Wednesday, 25 November 2009

An Update: Humanities Relaunched

During the summer, and the autumn term, all the humanities tutors were made redundant. Two co-ordinating lecturers have had to move on. Dr Ian Spring has taken early retirement. Dr Dave Wyatt has been redeployed to the History Department, though continues to be involved in community engagement work. Pat Clark and Dr Nick Jones are sharing the single co-ordinating lectureship in Humanities.

The University Council eventually agreed that up to fifty Humanities courses could be re-launched, as part of a trial programme, to start in January 2010.

It was stressed that these courses must be financially viable, and form part of an academically coherent programme. Centre staff devised a programme of over 40 suitable courses, and set about recruiting tutors.

We’ve now advertised; interviewed many well-qualified people - some of whom were familiar faces - and set up a new programme of courses which, we hope, will be successful. There will actually be about 36 courses starting in either January or after Easter, and more may be added if there is a demand for follow-on courses.

The new programme will include: Creative Writing, Music, Art and Architecture, History, and a small Philosophy element.

A new “Choices” course brochure is coming out in December, and will include our new Humanities programme. It will also be on the Centre website here.

Do take a look, and sign up for a course.

Monday, 10 August 2009

A Statement from the campaign

At the Welsh Assembly, the Clerk to the Petitions Committee has ruled that our
petition is admissible and will be referred to the Committee for consideration. He will be in touch shortly to confirm when our petition will receive initial consideration. We are allowed to add further information, so have added the following statement:

On 27th July Cardiff University Council decided to continue with the redundancies in LEARN. Contrary to recent publicity, the university has now cut all its humanities provision within the department. They say they will provide some 40 – 50 unspecified humanities courses in the New Year, but this is only on a trial basis. This approach offers no real commitment towards or strategic vision for the provision of adult education courses across a broad range of subjects and denies thousands of students across south-east Wales access to the life-changing opportunity higher education should be.

Humanities tutors who had planned and prepared courses due to start this September have now been dismissed and further redundancies are to be announced in October, when the number of co-ordinating lecturers in Humanities and Welsh is to be cut from 4 to 1. The effect of these cuts on technical and support staff at the Centre is yet to be determined.

Cardiff University Council went ahead with this decision despite massive pressure from the Assembly, and a clear public concern over the provision of education rather than profits. It is also important to remember that these redundancies were created because a number of hourly paid tutors sought their statutory rights and equality. Sadly hundreds of them have now been dismissed for this.

The Campaign to Save Lifelong Learning regrets the fact that the university has chosen to ignore its recommendations and those of so many Assembly Members who called on it to "suspend their plans for twelve months and to fully engage with trade unions and staff to agree a managed process of change over a reasonable timespan to protect the maximum number of jobs and courses and mitigate adverse effects of any cuts."

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Welsh Assembly Statement of Opinion

It is clear that the university is not bothered by the fact that many Assembly Members have called on it to
"suspend their plans for twelve months and to fully engage with trade unions and staff to agree a managed process of change over a reasonable timespan to protect the maximum number of jobs and courses and mitigate adverse effects of any cuts."

The Statement of Oopinion can be read here.

South Wales Echo

The South Wales Echo has the story here.

BBC News

The story is covered on the BBC news website here.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Meeting on Thursday at Noon. Party on Thursday Evening.

The Cardiff branch of the lecturer's union, UCU, has called a meeting for any lecturer or tutor who risks losing their job as a result of the University Council's decision. You do not have to be a union member in order to attend. UCU officials will go through the options available and answer questions.

Meeting Details Thursday 30 July, Noon in the Humanities Building Committee Room (1.31).

All our part-time tutors have now received dismissal notices. Some of them have given decades of service to our students.

Also, on Thursday evening we have the Campaign Party. It's your chance to come and have a drink or a meal in a cheerful West-Indian ambience with real rocking chairs. All our supporters are very welcome. We shall deplore the short-sightedness of the university authorities and have a good time.

When: 6.30pm, Thursday 30th July
Where: The Rockin' Chair, 62-64 Lower Cathedral Rd, Cardiff, CF11 6LT
How much: West Indian Curries will be available for £6.50.

The Result: The Struggle Continues!

The University Council have released the following statement. As we feared, they have followed the recommendation of the Scrutiny Group and advocate saving a mere 50 out of our 250 Humanities and Welsh Courses. Moreover, there won't be another Humanities or Welsh course until at least January 2010.
We are disappointed. But the fight goes on!

The University Statement:

Cardiff University statement: Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning

Cardiff University’s governing body, the Council, has tonight accepted proposals designed to secure the long-term viability of the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

The Centre will continue to run its popular courses in science, the environment, computer studies, social studies including business and in foreign languages. It will also provide a new programme of humanities courses focused on key subject areas. Over the next few months a programme of approximately fifty humanities courses, due to commence early in 2010 will be designed and marketed to the public.

While this programme will involve a reduction in courses and staffing at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, the University believes it is the best option to preserve a structured approach to CHOICES, the Centre’s programme of courses for the public. It will retain the humanities as a key component of the University’s outreach activities with the wider community. The Council has asked for a new programme to be brought forward offering a structured approach to academic development which can be co-ordinated with undergraduate and postgraduate provision elsewhere in the University.

