Updated: Furniture courses to be axed by Bucks New University

Furniture courses to be axed by Bucks New University

Furniture courses to be axed by Bucks New University

First published in News
Last updated
Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

FURNITURE courses are on a list of nine degrees being axed by Buckinghamshire New University.

BNU said it is dropping two of its undergraduate furniture courses in the summer - BA (Hons) Furniture and the FDA Furniture: Conservation, Restoration and Decorative Arts courses.

The university said five engineering degrees, the BA (Hons) 3D Contemporary Crafts and Products and the BA (Hons) Fine Art courses will also be ditched at the end of the current cycle.

Staff redundancies are also expected to be made, the university confirmed today.

A BFP reader called the decision “another nail in the coffin of High Wycombe as a centre of excellence for furniture manufacture in the UK.”

But the High Wycombe-based university said The National School of Furniture will continue and it is “actively recruiting” to a new foundation degree.

Postgraduate furniture courses will also continue into the new academic year to ensure “High Wycombe's historical connection with the furniture industry will remain”, BNU said in a statement.

The university added: “The decision has not been taken lightly.

“But, by ceasing to recruit to these courses we can refocus efforts on areas which meet the demands of students and employers and on further improvements to our campuses and student experience for the benefit of all.

"There will regrettably be a small number of staff who will be directly affected by the outcome of today’s announcement, and the university will work closely with these people and our recognised unions to ensure the most satisfactory outcome for all concerned."

Almost 1500 people have already signed up to a Facebook group campaigning for the university to reverse its decision.

The BFP has also received emails from readers who are fearful about the effect BNU’s decision will have on Wycombe’s proud furniture heritage.

The following courses will not be avaliable to new students of Bucks New University from summer 2014:

BA (Hons) 3D Contemporary Crafts & Products
BA (Hons) Fine Art (FT and PT)

BEng Mechanical Engineering Design
BSc Engineering Management (FT and PT)
HNC Mechanical Engineering Design
MEng Mechanical Engineering Design
MSc Engineering Design and Management

BA (Hons) Furniture
FdA Furniture: Conservation, Restoration and Decorative Arts (FT and PT)

Comments (20)

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11:09am Mon 27 Jan 14

MunsterX says...

Whatever you do BNU, don't axe the BA Cookery with Netball course!
Whatever you do BNU, don't axe the BA Cookery with Netball course! MunsterX
  • Score: 0

12:27pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Mr Totterdge Hill says...

I thought the only way you learnt chair making was by bodging down in the woods?
I thought the only way you learnt chair making was by bodging down in the woods? Mr Totterdge Hill
  • Score: -11

12:47pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Bill Taxpayer says...

a BA in furniture? Oh for goodness sake!
a BA in furniture? Oh for goodness sake! Bill Taxpayer
  • Score: -16

1:23pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Fit2drop says...

I attended an open evening last Monday and was planning to put 3 of my current apprentice engineers on the HNC course, this would lead onto (all being well) a degree course. Where do young people get training in real value courses? Two areas of manufacturing dropped, WHY? Probably because its easier to get through a media studies degree and more profitable for BNU, these kids will be back for more courses as they cant get a job!
I attended an open evening last Monday and was planning to put 3 of my current apprentice engineers on the HNC course, this would lead onto (all being well) a degree course. Where do young people get training in real value courses? Two areas of manufacturing dropped, WHY? Probably because its easier to get through a media studies degree and more profitable for BNU, these kids will be back for more courses as they cant get a job! Fit2drop
  • Score: 24

2:48pm Mon 27 Jan 14

furnitureboy says...

