Alternative education

In August last year, I suggested an alternative to building a new university in Swindon.

What I could see happening, and would favour, is one of the colleges in Swindon expanding the undergraduate courses which it offers until, after many years, it is in a position to claim university status and offer its own degrees rather than those of other universities. I think that would also have the benefit of producing something more vocational appropriate for the sort of town Swindon is… focused on the town’s industrial base, rather than a more traditional, academic university that we might end up with as a branch of some other town’s university. That model is the one by which most current universities were created (from college, to university college or polytechnic, then to independent university), but is one that takes many decades.

Mr Buckland said he was ‘taken with’ the suggestion. Mr Tomlinson seemed supportive too. Now that the money has vanished for the University of the West England’s Swindon plans — if it was ever really there — it seems that Swindon Borough Council might be coming round to my and others’ way of thinking, albeit reluctantly. Whilst Mr Young still expresses aspirations for a new university, that he is prepared to explore more homegrown alternatives is a welcome departure from the legacy-project fixation of the current council administration.

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