Private dental school plans shelved

The blueprint was announced last September and doors were due to open this September on the Leicester Dental Teaching Academy and the University of Buckingham.

The first cohort of students would have paid total fees for the course of £183,000.

The school, which was to have been located in Leicester and was to take 100 students annually, was a partnership between the Leicester Dental Teaching Academy and the University of Buckingham and the course was designed to meet General Dental Council (GDC) Outcome Measures and European standards as well as the requirements of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

But the GDC has not approved courses for the proposed academy and the project has now been put on hold until further notice.

In a statement, the university said: ‘The University of Buckingham is careful to ensure the highest standards for all its degree courses and to insist that all necessary procedures have been followed before the launch of a new programme.

‘As a result, and after negotiations with the GDC, which sets the standards for new dental schools, we have decided regrettably that we are unable to start the dentistry programme in September. Changes to the GDC’s guidelines have meant that our application process has been delayed.  We are continuing discussions about the timing of the launch.’

Professor Alistair Alcock, the deputy vice-dhancellor, said: ‘We deeply regret this delay and the uncertainty this is causing the students. We are making every effort to help them to find alternative courses.’

It is unclear how many students had signed up for the course before it was put on hold.

The degree course was specially designed to appeal to an international market.

At the time of the launch, Stuart Morganstein, dean of the new school, said: ‘Our dental school will have a completely new and innovative course which will prepare students for a lifetime career. They will be involved with patient care throughout the course and will have cared for a large number of patients by the time they finish their training.’

Once the school was up and running, the intention was to establish a charitable trust and to engage in research, as well as to award bursaries to promising students with limited means of support.

On the University of Buckingham’s website, a statement read: ‘The Bachelor’s in Dental Surgery is delayed until further notice and we are not accepting any applications.’

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