Bill Taxpayer wrote:
a BA in furniture? Oh for goodness sake!
I studied at BNU or Bucks College as it was. I spent 5 years studying furniture designing and making and have benefited immensely from this course. All of my classmates gained work in the industry and I now teach at a FE College and I send my students to this university to gain a degree in furniture making.
Yes I understand viability and courses have to pay, however as far as I am aware there are only a couple of courses like this left in the country. If this course is lost, it will be a major loss to the furniture industry and to High Wycombe. Leading names in furniture making have either trained or employed students from this course including, Ercol, Conran, Ikea, Habitat any many self-employed furniture designers and makers.
Why not offer support to this course and assist it in recruitment and bring it back to the outstanding course it was.
This course is renowned around the world, cherish it and nurture it, stand by it not kick it into the gutter.
[quote][p][bold]Bill Taxpayer[/bold] wrote: a BA in furniture? Oh for goodness sake![/p][/quote]I studied at BNU or Bucks College as it was. I spent 5 years studying furniture designing and making and have benefited immensely from this course. All of my classmates gained work in the industry and I now teach at a FE College and I send my students to this university to gain a degree in furniture making. Yes I understand viability and courses have to pay, however as far as I am aware there are only a couple of courses like this left in the country. If this course is lost, it will be a major loss to the furniture industry and to High Wycombe. Leading names in furniture making have either trained or employed students from this course including, Ercol, Conran, Ikea, Habitat any many self-employed furniture designers and makers. Why not offer support to this course and assist it in recruitment and bring it back to the outstanding course it was. This course is renowned around the world, cherish it and nurture it, stand by it not kick it into the gutter. furnitureboy
  • Score: 28

3:04pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Bill Taxpayer says...

furnitureboy wrote:
Bill Taxpayer wrote:
a BA in furniture? Oh for goodness sake!
I studied at BNU or Bucks College as it was. I spent 5 years studying furniture designing and making and have benefited immensely from this course. All of my classmates gained work in the industry and I now teach at a FE College and I send my students to this university to gain a degree in furniture making.
Yes I understand viability and courses have to pay, however as far as I am aware there are only a couple of courses like this left in the country. If this course is lost, it will be a major loss to the furniture industry and to High Wycombe. Leading names in furniture making have either trained or employed students from this course including, Ercol, Conran, Ikea, Habitat any many self-employed furniture designers and makers.
Why not offer support to this course and assist it in recruitment and bring it back to the outstanding course it was.
This course is renowned around the world, cherish it and nurture it, stand by it not kick it into the gutter.
I do think the course is a good idea, but to think it is a degree subject really stretches it a bit. Should be an apprenticeship, with appropriate industry certification at the end of it.
[quote][p][bold]furnitureboy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bill Taxpayer[/bold] wrote: a BA in furniture? Oh for goodness sake![/p][/quote]I studied at BNU or Bucks College as it was. I spent 5 years studying furniture designing and making and have benefited immensely from this course. All of my classmates gained work in the industry and I now teach at a FE College and I send my students to this university to gain a degree in furniture making. Yes I understand viability and courses have to pay, however as far as I am aware there are only a couple of courses like this left in the country. If this course is lost, it will be a major loss to the furniture industry and to High Wycombe. Leading names in furniture making have either trained or employed students from this course including, Ercol, Conran, Ikea, Habitat any many self-employed furniture designers and makers. Why not offer support to this course and assist it in recruitment and bring it back to the outstanding course it was. This course is renowned around the world, cherish it and nurture it, stand by it not kick it into the gutter.[/p][/quote]I do think the course is a good idea, but to think it is a degree subject really stretches it a bit. Should be an apprenticeship, with appropriate industry certification at the end of it. Bill Taxpayer
  • Score: -18

4:50pm Mon 27 Jan 14

furnitureboy says...

