Law Review: Piggies – Fast Track deportations – BPP gets University status.



The bizarre case of Earl Spencer, his divorce lawyer…and seven little piggies

The Daily Mail reports: “One of the country’s leading lawyers told the Earl that he had named his sow’s piglets after the character traits of a High Court judge – including ‘self-regarding’, ‘pompous’ and ‘pillock’….. The insults were revealed by Princess Diana’s brother as he prepared to sue the lawyer over the handling of his divorce. After the Earl handed £5.65million to his ex-wife last year, Sir Nicholas Mostyn emailed him about Lord Justice Munby, who heard the case.The keen farmer, now a High Court judge himself, said his sow had given birth, adding: ‘The piglets will be named: James, Munby, self-regarding, pompous, publicity, seeking, and pillock…’ The insults were included in a writ Earl Spencer issued last month in the High Court.”

Bizarre indeed.  The Mail notes that Mostyn and Munby are, however, good friends…so there should be little difficulty between the learned friends.

Fast-track deportations from UK ‘unlawful’

BBC: The fast-track deportation of foreign nationals refused permission to remain in the UK has been declared unlawful by the High Court. A judge ruled that the Home Office policy meant people were being given “little or no notice” of removal and were deprived of access to justice…… Home Office lawyers argued that the deportation policy was “sufficiently flexible” to avoid any human rights breaches, and that detainees were given as much notice as possible before removal

Well, on this occasion the High Court disagrees.  That’s the trouble with law… it can get in the way of new policies. Back to the drawing board again for the Home Office.  Given the number of Home Office ‘disappointments’ recorded in the press one wonders why the people working there don’t have a look at the law before acting or, at the very least, consult their lawyers.  Perhaps they do?  I’m not sure which is worse…not consulting the law in advance or acting after taking advice from the lawyers!

The graphic above comes from a post I did on a quite remarkable statement by a lecturer at BPP recenttly….

Actually, I take the “BPP is a sausage factory” criticism as a compliment – Katie Best, BPP Business School

First private university in decades to be created

BBP, wholly owned by US company Apollo, has been granted university status. Report

It will be interesting to see what happens – the plan is to go into health and teaching degrees. Fees at BPP for their degrees, while not on the BPTC scale of nigh on 15k p.a. are likely to be higher than traditional universities – at least until traditional universities are allowed to put their fees up.  They are set, for the moment, at the same level as the maximum fees permitted to be  charged by traditional universities..  One of the problems that BPP will face, of course, is ‘currency and value’.  There is a pecking order of universities in the United Kingdom based on quality. There is not the same perception of law schools providing professional training at LPC and BPTC level  to anything like the same extent.  BPP University College will, I suspect, have to start at the very bottom of the university degree reputation pile – as they have no track record on degree teaching of any substance yet.

The only issues of any worth considering are these: (a) Can BPP hack it in a competitive and well proven university degree sector? (b) Will a BPP degree be worth anything to employers? (c) Will BPP degree holders be able to compete with the very best students from the top universities? and (d) Will BPP be able to expand their business without damaging the reputation they enjoy for law and accountancy training?

A fifth question could be: Does BPP University College plan to do any ‘research’ or is this likely to be a costly inconvenience to the business of running a business and  teaching?  These are the questions students and their competitors will and should be asking.

Only time will tell.  It shouldn’t take long to get an objective market assessment.  I shall return to this shortly in more detail.

As for Mr David Willetts’ statement  (The government minister responsible for the decision) …“I am delighted that, less than four months after coming into office, we are creating the first new private university college in more than 30 years.”

This is serial bollocks, of course.  The Coalition government did not build BPP or Apollo.  They did.  All the Coalition government has done is rush into a decision.  We shall see if they get credit for doing so or criticism…in time.

The BBC reports:”But Sally Hunt, leader of the UCU lecturers’ union, attacked the creation of the new university college as a threat to standards in higher education.

“Today’s news could mark the beginning of a slippery slope for academic provision in this country,” she said.

“Encouraging the growth of private providers and making it easier for them to call themselves universities would be a disaster for the UK’s academic reputation. It would also represent a huge threat to academic freedom and standards.”

“Private providers are not accountable to the public and do not deserve to be put in the same league as our universities,” said the leader of the lecturers’ union.