The Council believes that the original business case submitted on 18 May in which all humanities courses ceased remains the most financially viable of all the options considered for the Centre for Lifelong Learning. However, it also recognises the considerable interest and passion expressed by staff, students and the public in lifelong learning humanities provision. It therefore accepts the recommendation that some initial financial risk be underwritten in order to produce a new academic programme that can be made sustainable in the long term. The new humanities programme will be run on a trial basis, with a view to establishing its long-term viability. There will also be a review of course fees, to bring them into line with similar courses offered by other providers in South Wales.

The University is grateful for the contribution made to the consultation process by the staff unions and the campaign set up on behalf of the humanities courses. All parties have acknowledged that the present situation facing the CHOICES programme in the Centre is not sustainable and action is needed to ensure its survival. The Council is grateful to University officers and to staff within the Centre for the work undertaken to examine alternative options. Council was also grateful to the Campaign Group for its carefully considered contributions and recognised that many of the longer term proposals made by the group have considerable merit and have been included in the programme of action.

The decision will affect the amount of employment available for tutors at the Centre from September 2009. Precise numbers have yet to be confirmed, but this is likely to affect just over 100 tutors, the large majority of whom teach less than 50 hours a year at the Centre. However, additional new teaching roles should become available with the new programme in 2010. Staff and their representatives will continue to be consulted about the impact on employment in the short and long term. Considerable efforts are also ongoing to redeploy staff with the introduction of a new procedure to match the skills of Centre staff with vacancies elsewhere within the University on a priority basis.

The University hopes that all parties will now recognise that united action is the best way to secure the future of the Centre, at a time when lifelong learning provision is coming under pressure across the UK. The University looks forward to the campaign and the unions supporting and promoting the full range of provision offered by the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

Professor Terry Threadgold, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Staff said: “We would like to thank all the staff, students and members of the public who have contributed to the University’s consultation on the Centre for Lifelong Learning. The University’s decision has recognised the strong commitment to maintaining the Centre’s humanities teaching as far as is possible. I hope we can now count on everyone who has contributed to help us move forward and ensure that humanities provision at the Centre is well supported and has a successful long term future.”


For further information please contact:

Stephen Rouse,
Public Relations Office,
Cardiff University.
029 2087 5596
Mobile: 07976 513386

The Demo

We had a good turnout for the demonstration. And it didn't rain!

There was a message of support from Leanne Wood A.M.
Jenny Randerson A.M. travelled from an engagement in Manchester to speak and show her support. And Jenny Willott M.P. also attended and spoke in support of our campaign.

Several campaigners thanked our students, our colleagues and our A.M.s for all their support during the last hundred days. Whatever the outcome, we know that what we are doing is worthwhile. If the university Council fails to see reason then we won't stop until we've changed their minds!

Patricia Clark gave an interview to BBC Radio Wales's Good Evening Wales programme.
You can listen again here until 3 August. (It's 35 minutes into the recording.)
Meanwhile, other campaigners were being interviewed by ITN Wales and Radio Cymru.

Friday, 24 July 2009


The Scrutiny Group has finished its report to the University Council, which meets on Monday 27 July. Its recommendations are not due to go public until after the Council meeting. However, several members of Senate have confirmed that the Scrutiny Group recommends saving 40 – 50 humanities courses, to be chosen partly on financial viability and partly because of some academic rationale (which is not spelled out). This is to be on a “time-limited trial basis initially, before a longer-term decision is made.”

IF the University Council accepts the recommendation, then about 20% of the Humanities courses will be saved and 80% will be lost. This is bad news for our students, and particularly bad news for those pursuing named foundation certificates. Also there is no guarantee that the courses will continue after 2010.


1. It is apparently impossible for the centre to be able to organise the selection of the 40 – 50 saved courses in time for a September start. It will probably be January 2010 before the next Humanities course runs. It could be even later.

2. All tutors’ contracts will end on 31 July 2009. There will be interviews to hire new tutors for the saved Humanities courses. Current tutors may apply. The situation is that current tutors will be made redundant on 31 July and will start again next year on a new contract.

3. If you are a Humanities or Welsh tutor then please send in any outstanding pay claims as soon as possible. Any redundancy payments will be calculated on this year’s earnings and Human Resources don’t know what you’ve earned until you send in a pay claim.
It would also be prudent to locate your past contract so as to see how many years of continuous service you have. The Human Resources records are not perfect, by any means.

4. The abbreviated Humanities programme would be managed by one co-ordinating lecturer, or two working on a job-share basis. This means at least two redundancies of co-ordinating lecturers.

5. Management do not plan to make any reduction in support staff before January 2010 because they are likely to be busy implementing the new programme.

Come to the demonstration on Monday 27 July, 4.15pm at Main College, Park Place, Cardiff (opposite the Student union building). This could be the last chance of making your voice heard. It is just possible that, hearing sounds of audible disappointment, Council members may be moved to save more courses.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


Let's mark the end of the campaign! The result will be out - hopefully this will be a celebration!
The venue, The Rockin' Chair, features real rocking chairs and a West Indian ambience.