Bill Taxpayer wrote:
furnitureboy wrote:
Bill Taxpayer wrote:
a BA in furniture? Oh for goodness sake!
I studied at BNU or Bucks College as it was. I spent 5 years studying furniture designing and making and have benefited immensely from this course. All of my classmates gained work in the industry and I now teach at a FE College and I send my students to this university to gain a degree in furniture making.
Yes I understand viability and courses have to pay, however as far as I am aware there are only a couple of courses like this left in the country. If this course is lost, it will be a major loss to the furniture industry and to High Wycombe. Leading names in furniture making have either trained or employed students from this course including, Ercol, Conran, Ikea, Habitat any many self-employed furniture designers and makers.
Why not offer support to this course and assist it in recruitment and bring it back to the outstanding course it was.
This course is renowned around the world, cherish it and nurture it, stand by it not kick it into the gutter.
I do think the course is a good idea, but to think it is a degree subject really stretches it a bit. Should be an apprenticeship, with appropriate industry certification at the end of it.
Apprenticeships generally are training a younger person in the industry and to a much lower level. The BA course when I attended had mature students (average age in my group was late 20's early 30's) and taking them through to become designer/ makers and set up in business working for themselves. This as a way of preparing them to become self-employed and enterprunual, enterprise – isn’t that the buzz word of the moment and seen as pulling this country out of recession?
So no apprenticeships are not an alternative, you show your lack of understanding of what a degree course can offer and thinking that an apprenticeship is equal to this.
There are not many apprenticeships out there, particularly in furniture making. The reason I feel is because the industry is made up of small companies who do not have the resources to take on apprentices. These are small companies that generally have been started and run by ex-students from BA courses like this.
[quote][p][bold]Bill Taxpayer[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]furnitureboy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bill Taxpayer[/bold] wrote: a BA in furniture? Oh for goodness sake![/p][/quote]I studied at BNU or Bucks College as it was. I spent 5 years studying furniture designing and making and have benefited immensely from this course. All of my classmates gained work in the industry and I now teach at a FE College and I send my students to this university to gain a degree in furniture making. Yes I understand viability and courses have to pay, however as far as I am aware there are only a couple of courses like this left in the country. If this course is lost, it will be a major loss to the furniture industry and to High Wycombe. Leading names in furniture making have either trained or employed students from this course including, Ercol, Conran, Ikea, Habitat any many self-employed furniture designers and makers. Why not offer support to this course and assist it in recruitment and bring it back to the outstanding course it was. This course is renowned around the world, cherish it and nurture it, stand by it not kick it into the gutter.[/p][/quote]I do think the course is a good idea, but to think it is a degree subject really stretches it a bit. Should be an apprenticeship, with appropriate industry certification at the end of it.[/p][/quote]Apprenticeships generally are training a younger person in the industry and to a much lower level. The BA course when I attended had mature students (average age in my group was late 20's early 30's) and taking them through to become designer/ makers and set up in business working for themselves. This as a way of preparing them to become self-employed and enterprunual, enterprise – isn’t that the buzz word of the moment and seen as pulling this country out of recession? So no apprenticeships are not an alternative, you show your lack of understanding of what a degree course can offer and thinking that an apprenticeship is equal to this. There are not many apprenticeships out there, particularly in furniture making. The reason I feel is because the industry is made up of small companies who do not have the resources to take on apprentices. These are small companies that generally have been started and run by ex-students from BA courses like this. furnitureboy
  • Score: 24

4:52pm Mon 27 Jan 14

KrissieJS says...

Bill Taxpayer wrote:
a BA in furniture? Oh for goodness sake!
Blame the former government that changed Colleges to Universities.
Perhaps if there would be colleges these days these courses wouldn't be axed.
[quote][p][bold]Bill Taxpayer[/bold] wrote: a BA in furniture? Oh for goodness sake![/p][/quote]Blame the former government that changed Colleges to Universities. Perhaps if there would be colleges these days these courses wouldn't be axed. KrissieJS
  • Score: 5

8:01pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Aridzona says...

I cannot believe you are axing Engineering courses! Engineers were the key to building British industry in the past. Who are you going to rely on in the future? Or are you happy to become a nation of shopkeepers as you have been described before?
I cannot believe you are axing Engineering courses! Engineers were the key to building British industry in the past. Who are you going to rely on in the future? Or are you happy to become a nation of shopkeepers as you have been described before? Aridzona
  • Score: 10

7:35am Tue 28 Jan 14

1wycombe says...

Let the germans take care of the engineering and so on.......
Let the germans take care of the engineering and so on....... 1wycombe
  • Score: -1

9:37am Tue 28 Jan 14

BucksComment says...

But presumably they are adding 5 new Media courses......

Bring back wycombe 6th form college and a pride in being someone who studies for a vocational course rather than some jumped up 'university' degree that all employers know is not worth the paper it is written on
But presumably they are adding 5 new Media courses...... Bring back wycombe 6th form college and a pride in being someone who studies for a vocational course rather than some jumped up 'university' degree that all employers know is not worth the paper it is written on BucksComment
  • Score: -2

10:12am Tue 28 Jan 14

furnitureboy says...

BucksComment wrote:
But presumably they are adding 5 new Media courses......

Bring back wycombe 6th form college and a pride in being someone who studies for a vocational course rather than some jumped up 'university' degree that all employers know is not worth the paper it is written on
Again someone else who shows there lack of knowledge and understanding of these degree courses and the job creation they have produced.
The ‘paper these degrees are written on’ do have credibility and kudos within the industry.
As I previously wrote, High Wycombe is furniture making and the furniture degree courses at the university in the town are recognised around the world. I am proof of that as I have stayed in the industry 13 years after graduating and so has a large proportion of my year group.
Yes you could bring back Wycombe 6th College, could I ask if these students want to stay in education to attain a higher level, where would you suggest they go? On a different note, what level of education do you think teachers and college lecturers require? Answer, usually a degree in the subject they are teaching! So closing the furniture degree courses limits the HE courses that future design technology, resistant material and woodwork teachers can train at.
[quote][p][bold]BucksComment[/bold] wrote: But presumably they are adding 5 new Media courses...... Bring back wycombe 6th form college and a pride in being someone who studies for a vocational course rather than some jumped up 'university' degree that all employers know is not worth the paper it is written on[/p][/quote]Again someone else who shows there lack of knowledge and understanding of these degree courses and the job creation they have produced. The ‘paper these degrees are written on’ do have credibility and kudos within the industry. As I previously wrote, High Wycombe is furniture making and the furniture degree courses at the university in the town are recognised around the world. I am proof of that as I have stayed in the industry 13 years after graduating and so has a large proportion of my year group. Yes you could bring back Wycombe 6th College, could I ask if these students want to stay in education to attain a higher level, where would you suggest they go? On a different note, what level of education do you think teachers and college lecturers require? Answer, usually a degree in the subject they are teaching! So closing the furniture degree courses limits the HE courses that future design technology, resistant material and woodwork teachers can train at. furnitureboy
  • Score: 9

12:58pm Tue 28 Jan 14

BucksComment says...

Oi, Furniture Boy, back in your box.....

If you paused for breath and read the post, you would see that I am agreeing with you. We need MORE courses that teach people how to make stuff and at all levels, from the plumber's mate to the master furniture maker you clearly are.

Unfortunately universities are now in the free market and can attract more students who want 3 years of drinking and then to get awarded a BA in Media Studies
Oi, Furniture Boy, back in your box..... If you paused for breath and read the post, you would see that I am agreeing with you. We need MORE courses that teach people how to make stuff and at all levels, from the plumber's mate to the master furniture maker you clearly are. Unfortunately universities are now in the free market and can attract more students who want 3 years of drinking and then to get awarded a BA in Media Studies BucksComment
  • Score: 0

5:55pm Tue 28 Jan 14

furnitureboy says...

BucksComment wrote:
Oi, Furniture Boy, back in your box.....

If you paused for breath and read the post, you would see that I am agreeing with you. We need MORE courses that teach people how to make stuff and at all levels, from the plumber's mate to the master furniture maker you clearly are.

Unfortunately universities are now in the free market and can attract more students who want 3 years of drinking and then to get awarded a BA in Media Studies
Would that be my hand cut dovetailed box?

Sorry to misunderstand your post, I thought you meant by jumped up 'university' degree course you were referring to the courses that Bucks New Uni would like to cut.

