The future of Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning

As you will be aware we are currently in a period of consultation with staff and trade unions about the future of the Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning as an academic department.

This proposal is not a decision that we have taken lightly. We remain committed to the provision of lifelong learning where it is sustainable and meets the aims of our strategic plan. The reason for this consultation is that the VCLL has required an unsustainable level of subsidy for a number of years due to the high cost of running the courses, the relatively low numbers of students taking them, and the relatively low fees.

Lifelong learning at the University of Leicester

This does not mean that we are neglecting our commitment to lifelong learning and widening participation. In fact we are continually looking at ways in which we can bring people into higher education who may not have had the opportunity before. We have already begun speaking to other relevant local organisations about whether they might be able to offer some of the courses we are losing.

Within the wider University we have more than 100 distance learning courses which provide an excellent opportunity for people to study around their other commitments; we have a number of free online courses which can give people a taste of our programmes in an easy and accessible way; and we continue to run a number of part-time and professional development courses across our disciplines.

Widening participation

We see more than 20,000 young people from a variety of backgrounds visit the University every year in order to sample higher education. Many of these people are the first generation in their family to attend university, and in a recent review by the QAA our commitment to widening participation and student inclusivity exceeded their expectations and was held as an example of good practice.

You can see more specific details on adult education, widening participation and lifelong learning at the University of Leicester on this page.

Our commitment to the wellbeing of the city of Leicester and improving economic, social and cultural wellbeing goes way beyond the provision of teaching and touches upon the social good of our ongoing work. We manage a series of projects that have a direct impact on our local population.  For example, we provide access to culture and heritage through arts institutions such as our Attenborough Arts Centre, our students have been involved in a project to provide educational opportunities for rough sleepers and the culture and heritage work of our Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement unit has a major impact on the city and beyond.

The University has a huge economic impact locally, estimated at around three quarters of a billion pounds per year, an impact that has a direct effect on the life chances of people across the city.

The next steps

All students within the VCLL will be fully supported to complete their current courses and if the consultation ends with a recommendation of closure these students will be taught by a transitional teaching team, with an expected end date of 2020.

It is important to note that the proposal, which is for the closure of the centre once all current students have completed their courses, is subject to full consultation with staff within the centre and the trade unions. We will also be taking representation from interested stakeholders. If you wish to make your thoughts known please email askus@le.ac.uk and we will take your views into consideration.

A final decision will be made by the University Council on Friday 16 September and we will update this page once it has been reached and staff informed.

Further information for staff affected by the consultation is available on this webpage (log-in only) along with answers to questions which colleagues have posed.

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