Tyne & Wear

Northumbria University cuts to 'affect students' decision'

Stephen Miller Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stephen Miller graduated from Northumbria University in 2002

Cuts to Northumbria University's elite sports programme will affect whether talented students go there, a Paralympic athlete has said.

Stephen Miller, who graduated in 2002 and has won 26 international medals, said the cuts were "sad news".

"It will affect the decision whether students come to Northumbria, they need somewhere to progress," he said.

The university said it wants to focus on "participation rather than performance sport".

The plans, which include the withdrawal of all seven of its national league sports teams and potential job losses, are currently out to consultation.

Miller said the news was "quite a big shock".

He said: "Northumbria was where I went and it had a big tradition in sport.

"I'm sure it's a decision that hasn't been taken lightly but it's a shame for Northumbria and a shame for Newcastle."

Other people have also criticised the decision on social media.

Northumbria University graduates include gold-winning Olympian Victoria Pendleton and volleyball player Peter Bakare, who represented Team GB at London 2012.

Proposals seen by the BBC include the removal of 12 full-time jobs, with six more becoming part-time roles.

They also propose cutting a further eight British University and Colleague Sport (BUCS) programmes and 12 BUCS teams.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Team Northumbria is based at the university's Sport Central

A statement from Northumbria University, whose chancellor is Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, said students "will still be able to compete at the highest level in the British Universities and Colleges League".

It added: "We remain committed to high performance sport and will continue to compete at the highest levels.

"In a changing environment that includes a reduction in available external funding, we must ensure that we continue to offer all our students value for money and the best possible student experience."

The university said it was consulting with affected colleagues so could not comment further.

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