When: 6.30pm, Thursday 30th July
Where: The Rockin' Chair, 62-64 Lower Cathedral Rd, Cardiff, CF11 6LT
How much: West Indian Curries will be available for £6.50.

To confirm you can attend and whether you would like dinner please e-mail Susan Morgan at:

Demonstrate on Monday 27 July!

On 27th July Cardiff University Council will make their final decision on the future of humanities and Welsh provision in the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning. 140 jobs are at stake, as hundreds of courses could be lost, affecting thousands of students across South Wales.

We will be demonstrating from 4.15 to 5pm outside the University Main College Building, Park Place, Cardiff, on 27th July, where the University Council will be meeting. Come and join us!

This could be your last chance to make an impact!
The University Council has declined to receive another deputation from the Campaign. We won’t have a voice inside the council chamber. So let’s demonstrate and make our voices heard outside!

Western Mail: Appeal to Neil Kinnock

This letter appeared in the Western Mail, 22 July 2009.

Looking to Neil

SIR – When the country is mired in the deepest recession in living memory, surely this is the worst possible time for Cardiff University to be gutting its adult education service.
This will denude SE Wales of learning opportunities for adults and lead to the loss of 140 jobs, most of them part-time women tutors.
The outgoing president of Cardiff University is Lord Kinnock, someone who knows how life-changing education can be.
The users and tutors at the Centre for Lifelong Learning are now looking to Lord Kinnock to leave a more positive legacy than a gutted adult education service and mass redundancies in a centre that plays a crucial part in the health and well-being of people in the local community as well as offering access to higher education to all, regardless of background.


Campaign to Save Lifelong Learning at Cardiff University

Read the letters page here

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Fight to the end!

We will be holding a demonstration from 4.15 to 5pm outside the University Main College Building on 27th July.
On 27th July Cardiff University Council will be meeting to decide whether or not to accept proposals to end the teaching of humanities and Welsh in the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning.
PLEASE come and show your support. It is thanks to all the people involved in the campaign that we have made the University look again at these proposals. A good turn out on the 27th will show Council the strength of feeling against these proposals.
We MUST not let them do this to our University.
Save Our Subjects - Save Lifelong Learning

Monday, 13 July 2009

Open Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that we have an open meeting at the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning on Tuesday 14 July, 7pm, in room M/1.02.

Leanne Wood A.M. has promised to come and speak.

Campaign members will report on recent events including our lobby of the Welsh Assembly, the latest deputation to the University Council, and recent consultations with management.

We will also discuss how to move the campaign forward, now that we are in the final stages.

Friday, 10 July 2009

The Campaign Lobbies the Welsh Assembly!

On Tuesday 7 July a group of campaigners went to the Welsh Assembly and met their Assembly Members.

Afterwards UCU (the University and College Union) issued the following press release. Campaigners were pleased by the First Minister's comments towards the end of the document below, and heartened to see so much support from our AMs:


date: Wednesday 8 July
for immediate release

Assembly members agree to apply pressure on Cardiff University over cuts

The University and College Union (UCU) said today (Wednesday) that they were delighted Assembly Members from across the political spectrum would be putting pressure on Cardiff University to halt plans to cuts jobs and courses. The job cuts were even debated in the Chamber by Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Spokeswoman, Jenny Randerson, and the First Minister – full details at the end of the release.

Campaigners from Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning met politicians at the Welsh Assembly yesterday (Tuesday 7 July). A petition with more than 2,000 signatories urging the university to reject proposals to scrap all teaching in Humanities and Welsh at the centre was handed in to Jenny Randerson, Assembly Member for Cardiff Central and Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Spokeswoman.

Campaigners then met with Assembly Members from across the political divide, including Christine Chapman, Lorraine Barrett and Jeff Cuthbert Labour, Andrew R.T. Davies and Paul Davies, Conservative and Chris Franks, Plaid Cymru – who agreed to write to the university management suggesting they consider a 12-month period of consultation to engage fully with trade unions and staff to agree new proposals which will protect the maximum number of jobs and courses.

Commenting after receiving a petition at the Senedd, Jenny Randerson said: “I was delighted to meet with the staff again today. I think that the university now has an option for a clear way forward by way of a 12 month suspension of the plans in order to fully discuss the impact and the options for a sustainable future for the department.

“Everyone knows that in a time of economic crisis, money gets tight, but this facility is so essential for the university itself, its staff and students and the wider community. I hope that the Petitions Committee will consider the matter urgently and also that the university will now be able to strongly consider a new way forward.”

Susan Morgan, a creative writing tutor at the Centre and member of the campaign team, said: “The centre plays a crucial part in the health and well-being of people in the local community as well as offering access to Higher Education to all, regardless of background.”

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “We are delighted that so many AMs offered their support. Like us, they understand the potential and power of education, particularly in these tough times, to make a real difference to people’s lives. Cardiff University can be in no doubt at the level of support our campaign now has and must immediately halt the planned cuts.”