I'll get back to that box now and take that breath..............
[quote][p][bold]BucksComment[/bold] wrote: Oi, Furniture Boy, back in your box..... If you paused for breath and read the post, you would see that I am agreeing with you. We need MORE courses that teach people how to make stuff and at all levels, from the plumber's mate to the master furniture maker you clearly are. Unfortunately universities are now in the free market and can attract more students who want 3 years of drinking and then to get awarded a BA in Media Studies[/p][/quote]Would that be my hand cut dovetailed box? Sorry to misunderstand your post, I thought you meant by jumped up 'university' degree course you were referring to the courses that Bucks New Uni would like to cut. I'll get back to that box now and take that breath.............. furnitureboy
  • Score: 1

8:07pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Roo136 says...

My daughter was offered a place on the BA Furniture course starting in September and received a letter today saying that BNU weren't offering the course any more. She has applied to five Universities to do Furniture Design and this course at BNU was by far the best.
We live in West Yorkshire and over the next three years would have spent a small fortune in your town to get the best education for our daughter, so that she could have a career in furniture design, maybe in a local company, who knows? Well, we will never know now, will we?
No doubt the media and performing students will add something to the UK economy in the future, but probably not as much as those graduates in manufacturing and design. A sad day!.
My daughter was offered a place on the BA Furniture course starting in September and received a letter today saying that BNU weren't offering the course any more. She has applied to five Universities to do Furniture Design and this course at BNU was by far the best. We live in West Yorkshire and over the next three years would have spent a small fortune in your town to get the best education for our daughter, so that she could have a career in furniture design, maybe in a local company, who knows? Well, we will never know now, will we? No doubt the media and performing students will add something to the UK economy in the future, but probably not as much as those graduates in manufacturing and design. A sad day!. Roo136
  • Score: 14

8:34am Wed 29 Jan 14

MunsterX says...

The furniture industry in this town, like all industries, was originally demand led. The demand itself created employment opportunity, with sustained demand comes sustained employment opportunity (apprenticeships etc...).
Local employers had a keen eye for latent talent and identifying a craftsman of the future.
The BA course is all about "I want" from the student, not the employer. The fact is that someone undertaking the course may not be up to the mark as a craftsman and instead be reliant on "theory of craftmanship" which itself satisfies no real world demand whatsoever.
To our friend from up north whose kiddo nearly headed down to start the course - you should consider yourself lucky! These BA courses are all about lumping many thousands of pounds of student debt on young and parental shoulders with scant regard for the future. If your kid had genuine talent then a job awaits with some firm or another based upon that talent - don't fool yourself.
The furniture industry in this town, like all industries, was originally demand led. The demand itself created employment opportunity, with sustained demand comes sustained employment opportunity (apprenticeships etc...). Local employers had a keen eye for latent talent and identifying a craftsman of the future. The BA course is all about "I want" from the student, not the employer. The fact is that someone undertaking the course may not be up to the mark as a craftsman and instead be reliant on "theory of craftmanship" which itself satisfies no real world demand whatsoever. To our friend from up north whose kiddo nearly headed down to start the course - you should consider yourself lucky! These BA courses are all about lumping many thousands of pounds of student debt on young and parental shoulders with scant regard for the future. If your kid had genuine talent then a job awaits with some firm or another based upon that talent - don't fool yourself. MunsterX
  • Score: -9

2:18pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Roo136 says...

MunsterX wrote:
The furniture industry in this town, like all industries, was originally demand led. The demand itself created employment opportunity, with sustained demand comes sustained employment opportunity (apprenticeships etc...).
Local employers had a keen eye for latent talent and identifying a craftsman of the future.
The BA course is all about "I want" from the student, not the employer. The fact is that someone undertaking the course may not be up to the mark as a craftsman and instead be reliant on "theory of craftmanship" which itself satisfies no real world demand whatsoever.
To our friend from up north whose kiddo nearly headed down to start the course - you should consider yourself lucky! These BA courses are all about lumping many thousands of pounds of student debt on young and parental shoulders with scant regard for the future. If your kid had genuine talent then a job awaits with some firm or another based upon that talent - don't fool yourself.
My friend, Mr MunsterX, thank you for your concerns, however I have worked in manufacturing and I have also done extensive research in to Degree courses and Universities. BNU was the best course available in the UK for furniture, the department works closely with local industry and there is a lot of talent in the UK that just needs harvesting.
If you read what the authorities at BNU are proposing, it is exactly what you are suggesting; it is student based courses (i.e. demand from the student not industry) in the form of media studies and performing arts that they are wanting to promote The university is thinking of only it's income over the next 3 years and not for the good of the UK as a whole - that unfortunately is the way society is going nowadays, as well as all of education, it seems.
Where we live we are blessed with an excellent textile trade which is renowned the world over, there would be a huge outcry if our universities closed the textile design courses - surely the residents of High Wycombe want to support local industry - no?
[quote][p][bold]MunsterX[/bold] wrote: The furniture industry in this town, like all industries, was originally demand led. The demand itself created employment opportunity, with sustained demand comes sustained employment opportunity (apprenticeships etc...). Local employers had a keen eye for latent talent and identifying a craftsman of the future. The BA course is all about "I want" from the student, not the employer. The fact is that someone undertaking the course may not be up to the mark as a craftsman and instead be reliant on "theory of craftmanship" which itself satisfies no real world demand whatsoever. To our friend from up north whose kiddo nearly headed down to start the course - you should consider yourself lucky! These BA courses are all about lumping many thousands of pounds of student debt on young and parental shoulders with scant regard for the future. If your kid had genuine talent then a job awaits with some firm or another based upon that talent - don't fool yourself.[/p][/quote]My friend, Mr MunsterX, thank you for your concerns, however I have worked in manufacturing and I have also done extensive research in to Degree courses and Universities. BNU was the best course available in the UK for furniture, the department works closely with local industry and there is a lot of talent in the UK that just needs harvesting. If you read what the authorities at BNU are proposing, it is exactly what you are suggesting; it is student based courses (i.e. demand from the student not industry) in the form of media studies and performing arts that they are wanting to promote The university is thinking of only it's income over the next 3 years and not for the good of the UK as a whole - that unfortunately is the way society is going nowadays, as well as all of education, it seems. Where we live we are blessed with an excellent textile trade which is renowned the world over, there would be a huge outcry if our universities closed the textile design courses - surely the residents of High Wycombe want to support local industry - no? Roo136
  • Score: 2

4:48pm Wed 29 Jan 14

MunsterX says...

Roo136, a good industry does not need supporting, it supports itself.

By supporting the BNU courses we are simply helping BNU take big fat fees from your lovely family. If your family member has the skills then I am sure there is a way a local firm would get involved with an employment opportunity.
Roo136, a good industry does not need supporting, it supports itself. By supporting the BNU courses we are simply helping BNU take big fat fees from your lovely family. If your family member has the skills then I am sure there is a way a local firm would get involved with an employment opportunity. MunsterX
  • Score: -8

8:17pm Thu 30 Jan 14

KrissieJS says...

1wycombe wrote:
Let the germans take care of the engineering and so on.......
don't tempt fate
[quote][p][bold]1wycombe[/bold] wrote: Let the germans take care of the engineering and so on.......[/p][/quote]don't tempt fate KrissieJS
  • Score: 1

10:40pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Cley123 says...

If we are to be honest it should be said that BNU was very good College of Further Education in the past, but never quite made the grade as a university.
The University side came into being by a government effort to get young people of the jobless register, by sending them on degree courses. The fact that many of these courses were next to useless and did not get the kids a job at the end of it all, was ignored for political reasons. The advent of the end of free education and the taking of student loans altered the game completely.
If we are to be honest it should be said that BNU was very good College of Further Education in the past, but never quite made the grade as a university. The University side came into being by a government effort to get young people of the jobless register, by sending them on degree courses. The fact that many of these courses were next to useless and did not get the kids a job at the end of it all, was ignored for political reasons. The advent of the end of free education and the taking of student loans altered the game completely. Cley123
  • Score: 3

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