BPP asks BVC students to defer

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has told BPP Law School to ask some of its Bar Vocational Course (BVC) students to push back their start dates in a bid to reduce spiralling student numbers.

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has told BPP Law School to ask some of its Bar Vocational Course (BVC) students to push back their start dates in a bid to reduce spiralling student numbers.

The school, which is one of the biggest BVC providers in the country, has asked students to consider pushing back their start dates to September 2010 in return for a “loyalty discount” of 15 per cent on next year’s fees.

Dean of the school Peter Crisp said: “BPP has emphasised that any decision to defer needs to be carefully thought through, and that any deferrals will be guaranteed a place on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) (which replaces the BVC from 2010).”

The news comes after the school made three of its full-time BVC lecturers redundant in March this year. It blamed the cuts on a slump in the number of students enrolling on the BVC.

At the time the provider, which is owned by BPP Holdings, said it saw a 17 per cent slump in the number of students enrolling on the BVC, with just 247 students taking up a spot this year compared with 300 the previous year.

Last year BPP charged would-be barristers £14,150 to study the BVC but this year it has upped that figure by 3 per cent to £14,700.

Meanwhile, the BSB has put plans to introduce an aptitude test for entry onto the BVC on hold after concerns about its introduction were raised by the Office of Fair Trading.

The test, recommended in a July 2008 report by the BVC working party chaired by Derek Wood QC of Falcon Chambers, is intended to be rolled out as part of the BSB’s wider plans, which will see the BVC replaced by the BPTC in the autumn of 2010.

The aim of the test was to filter out students who do not have a realistic chance of passing the year-long course and thereby close the gap between the number of students undertaking the BVC and the number of pupillages.