Prof John Last, principal at NUCA

It’s official – Norwich to get second university

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
3.24 PM

Norwich’s second university is just a few weeks away after ministers today gave the plans the official green light.

Norwich’s second university is just a few weeks away after ministers today gave the plans the official green light.

The government has announced that ten specialist colleges are set to become universities under the biggest expansion of higher education for 20 years.

One of these will be the Norwich University College of the Arts (NUCA).

Universities Minister David Willetts will now recommend to the Privy Council that the institutions have met the criteria to be awarded the title of university meaning the change should go through within six weeks.

The move is the biggest creation of universities since 1992, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said.

It comes after the government lowered the threshold on student numbers needed for an institution to apply for the title.

NUCA had previously been unable to call itself a university because it did not have the 4,000 students needed to qualify.

The university college has been facing increasing demand on places at its Norwich city centre campus but, because of government-imposed restrictions on growth, it had not been able to admit more students.

The new university title will not change that situation and will not impact on the running of the site.

But it is hoped it will clear up confusion over what a “university college” really is and ensure Nuca gets the recognition it deserves as a high-quality specialist education provider.

Nuca principal John Last said: “Well-established institutions like us, with a long history and international reputation for outstanding quality and excellence, deserve to be recognised alongside larger universities in the sector. This is a very positive move which will simplify our message to prospective students while retaining our links to our proud heritage.”

Mr Willetts, who was originally expected to make the announcement tomorrow, said: “These well-known and highly-regarded university colleges represent over 1,200 years of history between them. It is right to remove the barriers preventing high-quality higher education providers like these calling themselves universities simply because of their size.

“I am delighted that they have taken up the opportunity offered by our reforms. This will lead to the biggest creation of universities since 1992 and will enable more people to realise their aspiration of going to a university.”

The institutions being put forward to the Privy Council for approval are: The Arts University College at Bournemouth, Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln, Harper Adams University College, Leeds Trinity University College, Newman University College, Birmingham, Norwich University College of the Arts, Royal Agricultural College, University College Birmingham, University College Falmouth and University College Plymouth St Mark & St John.

Norwich’s other university is the University of East Anglia.

See tomorrow’s paper for more.