Thursday, November 13, 2008

News: The University of Rotherham


A new university centre could be created in the Dearne, if work by an MP and local councils pays off. It could mean a new campus between Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster with links to one or more existing universities, as well as local further education colleges. Wentworth MP John Healey met John Denham, the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, this week to put forward the case and also discussed the idea with the universities minister in the summer. The leaders and chief executives of both Barnsley and Rotherham councils are behind the idea and discussions are also going on with Doncaster council. Lawrence Morton, chief executive at Wales High School, has been employed part-time to pull the case together. Mr Healey said: "We have got the backing of the councils, interest from business, support from our existing colleges – the task now is to put together the strongest possible case. "We’ve got a lot of work to do and I think we can prepare a strong bid, but expectations have to be realistic because there’s fierce competition from other areas across the country." Earlier this year the government announced it wants to open or commit to a further 20 higher education centres over the next six years. In the last five years, 11 new universities have been created and agreements are in place to support projects in another six areas. Healey added: "A university centre in the former South Yorkshire coalfields could open up new opportunities for local people. It could draw in those who wouldn’t previously have thought about university for themselves or their families. "It would help complete the transformation and regeneration of South Yorkshire. From previous decades when many left school and went to work in the pits without worrying about qualifications and further learning, this would transform not just our education but our aspirations and our achievements for the future. "More people than ever from Rotherham are going on to higher education – but a university on the doorstep would open up that option to so many more."
John Healey MP website


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