The campaign to save Humanities and Welsh began when the university announced plans on 20 April to cut 250 courses at the centre, leaving hundreds of adult learners across South East Wales unable to complete their studies and fulfil their potential. Since then it has gained wide support from Cardiff University undergraduates, staff from other academic departments in the university, the university senate, other educational establishments, the media and several hundred students at the centre, past and present.

Full details of a subsequent exchange between Jenny Randerson and the First Minister in the Chamber are below:

Jenny Randerson: Today, I received a petition, which will be presented in due course to the Petitions Committee, from the employees of the lifelong learning department at Cardiff University.
Cardiff University is being forced to make stringent savings across the board. In that particular department, I think that you will agree that the method of making those savings is deeply regrettable and could well have implications for equality as well as for adults’ continuing learning. Do you accept that our higher education sector needs to be much better resourced in future, way above the plans of your Minister for education, if our universities are to compete and behave in a way that will make Wales proud?

The First Minister: Extension courses by external university departments, such as the lifelong learning centre at Cardiff University, are certainly a high educational priority. The question that you asked and the petition that will be presented really depend on two words that you used early on in your question: 'forced to'. Really, the whole issue revolves around that notion. Was Cardiff University forced to or not? I think that the university is currently giving careful consideration to all the points made to it, because it seems that some schools of thought believe that the university has made a mistake.


Dan Ashley t: 020 7756 2600; m: 07789 518 992; e:
Alex Rossiter t: 020 7756 2598; m: 07977 562 686; e:

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Forthcoming Events

Events at the LEARN Save Humanities and Welsh Campaign

Lobby Council: Monday 6 July
The University Council (its governing body) is meeting on Monday 6 July at 5pm in the Main College Building in Park Place (directly opposite the Student Union). Council has agreed to receive a joint deputation from the campaign and the unions.

We are planning a lobby/demonstration. Meet at Main College at 4.15 pm.

Open Meeting
There will be an Open Meeting on Tuesday 14 July (Bastille Day!) at 7pm in the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning (room to be announced).

We aim to discuss the news from the Council meeting on 6 July, to update people about recent events and to consider the final stage of the campaign.

More from the Scrutiny Group:

The Scrutiny Group has met for the second time and deceived a deputation from the Campaign.
They later released the following statement:

Statement of Outcomes - Joint Scrutiny Group of Council and Senate

The Scrutiny Group has met for the second time today (23 June 2009) and received a delegation from the ‘Campaign to Save the Humanities in the Centre of Lifelong Learning’ representing the staff and student community within the Centre of Lifelong Learning (LEARN), who provided options for consideration relating to the future of LEARN.

The Scrutiny Group also considered an alternative model developed by University Officers that could lead to maintaining some reduced humanities provision within the CHOICES programme. The Scrutiny Group has requested further information relating to the model proposed.

The Scrutiny Group will meet again on 6th July 2009.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Gagged? So much for academic freedom at Cardiff University!

Some of the campaigners have received the following email from Louise Casella, the University's Director of Strategic Development. We are in a statutory 90-day consultation period. Why shouldn't we consult with our colleagues? What does this say about academic freedom at Cardiff?

I note that you have recently written widely from your University email address on behalf of the "The Campaign to Save the Arts, Humanities and Welsh at Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning"

Could I please request that any future communications on behalf of the Campaign are sent from a personal or generic email account for the Campaign and do not use a "" account. Given the nature of the communication it is inappropriate that it be sent from an official Cardiff University account.

I have copied both Dr Evans, your Head of School, and Dr Wyatt who has been representing the Campaign in communications with the University into this email. Please be assured that I am not in anyway seeking to interfere with the Campaign's freedom to act as it sees appropriate, however I am requesting that the Campaign not use University resources in a manner that could be taken to infer official endorsement of its activities.

Thank you
Louise Casella

Mrs Louise Casella
Director of Strategic Development
Cardiff University

PA: Lucy Skellon 029 2087 4834

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

A statement issued by Cardiff University after the first meeting of the Scrutiny Group

Statement of Outcomes - Joint Scrutiny Group of Council and Senate (15 June 2009)
The Scrutiny Group established by the Council and Senate of Cardiff University to review recent proposals for changes to the Centre for Lifelong Learning has met for the first time (12 June 2009).

The Scrutiny Group is currently at the information gathering stage of the process. In addition to reviewing the Business Case laid before the last meeting of the University Council, the Scrutiny Group also today (12 June 2009) received a paper from the Cardiff Branch of University and College Union proposing alternative approaches to the current business case. It will consider this paper in more detail at its next meeting, when it has also agreed to receive a delegation from the ‘Campaign to Save the Humanities in the Centre for Lifelong Learning’.

Additionally the Scrutiny Group has requested that alternative options are developed by University Officers for consideration by the Scrutiny Group in order that the Group might understand in some detail whether there are any financially sustainable models that would lead to maintaining some reduced humanities provision within the CHOICES programme.

The Scrutiny Group will meet again on 23rd June and hopes to finalise its work at a third meeting on 6th July 2009.

