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A University for Herefordshire - Hereford Journal / Hereford Times page    Home page

25 May 2014

A hidden set of pages sent to Herefordshire Council on 14 April 2014.  Hidden until content agreed via email/phone.  As there was no reply (No. 6 here)), the pages are now opened.

Hereford  Journal =  H J              Times = H T  

Panel 1 - Asset bid

Panel 2 - Vision

Panel 3  - Reckless spending

Panel 3 - A huge folly

Panel  4 - the HT website

Panel 5 -  'Education, education, education

Panel 6 - New university to sow the seeds 


 Panel 1 - Asset bid

University in bid for assets

H T 6 March, p5  

By Bill Tanner Twitter ®HTnewsroom

THE campus for the county's proposed university could be spread across former Herefordshire Council sites.

A groundbreaking motion before the full council tomorrow steers the council towards talks on transferring existing offices and other estate to the university project.

Karen Usher, university project leader, said she was confident of cross-party support for the motion.

That support reinforced the principle of the council entering into talks with the project over sites and estate that could be transferred for campus development or made available at "peppercorn" rent, she said.

The motion is proposed by Councillor Andrew Atkinson and is seconded by Councillor Nick Nenadich.

In full, the motion reads: "A Herefordshire University would bring a wide range of benefits to the county, including supporting economic growth through the development,locally of relevant higher level skills; encouraging younger people to study and work in the county; and contributing to the vibrancy of the county.

"This council welcomes the developing proposals to establish a university in Hereford, and the wide support being generated for the proposals. This council requests the executive to identify the most appropriate way in which the council can assist in securing the future of higher education in the county"

Coun Atkinson said that tomorrow's motion was not intended to be binding at this stage.

He  added:   "I  personally would like to see asset transfers happen to make this project viable. If agreed tomorrow then asset transfers can be decided after debate at cabinet when more specific information has been gathered.

"Agreement in principle at this stage is what I think we need from councillors."

Council chief executive Alistair Neill has previously said the university is "potentially transformational" for the county in committing the council to doing "everything that it reasonably can do" in assisting.

Last August the Hereford Times revealed plans to provide the county with a university linked to some of the world's leading academic institutions by 2016.

As proposed, the university would specialise in online courses. A task group is already looking into likely campus locations in Hereford, Leominster, Ledbury and Ross-on-Wye.

  Panel 2  - Vision

opinion H T 6 March, Editorial p25  

University vision is one worth pursuing

IF anything can be salvaged from the "scaling down" of Herefordshire Council and its lofty ambitions over the years then it is the proposed university.

Tomorrow's asset transfer motion to full council, then, is about legacy.

We've been let down bids before. But have no illusions - this time it's for real.

Cross party support - without equivocation - is the least the motion deserves. 

A university fit for 21 st century learning is a project that should have been a priority for funding and initiative from the off.   Instead, we got a shopping centre.

Be clear. Tomorrow's motion is not about commitment. The motion sets out the principle by which commitments could be made.

And, on a purely political level, the motion offers the council a chance to restore a little credibility.

If you want to know why the restoration of that credibility matters, read the letter* on these pages from Councillor Charles Nicholl. 

Strip away the partisan point-scoring and the letter reinforces exactly the stance we have taken for some time on reporting the state of this council. 

"We'll be having to sell the cupboard - and it's not ours to sell" is a phrase that should resonate across the chamber. 

So, when that motion outlining the potential for transferring assets to the university project is up for debate, let the debate be about what the county can salvage from the "wreckage" of recent years and not clinging on to what little is left in the hope of buying little more than time.

the letter is below - left - Reckless spending - Panel 3

  Panel 3  - Reckless spending

Reckless spending  H T Letter pages - p34 6 March,

RECENTLY I stood up in council and tried to prick the conscience of those in influence in this Tory administration, but as usual it fell upon deaf ears. This cabinet system is simply not serving the peo­ple of Herefordshire, and a handful of members, just six out of 58 elected members, make all the deci­sions, usually in private session and then from their confidence of invincibility command the rest of their group to follow their lead. Below is part of my speech:

"We are told over and over again that all councils are in the same boat. That simply is not true. Quite apart from the waste and loss already identified, the general reserves have been plundered over the past two administrations.   This raid on the reserves has been necessary to balance failings in previous budgets and to bolster unpopular and ill-advised vanity projects. Colleagues, of all persua­sions, this is not just oppo­sition rhetoric; speak to any number of ordinary people and you will discover there is huge disquiet about how council spends its money.

Don't say we didn't warn you about this last year, and the year before, when It's Our County voted against budget proposals which we knew were unachievable and hence damaging to those reserves.  Now, general reserves struggle even on paper to meet the legal minimum requirement of 3% of our revenue - even as that revenue continues to decline. Look no further than across the boundary to Worcestershire. There, a local authority with a population four times larger than ours, has reserves 40 times larger.

Yes, we came off worse out of the split of Hereford and Worcester, but since then what have we done to make the most of what we were allocated in 1998? You will remember the parable of the 'talents', those biblical bags of money: we haven't grown our talent as the wise recipients did, we haven't even buried it as the foolish one did - we've just squandered ours to keep going, I am reminded that for a decade or more we were constantly warned that unwise and prolific over-spending on our credit cards and loans would bring about personal disaster and that we would have to account for it. We now see the consequences of that warning.

The awful thing about this present dilemma, and the very thing that causes me so much anxiety, is that there is no real accounta­bility for those who are reckless with spending public money.

