GSM London statement regarding BBC Panorama

BBC Panorama has broadcast “Student Loan Scandal” last night, 13th November 2017, which sheds light on a number of totally unacceptable practices conducted by a third party agent used by GSM London.

The programme also featured footage of malpractice by recruitment agents at two other colleges. The agent in question, Future Leaders’ Academy Limited (FLA) is run by Mr Charles Logan and is an external organisation that has introduced some students to GSM London. We are shocked and appalled by the actions and statements made by Charles Logan during the BBC’s filming. We are angry that Mr Logan’s actions could reflect negatively on our dedicated, passionate and hard-working staff and students.

When the allegations against FLA were first brought to our attention we suspended our contract with the company. Following the airing of tonight’s episode we have terminated our contract with immediate effect. We support calls for further investigations into the activities and regulation of student recruitment agents overall. As soon as we were alerted to these allegations by the BBC, we launched an independent review into our admissions and assessment practices. This review will swiftly and thoroughly investigate our internal practice and processes to identify any changes that may be needed. The investigation will be led by the law firm Mishcon de Reya and Janet Graham, a widely recognised authority on Higher Education admissions.

GSM London’s social mission is to widen participation in education for ambitious students who might otherwise be denied the opportunity Higher Education provides. We are proud of the fact that 92% of our students are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, 84% are mature students and many have caring or employment responsibilities. The success they achieve through study at GSM London has a profoundly positive impact on them and their families. We deplore any action that in any way casts doubt on their achievements.

We are being open and honest about what has happened with all our students and staff, holding drop-in sessions so we can answer their queries face-to-face. We will continue these conversations, as well as our ongoing dialogue with external stakeholders, as we seek to understand how we can improve in the future. We thank BBC Panorama for bringing these allegations to our attention.  Our President and CEO, Professor Amanda Blackmore, said:

Charles Logan’s actions are totally unacceptable and are not reflective of the high standards that GSM London, our staff or our students uphold.

“I am personally passionate about our mission to widen access to education, and to deliver an excellent teaching, pastoral support and learning environment. FLA has let us down and I am clear that our independent review will identify and address any gaps in our internal process.”

“GSM London has a proud 40-year history in London and we will continue to serve our staff and students, providing high quality education.”

“I know the shocking actions of Charles Logan have caused uncertainty for some of our students and staff, which is why we will continue to update them in the coming days and weeks.”

Elliott Cox, Student Union President, GSM London, said:

“On behalf of the student population I am incredibly sad that the actions of one man have fallen short of the standards set by GSM London. In my experience we have a fantastic, committed body of dedicated staff who are focused on improving the student experience, and a student body passionate about their studies. They should hold their heads up high, knowing this is not of their doing.”

GSM London will be holding open drop-in sessions for students over the next few days. I would encourage students to attend these so they can raise any concerns or questions directly with GSM London staff.