Aston second in the UK for teaching quality

Times Higher Rankings

23 June 2016

The traditional hierarchy of UK universities could be reshaped by a Government monitoring framework that judges institutions on the quality of their teaching – with Aston University placed second best in the country. 

According to a Times Higher Education analysis of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), smaller campus universities and new institutions surpass many of the elite Russell Group. 

Modelling of core TEF metrics by the Times Higher’s data team suggests the UK’s top performing institutions in terms of teaching quality are Loughborough and Aston universities. The University of Cambridge, 12th out of 120 institutions in the new rankings, is the highest Russell Group university, while the University of Oxford is placed 28th. 

Other members of the Russell Group struggle to live up to their top-tier status, with the University of Bristol 87th and two other institutions, the London School of Economics and King’s College London, 81st and 83rd, respectively. 

Aston University’s Vice Chancellor, the Baroness Brown of Cambridge, said: “The analysis of the TEF by the Times Higher confirms what many schools and colleges, potential students and graduate employers already know about Aston – that its teaching is excellent, the student experience first class and its graduates’ job prospects second to none. It is proof that being different and distinctive is a recipe for success.” 

The TEF will enable the Government to monitor and assess the quality of teaching in universities when it is introduced in the next academic year. It will also provide students with the information they need to judge teaching quality. 

The Times Higher’s analysis used three core measures of the TEF – student satisfaction, graduate employment prospects and retention – to rank the different universities. 

While the Russell Group and some select pre-92 universities remain pre-eminent when raw scores are considered, once these are benchmarked for factors such as student entry qualifications and ethnicity – as will happen in the TEF to mitigate the impact of selectivity – the hierarchy changes significantly.