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Strategic Alliance

An Education Revolution

The Strategic Alliance is a partnership for higher education (HE) between the University of Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) and Gloucestershire College.

The Strategic Alliance for HE was formed in February 2012 and celebrated its first anniversary in 2013 with the signing of a ten year Memorandum of Understanding. The Memorandum formalises the collaboration and commits the organisations to working together on a range of activities over the next decade.

By working together to develop stronger links between further and higher education in Gloucestershire and the West of England, the initiative aims to raise the quality, range and accessibility of HE in the county and beyond.

With more than 40,000 students in total between the three organisations, the move will see students being able to study closer to home and take advantage of clearer progression routes from further to higher education.

The collaboration will see a range of new courses available to students in Gloucestershire. New HE courses available at Gloucestershire College from September 2013 include Foundation Degrees in Uniformed Public Services to Health and Complementary Therapies. New HE courses available at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College from September 2013 include two year Fast Track degrees in Sports Coaching and Business Management as well as a range of Foundation Degrees.

On signing the Memorandum, Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, said: “We are proud to be the University of, and for, Gloucestershire, serving all the communities who live and work here. We can do that better by working with our partner Colleges. This is a long term commitment. We have made a good start, agreeing to collaborate in providing new courses from Autumn this year, and working together on student recruitment. And over the years to come, we have a shared objective to keep developing, through our alliance, a wider range of courses, offered in more locations, and available to more people.”

Strategic Alliance

Signing the Memorandum of Understanding at the University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls Campus on February 7, 2013. Left to right, Kevin Hamblin, Principal of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, Dr Greg Smith, Principal, Gloucestershire College

Kevin Hamblin, Principal of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College said: “The HE offer is changing nationally, with some school and college leavers looking for a cost-effective college-based degree programme. From September, SGS will be offering some University of Gloucestershire degrees, of two years' duration rather than three, at a fee level lower than most universities, in the specialist areas of Art, Media, Performing Arts, Sport and Integrated Wildlife and Conservation. This initiative is about providing students at the University of Gloucestershire with a choice of location, academic environment, duration of study and fee level without compromising on the academic rigour of a university-based programme."

Greg Smith, Principal of Gloucestershire College added: “The partnership between the two major Gloucestershire further education colleges and the University of Gloucestershire is of huge significance to the future success of the Gloucestershire economy. This partnership provides the opportunity to develop the seamless provision of further and higher education throughout Gloucestershire which will meet the needs of both individuals and businesses. Our new Foundation Degrees in Uniformed Public Services and Health and Complementary Therapies are just two examples of new HE options that will be available to collectively meet the skills needs of our county.”

See photos from the signing event on Flickr