This time last year we said "the cupboard is bare".

This year, we'll be having to sell the cupboard.

And colleagues, it's not our cupboard to sell."


Member, Three Elms Ward


 Panel 3 - A huge folly

 Letter page H J 9 April p 7

University would be a huge folly

'TO my dismay, I see there is a move afoot to add to the motley collection of  universities in this country by siting another in our own embattled county of Hereford. (Shire is Saxon for 'county' and should never have been put on recently replaced road signs.)

Can no-one see that the reason the UK is still over a trillion pounds in debt and in almost perpetual decline is primarily attributable to the fact that we are not producing things anymore? 

I am convinced that only a third of the young people who attend university should do so and that Tony Blair's discredited mantra 'Education, Education, Education' has been a recipe for failure, resulting in a whole generation being conned into thinking that the only way to achieve success in life is to attend 'uni'.

This is a 21st century holy cow inflicted upon them by insidious and subtle indoctrination from the time they enter school to the time they leave college, mainly to satisfy the Government's imposed targets and to encase them in debt - leaving them little time to rebel or question the system.

What we really need are more 'doers' and less frustrated academics, a lot of whom go on to jobs which have nothing to do with the degree they have obtained.

And finally, to cast an eye on our often lamentable and misguided council! Why are they even contemplating a seminary for higher tertiary education when we are told that they scarcely have the resources to keep the public libraries or toilets open? 

If there. is money to spare for such a doubtful undertaking as a local university, why are they making savage cuts in almost every other direction, and can they please get their priorities right before committing themselves to another futile and money-squandering exercise.


St Martin's Street



Tony Blair's discredited mantra 'Education, Education, Education' is here and in Panel 5.

Panel  4 - the HT website

From the Hereford Times website

Herefordshire companies set to benefit from new university's first crop of highly skilled employees here

Foreign student numbers dropping.  The report includes "The University and College Union warned that international students are choosing to go to a countries "that make an effort to welcome them". Let's make sure our new university welcomes them!

more here

Herefordshire Council sites could be a university campus here


Herefordshire Council backs university asset transfer motion here. 7 March 2014

Herefordshire University project takes centre stage at Hay Festival  here.

Other links

Masters Degree in Sustainable Development Advocacy here


Panel 5 - 'Education, . . . . 

'Education, education, education' - 2007

"Education, education, education" was how Tony Blair set out his priorities for office - as Labour campaigned to put classrooms at the top of the political agenda.

So how much has his 10 years in office achieved for schools, colleges and universities in England? Devolution is another part of the legacy, so this has been about England rather than the rest of the UK.  more

'Education, education, education' (e e e)

Put e e e  plus Blair into Google News and the results include:


Schools should do more to ensure teenagers are not "grunting and monosyllabic" so they can succeed in life, a former aide to Tony Blair says.  more 


Put e e e  plus 2014 UK  and the results include:

Most students will still be paying back loans from their university days in their 40s and 50s, and many will never clear the debt, research finds. more 

Britain slides further down the international academic league tables.  more

Panel 6 - New university to sow the seeds 

New university to sow the seeds for tomorrow's skilled workers 

H T 10 April 2014 p 45

COUNTY companies could be the first to benefit from courses offered by the proposed University of Hereford.

Project leader Karen Usher outlines how it will work with and for those companies.

Manufacturing in 2050, according to the Government Office for Science, will look very different from today and will be virtually unrecognisable from that of 30 years ago.

Successful firms will be capable of adapting their physical and intellectual infrastructures to exploit changes as manufacturing becomes faster, more personalised and more responsive to changing global markets.

Successful companies will also harness a wider interdisciplinary social and science skills base with highly qualified employees and managers whose expertise combines both commercial and technical acumen, typically in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

The new university will open its doors in 2017 with some specialist courses planned for as soon as autumn 2015. It is being designed to help Herefordshire's engineering and technical businesses meet those challenges, and will be focused on applied engineering, applied science, and the technologies of sustainability.

It plans to prepare work-ready, high performers for Herefordshire and for global markets. The university is being designed to supply graduates skilled in applying modern science and engineering knowledge.

The core focus will be business sectors vital to Herefordshire's economy notably defence and security, agri science, food science, specialist technical design, advanced manufacturing and green technologies.

As a liberal sciences university, the intent is to deliver future employees and managers with an entrepreneurial flair for business; a toolkit of innovative interdisciplinary problem solving skills; a profound understanding of how humans behave and an ability to communicate across cultures.

First year students will follow a general sciences course and be introduced to the tools and methodologies from a wide range of science and engineering disciplines.

All students, from the first year onwards, will be required to solve' real-world problems provided by the university's local and national business partners. This approach will mean students will have a high volume of contact time with tutors because much of the teaching will be "experiential". 

Front and centre to this will be the employability and work readiness of the graduates. This will be achieved by a mandatory cross-curriculum in human interaction that platforms each student with a fundamental understanding of the social and ethical context of their core studies; critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, entrepreneurship and analytical skills; the ability to communicate persuasively at all levels, across all cultures and work readiness skills that support rapid productivity.

In addition all students will be required to complete a minimum six-month work placement integrated into their learning programme.

It will primarily be a teaching,, university and will reward the faculty for quality teaching rather than research, creating a culture where lateral thinking and innovation is rewarded and applauded and where collaboration rather than competition is celebrated. Our success will be measured by the number of employers which return, year on year, to recruit our graduates, and notwithstanding the primacy of teaching, applied research will be essential to the operation.


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