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University of Portsmouth London to open

The University of Portsmouth is establishing a presence in London with a brand new campus, set to welcome its first students early next year.

A launch event for the campus was held in Waltham Forest town hall on Friday 15 September. Photo: University of Portsmouth

The university's new campus is located in Waltham Forest

The university’s partnership with global property investment and development group Northchild Group will see the university campus set up in Waltham Forest. Until now it has been the only north east London borough without a higher education institute.

The campus will initially be located within two floors of an existing building but plans are being developed for a complete new single site campus, able to accommodate up to 7,000 students.

The partners are working with Waltham Forest Council to launch the campus which will welcome the first cohort of around 100 international postgraduate students in February 2024, followed by undergraduate students in September 2024.

The university is set to recruit equal numbers of international and domestic students. In March 2023, an admissions and recruitment centre was opened in Walthamstow Library as part of its preparations for welcoming the first students to Waltham Forest.

In addition to undergraduate and postgraduate courses, University of Portsmouth London said it will extend its initial offering to provide work-based learning opportunities in the form of apprenticeships and flexible ways to study, designed with the skills and needs of local people and businesses in mind.

Graham Galbraith, vice-chancellor, University of Portsmouth told The PIE of the importance of “civic connectivity” throughout the project.

“I think the mistake that can easily be made is for a university in some part of the country to parachute itself into a community almost uninvited,” said Galbraith.

“We wanted to go somewhere where we could build up a relationship with the local community”

Instead, the university has linked with the council to build its aspirations for the area into the campus programs and studies.

Discussions have been had with local colleges, particularly around what students on further education programs are studying and how the launch of the new campus can work to complement that.

According to the university, it’s estimated that the new campus will boost the borough’s economy by up to £372 million over the next 20 years, with benefits to local supply chains, research opportunities for local businesses, the creation of over 500 new local jobs and more.

“We wanted somewhere where there wasn’t that higher education presence and where around that there wasn’t a university like us – in ranking and positioning in the league tables,” said Galbraith.

“We wanted to go somewhere where we could build up a relationship with the local community. That was really, really important to me,” said Galbraith.

“There’s a growing increase in academic performance overall in London and I think having a local university here is going to help with that.”

Grace Williams, leader of Waltham Forest Council said the launch of the campus is an “exciting time” for the borough and community.

“The University of Portsmouth is one of the top modern universities in the country and will offer our residents a world-class education right on our doorstep, whatever their age or background,” she added.

Williams hopes one group of people who will benefit from the partnership is care leavers and added that the university has committed to a bursary, which will support care experienced individuals from Waltham Forest.

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