Education Letters: New developments at Durham University

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I would like to correct some misconceptions in your article about Durham University and its Queen's Campus in Stockton ("An ancient seat of learning goes modern", EDUCATION & CAREERS, 25 September). You implied that we would build a new law school, a centre for student services and the university's headquarters at Stockton. This is actually a major development in Durham City.

While, as you say, Durham excels in the humanities, we are also one of the leading universities for science. Durham was one of the first UK universities to offer science and engineering degrees, and we were recently placed first in Europe and fourth globally for space-science research.

We have no plans to build an independent medical school. Durham University works closely with Newcastle University to plan undergraduate medical education. The Newcastle Medical School is not one of Tony Blair's new medical schools. It was a college of Durham University from 1852 before becoming part of the independent Newcastle University in 1963.

Durham has provided academically led vocational courses for over a century, for example in ministry and through our law and business schools.

Although we have no plans to build a new campus in Darlington, we intend to encourage promising students to attend our nearby Stockton campus.

Professor Christopher Higgins, Vice-chancellor and Warden, Durham University

Appointments and religious beliefs

I would like to put the record straight over Bethan Marshall's article about schools with a religious character ("We should query this article of faith", E&C, 2 October). It is only possible to take religious faith into account if it is a genuine occupational requirement for the position. It is wrong to contend that "anyone", including lunchtime supervisors, will be appointed according to their religious beliefs.

Oona Stannard, Chief Executive and Director, Catholic Education Service

Send letters to: The Editor, Education, 'The Independent', Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS (with a daytime phone number); fax to: 020-7005 2143; email to:; letters may be edited for length and clarity