University of South Wales' London campus closes with no students after one year - at a cost of £750,000 to the taxpayer, say reports

Welsh Shadow Minister for Education hits-out at the failed venture during, what is already, 'an uncertain period for Welsh higher education'

Aftab Ali
Tuesday 28 July 2015 15:19
The university's Caerleon campus looks set to make 90 staff members redundant (@UniSouthWales via Twitter)
The university's Caerleon campus looks set to make 90 staff members redundant (@UniSouthWales via Twitter)

A university in London has been forced to close its doors after just one year – because no students signed up to study for courses.

The University of South Wales (USW) opened-up its London centre in the heart of the city’s Docklands last year at a cost of £300,000, promising to deliver a range of undergraduate, postgraduate, and professional courses in the fields of law and financial services, and information security.

Now, though, having recruited four staff members, the institution has had to close after failing to spark any interest, shipping its resources back to South Wales.

The Welsh Shadow Minister for Education, Angela Burns, has hit-out at the institution’s failed venture – and for wasting taxpayers’ money – during what, she described to WalesOnline, as being “an uncertain period for Welsh higher education.”

The university said it was relying on international students to help the venture take-off, but cited the Government’s toughening of visa regulations – which made it harder to recruit any foreign students – as being the reason why it has had to close two years earlier than anticipated.

The University of South Wales was formed in 2013 after merging with the University of Wales, Newport and University of Glamorgan

Unions had criticised the university previously after its decision to close one of its five South Wales campuses.

It is thought 75 jobs are at risk.

Gareth Morgans, who is regional organiser of the general trade union GMB in Wales, told BBC News the move is “…absolutely a slap in the face.”

Referring to the potential 90 redundancies at Caerleon University in Newport, Mr Morgans added: “Our members feel betrayed by the university.”

He blasted USW for “a frivolous waste of money” on a project that was never going to succeed and said the money would have been better spent on the Caerleon campus which would have been “vibrant.”

Nick Thomas-Symonds, who is Labour MP for the Welsh constituency Torfaen, said he will be seeking answers as to the “very serious concerns” around why the project was allowed to happen when there were already issues to be addressed at the Caerleon campus.

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