Threatened closure of counselling courses at UEA - request for PCU support Posted by Jane Clements


I am emailing you with regards to the news that the UEA will no longer be offering any counselling courses, including the BACP accredited Postgraduate diploma in counselling. (course info found here who are currently completing the certificate course in counselling have only just been notified (many were hoping to complete the diploma at the UEA as natural progression towards becoming a qualified counsellor). This has left it too late for them to apply to anywhere else to complete their studies regardless of the fact I and many others believe the courses should not be discontinued.I have been made aware that you assisted with a similar situation at the Strathclyde University in Scotland and wondered if you were able to offer any support?The courses obviously make a huge difference with regards to the free counselling that not only the University but local charities receive and Norfolk has been highlighted as an area most affected by mental health.The current and past students are very keen to do all we can to fight this decision and have already got things off the ground with regards to drafting a letter fully opposing the decision full of facts and figures etc. We would really appreciate any guidance or support you could offer.Best wishesLaura Colman - Past UEA student (Diploma in Counselling) and current trainee trainer on the Certificate Counselling Course.This is an extract from the draft letter - 

The rationale provided by the UEA for course cessation

  • The key reasons you gave at our meeting were that this decision had been taken due to:

  1. the reduction in student applicants over recent years

  2. the lack of international students applying for the course, who would attract a greater student fee

  3. the lack of sufficient research undertaken by the Counselling ‘Centre’

  • The Postgraduate Diploma course is annually over-subscribed, traditionally capped to approximately 15 students. We understand that the majority of current students on the Postgraduate Certificate course (circa 20-25) have applied to undertake the Postgraduate Diploma/MA. This does not of course include external applicants or applications from previous years’ students. The only comparator course in Norfolk, undertaken at the Norwich Centre (whilst person centred is not currently BACP or University accredited) is oversubscribed for this year, and likely 2018/19. With demand for places outstripping supply it is difficult to marry the point you make regarding ‘falling application’ numbers being a driver for course cessation.

  • It is understood that decisions have been taken over recent years by the University to reduce research in Counselling, including the cessation of a researcher post; i.e. the Counselling Centre will have undertaken less research. The University may wish to consider how many of the prospective Postgraduate Diploma students may have had appetite to undertake research via an MA, or indeed at Doctoral level. Informal indication from current course participants would suggest that there are individuals who are experienced researchers at Masters level who would be interested in exploring doctoral level research work. Further, in the context of the earlier mentioned statistics as to the prevalence of Mental Illness, the resulting health care- and employer expenditure and the caution by MPs and national advisors to take this matter seriously it is difficult to comprehend that there is not an absolute societal need, and demand for evidence based research in this field.

As a leading University in East Anglia, with well-established links to local organisations, employers and other institutions – it is a shame that a lack of international student applicants has been cited as a key reason for course cessation when the value of locally based students, with extensive networks should be a strong driver for course sustainability

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