Quay opens door to a new campus

An ambitious new university site planned for London's Docklands will be geared towards jobs and the local community, writes Nicholas Faith

London's next campus, planned to hold 5,000 students is merely a windblown strip of land, half a mile long, 200 yards wide, stretching along the north side of the Royal Albert Dock at the easternmost end of Docklands.

The only sign of life among the rusting rails and weed-strewn concrete roads is a Sunday market. Yet the London Docklands Development Corporation - and Frank Gould, vice-chancellor of the University of East London - firmly believes that this will be the site for the most exciting educational concentration London has seen since ''Albertopolis'', the group of buildings in South Kensington named after the same royal patron as the dock itself.

And next to the ''Royals' University College'', as it is provisionally called, is the site for a science and technology park, a phenomenon well known outside London, but absent in the capital itself.

The site looks as if it is miles from anywhere, but behind it is the extension to the Docklands Light Railway, which will whisk students to the City in 20 minutes, while vastly expensive road extensions provide access for the better-heeled.

The ''Royals'' is a natural part of the plan, first launched when Michael Heseltine was Secretary of State for the Environment, for regenerating the East Thames Corridor, a region now known officially as Thames Gateway. The need for a new centre of higher education remains urgent, since the boroughs in Docklands still record lower educational attainments (and expectations) than almost any other region in Britain.

The project is sponsored not only by UEL but also by Queen Mary's College. The City University and London Guildhall, while supportive sponsors, would be less closely involved, acting probably as ''academic suppliers'' in the sort of horse-trading now indulged in by so many institutions.

The plans involve a campus for just under 5,000 students, a third of them relocated from UEL's scattered base in east London, the rest will be new. Professor Gould knew heads of other institutions personally - and it is a great help that the principal of Queen Mary's, Graham Zellick, is an enthusiast for education within the community.

This is crucial, for Gould is looking for a considerable degree of involvement from local councils. These are naturally enthusiastic since their new policy for development is ''getting something you want'' as opposed to the 1980s when they simply tried to get compensation in one form or another for developments they were not keen on.

Partly as a result of local pressure, all the faculties will be technical, scientific, or vocational, including such fashionable areas as business, management, media and health (UEL is already well-known for its physiotherapy department). Professor Gould says UEL would ''continue to concentrate on vocational subjects . . . the students are very astute and job-oriented.'' In areas such as fashion and business information systems, for example, UEL is thriving precisely because it has proved so effective in getting its graduates into jobs.

The idea of a university college sponsored by more than one university is not new: Salford already boasts a similar venture, and the University College of Stockton was set up by the University of Durham and Teesside University.

The hunt for funds is already on. The promoters could get a flying start if they get the pounds 10m they've applied for from the Government's Single Regeneration budget and are also trying to get money from the European Union's development fund - although Docklands' special status is a hindrance in trying to get the region accepted as a truly deprived area (which by normal criteria it is). Even more promising is an application to the EU's Sprint programme for a feasibility study for the science and technology park.

There is a wide range of other possible benefactors. The London Docklands Development Corporation could pitch in pounds 4m. Peabody and other charities have come forward with ideas for self-financing student hostels. But perhaps the best - albeit unspoken - prospect is for an intensification of UEL's already close links with Ford at Dagenham, which already uses the university to ''transform technicians into graduates'' - a phrase that could serve as the modest but sensible motto for the whole project.

(Photograph omitted)

Graduate Plus: Management page

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

SEN (SLD/PMLD) Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence