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Cathedral Group awarded extra places

14 March 2012

by Margaret Holness Education Correspondent

THE Cathedral Group of church-based universities and university colleges has been given a total of 2246 extra students for September under the promised allocation of “marginal places” by the Higher Education Fund­ing Council (HEFC). The allo­cation, shared be­tween 12 church-based univers­ities and university col­leges, represents almost one quarter of the total allo­cation to higher-education institu­tions in England.

The 12 are: Bishop Grosseteste, Lincoln, with an allocation of 59 new places; Canterbury Christ Church (382); Chester (279); Chichester (154); Cumbria (160); Gloucester­shire (382); Leeds Trinity (73); St Mark and St John, Plymouth (70); Roehampton (147); St Mary’s, Twick­en­ham (129); Winchester (176); and York St John (235). Extra places were given only to those institutions prepared to reduce their fees to a maximum of £7500 after bursaries and fee waivers are taken into account. Liverpool Hope University and Newman University College, Bir­mingham, did not bid for marginal places, it is understood.

The extra places are important for smaller higher-education institutions — such as those in the Cathedral Group — which are dispropor­tionately affected by cuts in numbers, said Professor Joy Carter, vice-chancellor of the University of Win­chester, who chairs the Group. The marginal allocation of about 20,000 places was promised last autumn when higher-education institutions were told there would no limit on the recruitment of applicants with the highest A-level results of AAB or above, most of whom aim for places in the Russell Group univer­sities.

At the same time, the pool of mar­ginal places was formed by cutting num­bers on courses with lower entry qualifications, most coming from institutions, including those in the Cathedral Group, which have gained university or university-college title since 2000. These institu­tions now face a further risk from HEFC’s decision to give more than half the total 19,997 allocation of marginal places to cheaper degree courses in the further-education sector. It will not become clear until the autumn how many of the extra places will be taken up.

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