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Statements to the media on the Health Schools restructure

Statements in response to media queries and articles on proposals to restructure the Health Schools are listed below.

More information on the Health Schools restructure can be found here.  

 

Letter to the Guardian in response to an article published on 15 July 2014

Sir

We were disappointed by your article which contained a number of inaccuracies about the restructuring of the Health Schools at King’s College London.

The financial landscape in which universities operate has changed substantially in recent years, and universities like King’s must now generate their own investment funds. The Health Schools restructure is part of a long-term plan to build a sustainable financial future and develop a high-performing culture across the College.  A number of universities are undertaking similar restructuring exercises.

At no point did King’s announce that ‘120 scientists would lose their job’. The consultation process, which began in May and remains ongoing, made clear at the start that ‘up to 120 jobs were potentially at risk’, but that this number was likely to decrease during the consultation process with trade unions and staff. This figure did indeed go down when we announced in July that less than half this number remained provisionally at risk of redundancy.

The review panel took into account significant contributions to education beyond core teaching hours - in particular paying attention to programme and module organisation, contributions to curricular development and quality, as well as pastoral care. Where relevant, the panel looked at not just Principal Investigator grant income, but took into account individual contributions as co-investigators as well as high impact publications, contributions to supervision and critical roles in the College’s research effort.

Contrary to what you suggest, it is precisely financial security that we are seeking. In order to ensure we can continue to provide an environment befitting a world-leading research intensive university and an excellent student learning environment, we aim to manage costs, tackle deficits and build up our surplus gradually over the next few years to 6% of income by 2017-18.

As you rightly point out, King’s College London has worldwide renown, with 12 Nobel prizes awarded to its alumni. We have ambitious plans to enhance our position as a world leading university and believe these changes will help to ensure a sustainable and successful future for the College.

Yours

Professor Sir Robert Lechler

Vice-Principal (Health)

The Guardian article can be accessed here.

 

Statement in response to media queries on an educational survey of staff in the School of Biomedical Sciences, Medicine and the Institute of Psychiatry

“This survey has nothing to do with current restructure proposals. It does not ask staff to take on teaching roles. It does invite them to identify their expertise and their training needs. For example, it will seek to address the wishes of research-active staff who have expressed a desire to become involved in teaching current and future generations of students at King's. 

“It is a reality of bioscience research that many staff find themselves working in highly specialised, interdisciplinary areas that don’t immediately map on to discipline-based undergraduate degree programmes and which don’t reflect the breadth of their expertise.”

 

Statement in response to media queries on a report issued in 2013 by Standard & Poor’s

“The College has had a public credit rating from Standard & Poor’s for many years. The credit rating is based on information provided by the College and generally offers a reasonable assessment of our strategy and prospects, though at one point in time.

“The report you refer to was published in July 2013. This was the first year of the new funding model for higher education, under which we have to generate our own investment funds. The College is targeting an investment surplus of 6% of income by 2017-18. The Standard & Poor’s report acknowledges that we plan to achieve this over a number of years in manageable 1% steps, rather than in one go.

“In the short term we will maintain investment at 3% of income, which will provide a bridge to our longer term plan to build future investment in the student experience. We have yet to receive the more up-to-date 2014 rating review from Standard & Poor’s, but believe the rating agency is entirely supportive of this measured approach.”

The full Standard and Poor’s report from 2013 can be found here.

 

Why did we post a comment on the Times Higher Education in response to an opinion piece?

“We started the process of updating unions, staff and the students’ union on Thursday 3 July 2014 on the outcome of the final panel considerations and informed them that following a thorough review over the previous six weeks, less than half the original upper limit of 120 roles remained provisionally at risk. The process was completed by late Friday morning (4 July). We felt that it was important to update readers of the THE opinion piece with the current situation as soon as possible.”

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