Politicians urge Cardiff University to think again over course cuts

A story from the South Wales Echo, 18 June 2009.

Julie Morgan A.M. adds her support to the campaign:

Mrs Morgan has now written to the university asking for a place on one of the threatened creative writing courses in a bid to show support for the University and College Union’s campaign against the proposals.

She said: “The university has to think again. Their plans to axe hundreds of courses and jobs will damage communities across Cardiff and South East Wales. I’m signing up as a student to show my support for the UCU campaign and I defy the university to tell me why they are planning to axe the course.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Scrutiny Group

The University Council (the governing body) has set up a scrutiny group to examine the situation at the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

Its terms of reference are:

***To review the current business case put forward for the reduction of activity and staff within the Centre for Lifelong Learning (LEARN);
***To review the process followed in undertaking the review of LEARN’s activities, development of the business case, and the communications with staff, students and trade unions; and
***To advise Council and Senate at their next meeting on recommended actions for the immediate, short, medium and longer term that will take the centre of Lifelong Learning (LEARN) forward in a sustainable way, within the overall context of the University’s strategic priorities and financial sustainability.

The scrutiny group is chaired by Professor Roy Evans, formerly the Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University. The other members are:
Mr. Gethin Lewis (Lay member of Council)
Professor Gillian Douglas (Head of Cardiff Law School)
Professor Elizabeth Treasure (Head of the School of Dentistry)
Professor Tim Wess (Head of the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences)
Mr. Nick Yates (Student Union).

The scrutiny group met for the first time on 12 June. There are further meetings on 23 June and 6 July. It has agreed to receive a deputation from the campaign.

Research Success at LEARN

The University has been cheerfully publicising Dr Dave Wyatt's new book, despite threatening to close his subject area.

Their press release is here.

Dave, the History and Archaeology co-ordinating lecturer, has just published Slaves and Warriors in Medieval Britain and Ireland, 800 - 1200 (Brill, 2009).

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Longstanding Commitment?

Jamie Thunder in Gair Rhydd opines: "The consultation document supporting the proposed cuts estimates that if it continues as at present, LEARN will lose up to £230,000 a year once the hourly-paid staff are treated fairly. ..£230,000 is a touch over 2.5% of £9.08million, the University’s mean annual profit (not expenditure, profit: money it has to play with). But of last year’s profit of £13.6million, it’s just 1.7%"
Cardiff University's Annual Review of 2008 states: "The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning."

Saturday, 23 May 2009


The Dean of Lifelong Learning has finally written to all students about the proposal to cut Humanities and Welsh.
His announcement is also on the LEARN website here.

If you want to complain about the proposal the student complaint procedure may be found here.
If you feel aggrieved then do make a complaint soon. This is because the complaints procedure says that. ‘The issue should be raised informally within a matter of days of the problem arising.’ Students have only just been formally informed about the problem in the last couple of days.

If you feel aggrieved about anything, then you too might wish to use the university grievance procedures available here.

And, to all our supporters:
Please keep writing to your Assembly members, and to the V-C. Your letters really make a difference.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Support from Leanne Wood A.M.

Leanne Wood A.M. has raised the equal opportunities aspect of the proposed cuts at the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the Assembly yesterday, with the Leader of the House, Carwyn Jones.

She said:

"You have already been asked about proposed funding cuts at Cardiff University’s centre for Lifelong Learning, but I wish to raise a different aspect of those cuts. Over the past five years, Cardiff University has made a profit of £45.4 million. However, it claims that the lifelong learning department will lose between £200,000 and £300,000 a year after the equal pay assimilations have been made. This point was confirmed by the First Minister earlier.
In my view, this is a discriminatory proposal. Staff at the centre are largely paid by the hour, and so they are not entitled to the same terms and conditions as full-time lecturers. They are not entitled to sick pay, leave, equal pay or the university superannuation scheme pension benefits. Some 70 per cent of the hours taught in the centre are taught by women, and 30 per cent are taught by men, and, in the main, these are part-time jobs. Therefore, it is clear that these cuts will disproportionately affect part-time women workers—those same workers who have campaigned with their trade unions for equal pay are about to lose out because of this proposal. I am sure that you will agree that that is a perverse situation."

Read a full account on Leanne Wood's blog here.

A Statement from the University

After the University Council meeting on Monday 18 May, the University eventually released a statement. You can read it here.

We've yet to hear about the composition of the scrutiny group, nor who will be chairing it. But we are asking questions, and we will be making representations.

It was only last March that the university was praising the work of our Centre and out tutors in press releases like this one. How quickly things change.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

And the fight goes on

Cardiff University's Council yesterday agreed to investigate whether the proper processes have been followed on the proposals to end teaching humanities and Welsh courses at the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning.
The council failed to reach agreement on the proposal with many members complaining that not enough information had been provided.
The meeting was highly charged as Dr Dave Wyatt and Pat Clark, representing the campaign, were allowed to address the council and field questions. Dr Wyatt illustrated the importance of Lifelong Learning in the community and requested that the centre should be given another year to find a a more satisfactory plan, preventing the need for such drastic cuts in provision and staffing levels.
One council member, who preferred to remain anonymous said "There were a lot of unhappy committee members. The main point was that they had not been given enough information to make any decision on, so no decision was reached."
Earlier in the day hundreds had turned up to support the campaign against the cuts. The atmosphere was good natured and thank you to everyone who showed up.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Jenny Willot M.P. signs our petition!

