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Learning disability nursing students ‘devastated’ at lecturer’s redundancy

Bangor University blames budget cuts on dwindling applications and ‘challenging’ finances

Bangor University blames budget cuts on dwindling applications and ‘challenging’ finances


The petition page set up by nursing student Lucy Spencer.

A university has confirmed it will be making one of its learning disability nursing lecturers redundant.

RCN Wales said it was 'bitterly disappointed' by the decision by Bangor University, warning it will have a devastating effect on students and patient care in north Wales. 

Cuts in the school of health

Bangor had said it needed to cut £775,000 from the School of Health Sciences budget by 2022 as part of a wider exercise. It said the learning disability nursing course had not been recruiting sufficient numbers in recent years.

The decision means the learning disability team will be cut from 2.5 full-time-equivalent lecturers to two. The university says this would maintain the agreed minimum staff-to-student ratio of 1:17 across all nursing courses. 

‘Unfortunately, learning disability nursing has not been recruiting sufficient students to meet its targets over recent years’

Bangor University spokesperson

Almost 900 people recently signed a petition organised by first-year learning disability nursing student Lucy Spencer in protest.

Ms Spencer said she and fellow students were 'absolutely devastated' by the news. 

She said: 'There were 900 signatures on the petition and many letters of concern were sent to the university about the proposals. We are still waiting to find out how the changes will be made and what the future will look like.'

Challenges facing UK universities

A Bangor University spokesperson said: 'In response to the challenging financial landscape facing the higher education sector in the UK, we have concluded a period of consultation with staff and students regarding a number of options which will enable the university to meet its financial targets.

'Unfortunately, learning disability nursing has not been recruiting sufficient students to meet its targets over recent years, and the university has decided to reduce the staffing level by half a post.'

‘Bangor University has an excellent learning disability team and reducing this will only produce negative consequences’

Helen Whyley, director, RCN Wales

The number of places commissioned for learning disability nursing degree programmes at Bangor was 20 for 2019-20.

A disincentive to potential applicants

RCN Wales director Helen Whyley urged the university to reconsider. She said: 'How will Bangor University be able to encourage learning disability nursing students to apply for places, without enough learning disability nurse lecturers providing the proper level of academic support?

'It takes a significant amount of time to produce a lecturer who can undertake world-class research and also educate nursing students. 

'Bangor University has an excellent learning disability team and reducing this will only produce negative consequences for the learning disability nursing workforce. 

'This will also affect the communities of north Wales, who will suffer for many years to come.'


Further information

See the petition


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