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Global University Systems to restructure

Amid Tier 4 licence suspension discussions, Global University Systems has announced an organisational restructuring. The owner of the London School of Business and Finance, St Patrick’s College and the University of Law, will place its entities into two qualifications divisions: vocational and academic.

LSBF's Tower Hill campus in London.

"The changes will take pace over time so students in their current environments will continue to be taught out in the current environment"

Under the plan, LSBF will come under a new vocational entity offering only diploma courses, short courses and corporate training products. Vocational courses currently delivered by St Patrick’s College and its Birmingham-based partner FBT will also come under this division.

The University of Law, acquired by GUS in June, will in the future be the sole provider of academic qualifications and professional qualifications of the group including master’s degrees currently offered by LSBF.

“We have a position with respect to some data…and our position is that we are in line with standards”

The group’s ELT provider, the Language Gallery, will not be affected by the restructuring.

LSBF, one of the UK’s largest private education providers and the third biggest private recipient of public funding, had its licence to recruit non-European international students suspended this month for the second time in a little over a year.

Speaking with The PIE News, John Cox, director of organisational development at GUS, said discussions around the suspension are ongoing. “There are differences in terms of reporting in two areas and that is being discussed,” he said.  “We have a position with respect to some data…and our position is that we are in line with standards.”

According to the Home Office, if the suspension becomes permanent, it could affect all institutions in the GUS group, including the University of Law.

However Cox underlined that current licence distinctions remain in place. “They’re absolutely distinct, the University of Law has its own licence, the other institutions have their licences so one would not affect the other,” he said.

“The case at present is that each institution has their individual licences and as of today that’s how we are being managed.”

The move to restructure follows recommendations from a strategic options review (SOR) that was carried out by external advisors after the group’s acquisition of the University of Law.

“The decision to have a strategic options review took place at the time of the acquisition,” said Cox.

“The recommendations came out recently, they were discussed internally, they were adopted by boards, the recommendations were discussed with the regulators and this is the result.”

Cox said implementation of the restructure is set to begin in six months and completed within two years.

“The changes will take place over time so students in their current environments will continue to be taught out in the current environment,” he said. “At a certain point there will be a new offering and new students will be recruited under the new structure.”

“The decision to have a strategic options review took place at the time of the University of Law acquisition”

The SOR review panel was headed by John Latham, recently CEO of the University of Law and included Sir Tim Wilson, formerly vice-chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, who also served on the Board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England; Paul Mitchell, former deputy chair of the national Academic Registrars Council; and Lee Bartlett, manager at Fragomen LLP.

In a statement, John Latham, chair of the SOR panel said: “The SOR delivered a tough message for GUS and whilst it identified some areas of good practice, it also made clear proposals for improvement across the five, key focus areas.

“The review team felt that the GUS UK institutions engaged positively with the review process, and it is pleasing that GUS has accepted our recommendations, without reservation.”

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