Jenny Willott MP has signed the online petition (signature 683). Here is her comment:

“LEARN is a very important resource for those returning to learning, which is incredibly important especially during an economic crisis. I myself know of several people who have benefited from classes at the university, not only academically but socially as well. It would be a huge loss to the many people studying there, and for future students.”

Media round-up

Times Higher Education
“Lifelong Learning ‘on verge of extinction’ across the UK”
14 may 2009
Click here

Western Mail: Letters to the Editor
14 May 2009
Click here

South Wales Echo
“Desperate Lecturers ask Neil Kinnock for help
!3 May 2009
Click here

Western Mail: Letters to the Editor
5 May 2009
Click here

And from other blogs and forums:

“Attacks on Evening Classes & Adult Education”
Click here

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Bettany Hughes sends her support!

We’ve now received a message of support from Bettany Hughes, the historian, writer and broadcaster; author of an acclaimed book on Helen of Troy.

Our students pursuing courses on Ancient History, Egyptology, Classical Studies and Latin all want to thank Bettany.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Ask the Vice-Chancellor!

The University Vice-Chancellor, Dr. David Grant, has been sending a bland stock reply to most enquiries about the proposal to axe all Humanities and Welsh teaching. It’s time to press him for some answers.

***Does the V-C intend to consult LEARN students about the proposal? When?
***What will the V-C do to make sure that students currently enrolled on the Diploma, or working towards our certificates, aren’t abandoned? Doesn’t the University have a responsibility towards them?
***Wouldn’t the V-C be prepared to consider less drastic options to secure the future of the Centre?
***Doesn’t he believe that Humanities subjects give an excellent grounding in transferable skills useful in today’s job market?
***Does he intend to move our Welsh courses to the Welsh Department? We have courses in Welsh literature, writing, and translation that complement the Welsh Department’s provision and allow Welsh speakers to use their language skills.
***Is it really fair to sack our hourly-paid part-time tutors at the very moment when they become entitled to equal pay? What does this say about the University’s commitment to Equality? And isn’t this the same V-C who awarded himself a 12% pay rise last year?
***125 years ago, this great university was founded, in part, by collections among Welsh miners and the people of south Wales. Now is the time to return that support.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

More media news

Another article in Gair Rhydd, the Cardiff University Student newspaper:
"The end of LEARN as we Know it?"
Read it here.

Saturday, 9 May 2009


Open Meeting
Thursday 14 May, 7pm, at the Learn Building (room tba).
Aim: to finalise arrangements for the demonstration on 18 May; to update supporters about progress so far; to discuss further campaign ideas.

18 May, 4pm, University Main Building, Park Place.
The University Council meets at 5pm on 18 May. They will be making decisions about our future. Let’s help them to realise that we are a vibrant Centre and that people in South Wales care about educational opportunities.
Please come. Bring your friends and family.

Our last open meeting (on Tuesday 5 May) was very productive.
Ms Jenny Randerson A.M. spoke and pledged her support to the campaign. Our students and colleagues were heartened by her words. Several students spoke to say how studying at the Centre had changed their lives. Mr Nick Yates, the Student Union Education and Welfare officer, publicly supported our campaign. A number of academic staff from other departments came and showed their support. Afterwards, a lot of productive networking happened. Thank you to everyone.

More BBC Coverage

BBC Wales Good Morning Wales!

On Friday 8 May, BBC Radio Wales broadcast an interview with Jenny Randerson A.M. in its Good Morning Wales! programme.

Cardiff University is consulting on proposals to cut a significant part of the adult education programme it provides. The plans would affect around 250 courses and threaten 100 jobs.
However, staff have been angered by a memo from the University’s Director of Strategic Development asking for suggestions on how to use up more than £0.5m pounds’ of savings.
Jenny Randerson, Assembly Member for Cardiff Central and Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Spokeswoman, told Good Morning Wales, “I find this memo quite extraordinary because it’s actually saying we’ve got £530,000 of under spend this year and probably £650,000 to £700,000 for next year to spend specifically on additional support for part time students. This is money allocated by the Government as part of an initiative to widen access to education … and it is ironic … that they are searching round for possible projects to spend this money on at the same time as proposing all these cuts.
“At the very least I would expect them to be in discussion with the department concerned about … ways in which they could use that money in order to alleviate some of the problems.”
She said, “I don’t think it would mean that there was no need for any cuts and indeed the staff who work in that department accept that there will have to be changes, but it would at least be … a basis for the start of some kind of plan for the future.
“I accept that it couldn’t be used directly (for) staff salaries but one of the suggestions they put forward in their memo is that you could use it to consolidate and build on existing provision at a time when they’re talking about cutting existing provision entirely. The net effect … will be that far from building on and improving access to part time education ... they will in fact be narrowing it considerably.”

