Students left in lurch as articulation is dropped

4th May 2012 at 01:00
Cardonald fashion and textiles cohort left with nowhere to go as Heriot-Watt link is broken

A group of college students in fashion and textiles has been left high and dry after a long-established link with Heriot-Watt University's degree course was abruptly severed.

Around 14 HND Cardonald College students will now have to rely on their college being able to deliver emergency provision after the "articulation" route that would have allowed them to enter university midway through the degree course was axed.

Susan Walsh, Cardonald's principal, said her students were left with nowhere to go after Heriot-Watt University said it was not offering places in the second and third years of its fashion degree to Cardonald students in the next academic year.

"We have this cohort of really talented fashion students who are basically bereft," she said. A number of students at Edinburgh's Telford College and North Glasgow College may also have been affected.

Mrs Walsh said the college had been working closely with the university for over a decade to align its HND fashion courses with the demands of the university's degrees. She only discovered a few weeks ago "out of the blue" that her students would not receive places in second or third year - students can choose which stage to apply for - when her staff received letters to this effect from Heriot-Watt. By that time, students had already completed their university applications, on the assumption that articulation would be possible.

The college is now working with the University of the West of Scotland to provide a third-year degree course in its name on the Cardonald campus. As TESS went to press, the college was still waiting to hear from the Scottish Funding Council whether funding could be secured for this option.

A spokeswoman for Heriot-Watt said the university had "a wide range of articulation agreements with colleges, all of which are dependent on places and resources available".

She added: "Due to the high number of students who, having entered the fashion design course at first-year level, are now continuing to progress through the course, there are no second- or third-year entry places available."

This week, it emerged that Heriot-Watt was planning to cut 25 per cent of its staff - 10 full-time equivalent posts - in the School of Textiles at its Galashiels campus. The spokeswoman insisted there was no connection between the cuts and the lack of places for HND students.

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