Newman university status


In 2012, the UK Government announced plans to remove restrictions on the number of students required for a higher education institution to achieve full university status, opening the way for the creation of a new wave of full universities. Newman University College already held its own degree-awarding powers but Encore Communications was briefed to ensure it was at the forefront of discussions around this proposal: creating the case for the changes, clarifiying its existing status and celebrating its existing reputation for academic quality.


Encore liaised with Government departments and HE representative bodies to confirm the timing of the initial announcement. We then prepared comment from Newman University College addressing some of the issues likely to be raised in opposition to the move and submitted this for inclusion in the official press release.

Education and political correspondents likely to be working on the story were also identified in advance of the announcement, with comment and information about Newman University College being supplied to them under separate cover.

On the day of the announcement, we monitored media for coverage of the story, providing additional information where coverage or online comments appeared ill-informed or misleading, as well as submitting letters to key publications in response to those articles.

Following the initial burst of coverage, we then monitored developments with the story, preparing additional material and statements at other key moments, for example, when the changes were given the go ahead and, finally, when Newman itself was awarded full university title.


Positive media coverage of the changes and Newman’s likely eligibility was secured in national media outlets including BBC News, the Times, Times Higher Education and the Daily Telegraph, with Newman University College securing a greater share of voice in the media debate than other eligible institutions.

Further national and regional media coverage was secured around the institution’s ultimate achievement of full university title, including Catholic magazines and newspapers, with messaging around its status as ‘Birmingham’s newest university’ and ‘the first Catholic university since the Reformation’ being built into all subsequent media activity for the following 12 months.

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