News Article

Our Statement on Rochester and FE Closure

By now you will have learned that UCA plans to close its Rochester campus and the majority of its Further Education courses in 2023.

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By now you will have learned that UCA plans to close its Rochester campus and the majority of its Further Education courses in 2023. The Students' Union's immediate concern is how this could negatively impact UCA students, and what can be done to protect your experience.

So far we have:

  1. Launched two surveys, one about Rochester closure and one about FE closure, which students have been responding to for the past week
  2. Held two forums, one for Rochester course reps and one open to all students
  3. Shared all student feedback we've received with senior University staff, Catherine Harper and Simon Macklin
  4. Called on the University for three key actions: to publish a clear Roadmap for their closure plans, to provide financial transparency about how students' money has been spent and why this decision and been made, and to conduct an Equality Impact Assessment that considers the potential consequences these closures could have on disadvantaged communities such as low income, BAME and disabled young people.
  5. Set up 'Rochester closure' and 'FE closure' pages on our website, to keep you updated with the latest news about the closures

Based on all the feedback we have gathered from the UCA community in the past week, we have now established the Students' Union's 'priorities' regarding the closures. This is what we believe UCA must do for students, and what we as your Union will be fighting for.

Our priorities:

UCA should provide these for Rochester and Further Education students between 2021-2023:

  • A high-quality education that is not disrupted by the planned closure of their courses.
  • A good campus experience and sense of community, which includes the University funding relevant events and opportunities for students.
  • Access to the same academic staff. UCA should incentivise and support academic staff to remain at UCA for a consistent academic experience.

UCA should provide these for the whole UCA community now:

  • Clarity and transparency. This could be achieved through regular and consistent communication, using simple language.
  • Open conversation with students and staff - senior staff such as the Vice-Chancellor should be prepared to address the concerns of the UCA community and take accountability for the closure decisions.
  • A 'Roadmap' or plan for the 2023 closures, covering how they will financially support students and staff affected by the changes, how they will maintain a good academic experience for all UCA students, how they will retain the quality of each discipline that is being moved to a new campus, and what they will do to try and prevent student numbers dropping.
  • A plan for UCA's future beyond 2023, explaining whether the multiple-campus structure is a priority, and how they will ensure further campuses - particularly Canterbury campus - will be protected, and what has been learnt from the poor decisions that have led to two campus closures in seven years.
  • A financial breakdown explaining the background and reasoning for these closures, including a breakdown of tuition fees.
  • An Equality Impact assessment, which details the impact that these closures might have on disadvantaged communities such as people from low-income backgrounds, BAME and disabled young people (particularly in Medway).
  • An apology for all members of the UCA community who learnt this news from the media or word of mouth, rather than from UCA.
  • A plan for providing access to the arts for young people in Kent, particularly those from disadvantaged communities.

Comments

Selma Cath Ben Ayed
2:07pm on 17 May 21 You mention 'young people' only but I am an elderly student and I joined the UCA through an Access Course (which is offered alongside the Foundation and Extended Diploma Course) and I was able to progress through to degree through Diplom2Degree I am saddened to hear of these decisions for the future of UCA . Any further opportunities for mature students are going to be crushed in the future. For me, coming to UCA and embarking on a degree has been life-saving and life-changing. I hope the Union succeeds in advancing this campaign.
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