Friday, 8 May 2009

Lobby Student Union

Cardiff University Students can help the campaign by lobbying Student Union Sabbatical Officer Nick Yates who is one of two student representatives that sit on the Cardiff University Council.
Nick can be emailed at
Cardiff University Council meets on May 18th to discuss the plans for closing down half the centre. Make sure your voice is heard at the meeting by lobbying your representative.

Campaign taken to First Minister

First Minister Rhodri Morgan was presented with campaign flyers by two students from the centre as he arrived at Cardiff University to give a speech about Wales in Europe.
The low-key gathering of protesters was greeted by a heavy-handed approach from University authorities as a large group of security guards prevented them from entering the building or even from standing on the steps to hand out leaflets and gather signatures for the petition.

Message of Support from Dame Joan Bakewell

Distinguished broadcaster and journalist Dame Joan Bakewell has added her support to the campaign to save Humanities at LEARN. In an email sent to one of our campaigners she stated:
"I am happy to support your campaign. It is happening in other places, too. The reason the universities want the courses to be vocational is that that is how they can get government money. But life-long learning can transform peoples' retirement. I am all for it!"

Sunday, 3 May 2009

No Faith in Humanities

Gair Rhydd, the Cardiff University student newspaper has a lead story on the threat to axe Humanities and Welsh (issue 895, 4 May 2009) by Jamie Thunder.

Nick Yates, Cardiff Students’ Union Education and Welfare Officer, said: “The
Lifelong Learning Centre brings together the local community, University staff,
and students, in an environment where knowledge is king. As a member of Cardiff
University I am proud to be part of an institution that is committed to
community learning by its founding charter.
“This commitment embodies everything that education should be about: fulfilment that benefits both individual learners and the communities in which they live. In this tough economic climate we must act to survive in the present, but we must do all that we can to ensure action today doesn’t threaten our values or our future.”

Read the full story here.
The same issue has an opinion piece in which Robin Morgan argues:

The student body should feel aggrieved and frankly disgusted with
the way in which the entire proposal was carried out – despite it not
personally affecting the majority of them.

Read his article here.

Cardiff students have two representatives on the University Council which decides on 18 May whether to accept or reject the proposal to axe our subjects. They are the Student Union President and Vice-President, Andy Button-Stephens and James Wood. (email and We ask for their support.

Meaningful Consultation?

A document showing the "business case for the proposed reductions in activities within LEARN" was circulated to all members of LEARN staff on Friday afternoon.

This was a full 11 days after they received the bombshell that Humanities and Welsh teaching were to be axed from the centre.

The document was finally emailed to everyone immediately AFTER a meeting in which the centre's support staff were told of brutal job cuts that were planned.

Friday, 1 May 2009

More job cuts announced

Support and Administrative staff were called to a meeting at 2pm today.

Richard Evans, the Dean of Lifelong Learning, flanked by Human Resources apparatchiks, announced restructuring proposals for support staff.
There will be fewer posts. Support staff will be forced to compete for the remaining posts whenever there is more than one person with the relevant skills. Some posts are shrinking to part time.

Many staff left the meeting feeling extemely upset. This is not how we want to celebrate International Workers Day. It's not how we want to start our Bank Holiday weekend. But it IS the beginning of a sustained campaign to save jobs and preserve educational opportunities in south Wales.

Next meeting May 14th

The next meeting of the campaign will be held on Thursday 14th May.

Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting which will be held at 7pm (room to be confirmed) in the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Short Demonstration on Thursday

Short Demonstration Today
Building 3.30 – 4pm (Thursday 29 April).

Gair Rhydd, the Cardiff student newspaper, is leading on our story in its next edition. They are sending a photographer to take pictures at 3.30pm. Let’s show our support for the campaign by assembling as many students, tutors and supporters as we can, to make a public demonstration of our support for humanities and Welsh at Lifelong Learning!
Feel free to bring your camera and send your pictures to other journals. Bring a placard if you want. Bring all your friends.

News from the Welsh Assembly

Gareth Jones A. M. , the Chair of the Welsh Assembly Enterprise and Learning Committee has written to Jane Hutt (the WAG Minister for Lifelong Learning) asking her to use her influence to overturn the decision to axe Humanities and Welsh.

A copy of the letter appears below:

Dear Jane

Proposed restructing of the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning (LEARN)

You will be aware that Cardiff University is currently consulting on the above as a result of its commitment to the regularisation of hourly-paid staff and the principle of equal pay.

The issue is of interest and concern to Members of the Enterprise and Learning Committee. Firstly, the timing of the consultation is not appropriate, since it will run until 18 July, allowing little time to communicate outcomes and decisions ahead of the new academic year in September. Second, the cuts proposed will most affect the Humanities Faculty, which includes Welsh language courses. I would suggest that this is a considerable blow to the Welsh Assembly Government’s commitment to promoting bilingualism. Third, lifelong learning is crucial to the current agenda of raising skills levels, especially as knowledge acquisition in the humanities can endow students with a wide range of transferable skills such as oral and written communication and problem solving.