BPP University College of Professional Studies Ltd (The full name of the Institution)  – which I assume has to be the vehicle for this given the grant of degree awarding powers was to this wing of BPP – is NOT subject to The Freedom of Information Act and is therefore NOT accountable nor transparent.  It took me some time to get the QAA report from Peter Crisp, the Dean of BPP Law School.  This must change if there is to be an honest and fair ‘level playing field’ between public and private sector.  It is not known at this stage whether Mr Willetts has considered this aspect – or even if he had it in his mind when making the decision. The new University is not a British owned university.  It is owned by Apollo, an American firm.  This may or may not be a disadvantage…and does it matter?  We shall see.

7 thoughts on “Law Review: Piggies – Fast Track deportations – BPP gets University status.

  1. one of the features of an English undergraduate degree “experience” is that one is expected to develop one’s critical thinking.

    Coming from the US system, I had a habit of showing off (class participation!) I had done the reading by saying, “so and so says this” etc.

    I was stunned in my 1st year when my lecturer said he didn’t care what X had to say; he wanted to know what I had to say. He went on to lecture us that the SOAS library was “full of rubbish”.

    I love that man because under his tutelage, I acquired the knowledge and confidence to look it up myself and draw my own conclusions.

    Critical thinking is not a feature of sausage factory education.

    Furthermore, exactly how many universities and BTPC/LPC providers does this nation need? Yes, “free market” blah, blah.

    I’d like to see this Government get excited about new trade schools where one can learn a skill and earn money from it.

  2. There may be a risk here of placing too much emphasis on the law side of things. It seems there are about 6,000 LPC/BPTC students at any given time at BPP, but there are also a further 30,000 students on the accountancy and business courses. It is the latter where, in the days of Charlie Prior etc, BPP made its name and whilst BPP’s rep has fallen considerably in recent years, it is still regarded quite highly in those fields.

    What intrigues here is that law and finance are sectors where aspirants can proceed to earn a better than average living, and fees charged by the likes of BPP can be set accordingly. But teaching and nursing are both notoriously poorly remunerated. It is difficult to see how the existing BPP model, of flogging over priced tat to a captive market, can be expanded into those sectors.

  3. Andrew – I knew Richard Price and Charlie Prior well – both a pleasure to work with in setting up BPP Law School. They were both pragmatic businessmen, both wanted to make money, but they had a very strong ethic for quality of provision.

    BPP has grown rapidly since I resigned in the late 1990s. No institution can please all the people all of the time and the Accountancy side, it must be remembered, initially financed the very high costs of establishing the law school.

    I am sure that BPP will apply the same investment criteria in resourcing courses – but going into areas outside accountancy and law, both professions where the student can expect a reasonable career (and a highly paid one, often) is a very different matter from competing with research based universities who are not exactly amateurs in teaching!

    We shall see. I have an open mind on it – but I am not sure that BPP can be credible as a ‘University’ unless it invests in a reasonable amount of research and secures good academic staff across the board for degree programmes.

  4. i share kris’ view of what is good teaching and what a university should be doing. i was fortunate to get lots of the kind of teaching and attitude he mentions at university.

    my professional training course at bpp wasn’t like that – but then it was a professional training course and not a degree. it was certainly much more of the sauage machine variety. i guess i had paid them to force the meat into my intestines (oh god the tortured metaphor). the quality of the people forcing the sausages through the machine varied – but then i found that true of those teaching at my university and it was still considered a good one by others and by me. i was less satisfied with my experience as a customer (blurgh!) of bpp. i also wondered whether in a truly free market a ‘slim down’ (sic) management structure as paraded by mr lygo would charge more than its competitors when i couldn’t detect any higher (or lower) level of satisfaction among its customers (blurgh blurgh!!) than among those of its competitors. i am not an accountant, so you’d have to ask the customers (blurgh blurgh blurgh!!!) of the other bit of bpp who presumably know all about these things.

    this whole thing makes me wonder what would qualify a provider of professional training to call itself a university. and indeed what would then stop any provider of any sort of education or training calling itself a university. it stretches the definition so far as to destroy its meaning imho. but again as i have an english degree rather than some accountancy qualification, what would i know?

    three accountants (pace charon) set up a private educational institution; what do YOU think is going to drive it???

  5. SW – BPP was originally an accountancy college – I helped set up BPP Law School…. I have explained this a few times!

    To be honest….. do I care that much what BPP do now? No, not really… the market will decide.

    I have written, at length, on other more recent posts about my views on universities and research…… yada yada yada.

    :-)

  6. charon – made the wrong apology in the wrong thread – you have indeed been specific about your part in bpp on several occasions. i have been appropraitely dense on all those occasions and failed to take it in. will try harder – would not have got away with that floppy thinking at my university, or at kris’s.

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