Britain's newest vet school receives highest accolade from Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

02 Jun 2011 02:00:00.000

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The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at The University of Nottingham has been awarded the highest accolade by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). The RCVS Council has recommended full Recognition of the innovative Nottingham degree course.

The decision, announced today (Thursday June 2 2011), is the best possible praise for staff and students at the first new vet school to open its doors in the UK for 50 years.

Gary England, Foundation Dean & Professor of Comparative Veterinary Reproduction, said: “This is a fantastic acknowledgment of the quality of the teaching programme here at Nottingham; the effort put into developing the course has been huge and I am so pleased that the efforts of our staff and students have been rewarded by this recommendation.”

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The Nottingham vet school, which celebrates its very first final year graduation ceremony on Friday July 22 2011, has helped to change the way veterinary medicine is taught in Britain.

The admissions process is unique in veterinary education. As well as the relevant qualifications it has been designed to take into consideration the attributes and qualities required of a modern veterinary surgeon. Theory and hands-on clinical training have been fully integrated so students come into contact with animals and clinical cases from day one. Rather than studying biochemistry, anatomy or physiology as separate subjects the school has introduced a  ‘body system’ based approach — so instead of separate subjects students learn about different areas of the body in a more intuitive and holistic way. Equipped with the very latest technology they benefit from close up views of live or recorded operations fed direct into lecture theatres on campus via video link from nearby specialist veterinary surgeries.

Students also follow an innovative Personal and Professional Skills module which, as well as the practicalities of running a small business, also equips them with the necessary skills to communicate with the owners of the animals they treat.

Research is also central to the activities of the school, both in terms of maintaining its position at the forefront of national and international efforts in veterinary medicine but also as an integral part of the training and education for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Research at the vet school focuses on five strategic areas: infection and immunity; population health and welfare; comparative medicine; reproductive biology and veterinary educational research. 

Despite the short time it has been established, the school was recognised as top, in a joint submission with the School of Biosciences, in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science in the last Research Assessment Exercise for the power of its research.

The involvement of clinical associates and other organisations within the research programs enables the identification of clinical problems in the field and the rapid application of investigational science to help solve these problems in both production and companion animal species.

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “Setting up a School of Veterinary Medicine and Science from a standing start was a very big commitment. The hard work and commitment shown by colleagues in the school, and the University more widely, in developing such a high-quality course deserves the recognition it has received from the RCVS. It is an outstanding achievement.”

Since the first cohort of students walked through the doors five years ago their progress and the work of the school has been monitored closely by a team of veterinary surgeons, academics and education specialists from the RCVS.

The RCVS monitors and reviews the organisation of the school, student admissions, the curriculum, the provision of Extramural Studies so students gain a range of experience in working environments, as well as library and learning resources and each stage of the examination process.

Over the last five years the RCVS has made two detailed inspection visits to the School to examine the overall academic environment including research, postgraduate education and provision of continuing professional development. This panel of experts carried out its final inspection visit in February.  Since then the School has been working closely with RCVS-appointed External Examiners to ensure the level of attainment in assessment of its students is comparable to that at other UK veterinary Schools.

 Professor Lance Lanyon, Chairman of the Visitation Panel said: “The Visitors were struck by the level of commitment staff showed to meeting the objectives of the School and the pride in its achievement displayed by all the staff and students that they met. Achieving such unity of purpose in a university setting is a remarkable testament to the high standard of leadership from the Dean and his senior colleagues working within a refreshingly supportive environment of devolved authority provided by the University.”

The next step is for the Privy Council to be asked to make a Recognition Order. The graduate’s ability to practise veterinary surgery is not dependent on the Recognition Order. This has been made possible by RCVS and Nottingham holding exams jointly.

Last year the School received 1,780 applications with over 75 per cent of offers choosing Nottingham as first choice. The school has a strong agenda for widening participation — 34 per cent of students are classed as from widening participation backgrounds and 35 per cent receive a bursary.  Although male students are underrepresented in veterinary admissions nationally, Nottingham’s holistic admissions process provides opportunities for both genders to excel: 25 per cent of Nottingham students are male, compared to 22 per cent nationally. 

The vet school runs two six-year courses which provide students with the relevant knowledge of biology, chemistry, animal health and husbandry required for them to follow the curriculum of the five year course. It currently has 505 undergraduate and 75 postgraduate students.

The Nottingham vet school is proving so popular both the summer open days are already full.

The vet school has been shortlisted in the Times Higher Education (THE) Leadership and Management Awards 2011 in the Outstanding Admissions Team Category. The results will be announced on Thursday June 16 2011.

— Ends —

 Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

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More information is available from Lindsay Brooke, Media Relations Manager in the Communications Office at The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 5751,
Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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