who can't get in anywhere else. Great for the town.!!!!!!! RichardR1
  • Score: 0

9:42pm Sun 9 Dec 12

Noah's Ark says...

Swindon University should have been on a Greenfield site at Coate Water. This university with Bath University's help would have been a medical school and an engineering school. great Western hospital when then ave been a teaching hospital. Thanks to the useless Tory Councillors they managed to lose this once in a life time offer.

On another front Lakeland, yes that large catalogue brand, recently applied to SBC to open a shop in Swindon. They wanted to be next to John Lewis at Home. Our useless Council told them that if they want to come to Swindon they need to be in the town centre. Net result Lakeland said sorry if we are not next to John Lewis we will not be coming to Swindon. So SBC then let the site for another Next

When will these Tory Councillors use Common Sense?
Swindon University should have been on a Greenfield site at Coate Water. This university with Bath University's help would have been a medical school and an engineering school. great Western hospital when then ave been a teaching hospital. Thanks to the useless Tory Councillors they managed to lose this once in a life time offer. On another front Lakeland, yes that large catalogue brand, recently applied to SBC to open a shop in Swindon. They wanted to be next to John Lewis at Home. Our useless Council told them that if they want to come to Swindon they need to be in the town centre. Net result Lakeland said sorry if we are not next to John Lewis we will not be coming to Swindon. So SBC then let the site for another Next When will these Tory Councillors use Common Sense? Noah's Ark
  • Score: 0

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