In Depth

Durham University cancels 8am lectures after student backlash

Law and Business undergraduates protested after lectures were scheduled early to cope with a growing intake at the university

Durham University has cancelled its plans to introduce 8am lectures following a backlash from students.

The Russell Group university confirmed that controversial proposals to lengthen the teaching timetable with 8am lectures have been withdrawn, following a consultation with students and staff members.

In June, Durham student newspaper Palatinate revealed that students in the Law and Business schools would have 8am lectures scheduled, to deal with oversubscribed course numbers.

At the time the then president of Durham Students’ Union, Megan Croll, criticised the lack of student consultation on the original proposals and said “students are suffering because of over ambitious aims to expand the university”.

The Durham Students with Disabilities Association also expressed “great concern” about the policy, saying that disabled students would be unduly affected by this early start.

Now in a letter to students Thom Brooks, the dean of Durham University Law School, said that there had been a change of heart, The Times reports. “Durham’s preliminary timetable for 2018-19 included four modules in Business and Law whose lectures were to be taught at 8am. Both students and staff expressed concern at this possibility. We have listened and responded. I am pleased to report that there will be no 8am lectures scheduled next academic year.”

Saul Cahill, undergraduate academic officer of the SU, said it was encouraging that the university had responded to the pressure brought by “student outcry” and had reversed their decision.

Earlier this month, a survey by the Times Higher Education magazine revealed that more British universities are pushing their teaching hours into the evening to cope with rising student numbers.

Lectures run until 8pm at Brunel University London and Oxford Brookes University, it found.

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