A university course in Shrewsbury which faced the axe has been saved following a high-profile campaign by its students.
The Biological Recording and Species Identification course based at The Gateway, Chester Street, is Shrewsbury’s only remaining university course and has been running since the 1960s.
But its future came under threat after the University of Birmingham announced that no more students would be accepted for this academic year. The decision affected about 90 students and 30 visiting lecturers on the post graduate certificate and masters programmes at The Gateway. Meanwhile, redundancy notices were served to its three full-time members of staff.
Following the announcement, students launched a campaign to save the course – which is the only one of its kind in the UK.
Biological recording is the accurate identification and documenting of biodiversity. The move to axe the course provoked outcry among conservation bodies including the National Trust, the Wildlife Trust and the Botanical Society of the British Isles, and more than 300 people signed a petition calling for it to be saved.
Today it was revealed that Manchester Metropolitan University has taken over the administration of the course, which will now continue in Shrewsbury from September, securing all jobs. Student Mark Duffell, an alumnus of the course who led the campaign to save it, said: “It is fantastic that we have managed to change the decision.
“The pressure of this public awareness campaign made the University of Birmingham acknowledge that there was a real need for these courses and that they should look to another institution to transfer the programmes in their entirety. Manchester Metropolitan University is to be congratulated on its forward thinking.”