I would be grateful if you would discuss this matter with the Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University at the earliest opportunity, advise him of the strength of feeling of Assembly Members, and use your influence to overturn the decision.

Yours sincerely

Gareth Jones AM

Committee Chair

Facebook Campaign Set Up

A Facebook Campaign called "Save Humanities at Cardiff University Lifelong Learning" has been set up. Facebook members can join here

An Inspirational Message of Support

An inspiration message from Royston Havard, former lecturer in Music at the centre:

27 April 2009

Over the years, some of the foremost academics and writers in Wales have seen fit to be involved in extramural/lifelong learning work. Here are a few names:
Saunders Lewis
R. S. Thomas
Waldo Williams
Roland Mathias
D. J. Williams
Raymond Garlick
T. H. Parry-Williams
R. Williams Parry
Kate Roberts
T. J. Morgan (Rhodri's father)
And what a wonderful experience it must have been to study with any of these eminent persons.

Goronwy Rees, Principal at Aberystwyth during the '50s, said, during an address at an Extramural Tutors' Conference
"...In the work of our College there is no element which is more important or more essential than yours."
And the Aberystwyth Extramural Department taught only Humanities subjects at that time.
Humanities must not be allowed to disappear from the programme!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Open Meeting Tuesday 5th May

The Second Public Meeting

The second public meeting in the campaign to save Humanities and Welsh will be on
Tuesday 5 May

In the Learn Building (room tba)

Please feel free to print out your own posters (click on the link to the left) and display them

How you can help:

1. Come to the meeting. Bring at least three friends!
2. Spread the word about the threat to Humanities and Welsh!
3. Do something practical!

***Write letters.
***Join a campaign task group.

We need volunteers to move the campaign forward. We want more people to join the groups working on lobbying politicians and lobbying University Council members. Contact Patricia Clark to join these groups. (

Have you written to your Assembly member? To your MP? To Jane Hutt, the Welsh Assembly Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning? To Dr David Grant, the University Vice-Chancellor?

150 people attend first meeting of the campaign

Students, tutors, staff and members of the public packed out a meeting room in the Centre for Lifelong Learning on Monday night.

Many people spoke passionately about the centre's work and how the campaign is determined to reverse the decision to cut Humanities and Welsh from the teaching programme.

The University's plans were described as "barbaric" and "short-sighted" by those who attended.

Representatives of UCU were also present and spoke of how the union will be throwing their weight behind the campaign.

Many people signed up with offers to help with the campaign and a big thanks to all.

The next meeting will be held in the centre a week tonight - Tuesday 5th May 7pm

everyone is welcome.

Online Petition

We now have an online petition here.

Please show your support by signing it.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Meeting Tomorrow

The public outcry about the proposed axing of all Humanities courses at the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning is getting louder by the minute!

See Dr Dave Wyatt's comments on the first posting: He includes a very supportive e-mail from Gareth Jones, Assembly Member for Aberconwy and Chairman of the Welsh Assembly Enterprise and Learning Committee.

Don't forget:
  • Campaign Meeting tomorrow, Monday 27th April, 5:30pm at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, Senghennydd Road, Cardiff, Room M1.02

Saturday, 25 April 2009

More support for the Humanities Lifelong Learning Courses

Yesterday evening Gareth Jones, Plaid AM and Chair of the Enterprise and Learning Committee at the Welsh Assembly, spoke on the programme Good Evening Wales (BBC Radio Wales) against Cardiff University's proposal to axe the Humanities from the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

Listen to the interview here.

More voices are joining the protest against the University's short-sighted and cynical proposal!

Show your support by writing to the
Enterprise and Learning Committee members! They can call hold the University accountable for their decision!

Join the Campaign to Save the Humanities at Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning!

Campaign Meeting at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, Senghennydd Road, Cardiff

Day: Monday 27th April
Time: 5:30pm
Room: M1.02

Friday, 24 April 2009

The Welsh Media are getting involved!!!

BBC Radio Wales
this morning led with the news of Lifelong Learning Humanities course cuts

Listen again to Good Morning Wales here.

  • Interviews with Cardiff Lifelong Learning students, academics and tutors
  • Interview with Jenny Randerson, Lib Dem AM

See also the article at the
website of BBC Wales

icWales also published online this article

with a follow-up here

A round-up of blog coverage:

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans

So Much Beauty Out There

Adventures in Momponia

UCU News


To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth

New Democrats Online

Save the Humanities!!!

Cardiff University has announced a proposal to close down all Humanities courses at the Centre for Lifelong Learning and make redundant over a hundred staff, both academics and tutors!!!

If this plan goes ahead in September there will be no more courses on

  • Archaeology
  • Art & Architecture
  • Creative writing
  • Folklore
  • History
  • Law
  • Literature
  • Media & Photography
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Welsh

Please join the effort to save our courses!

Write to the Chair of the
Committee that holds the Welsh Assembly Government to account for Education and Lifelong Learning!

The Chair is Gareth Jones, AM
Here is the committee's website and the rest of its members

Write to your local AM!

Write to the Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University!
Here is the Vice Chancellor's address

Don't let our courses disappear!