The Complete University Guide

Performance measures: Hert, soul and cash to splash

The University of Hertfordshire has excelled for its spending on student facilities

The tables on how each university performed on the nine measures show Cambridge at the top of three tables, and Oxford and Imperial College London leading two. No particular surprises there then.

You would expect Cambridge to do well on research assessment, student satisfaction and entry standards. And you are probably not surprised that Oxford came top for good honours degrees and course completion, and Imperial College London for graduate prospects and spending on academic services.

The fact that University College London has the best staff student ratio, followed by Imperial College and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) confirms again the dominance of the golden triangle of Oxford, Cambridge and London.

The big surprise is Hertfordshire's position at the top of the table for spending on facilities such as careers services, proving that "new" universities can outperform "old" ones. In Hertfordshire's case, the money was spent on sports services and a computer network.

Buckinghamshire New University, the former Buckinghamshire Chilterns University, which is in the table for the first time, also did well on facilities spending, coming in at number four.

All 113 universities are assessed on a range of nine measures in The Complete University Guide but some measures are given more weight than others. Two of the measures – student satisfaction and research assessment – are given a higher weighting than the others to reflect the importance that these have in the life of a university. So, a university that does badly in one of these two will find their position more adversely affected than if they did badly on one of the other seven.

But the indicator that really upset the apple cart was student satisfaction. Bottom of the student satisfaction table is the prestigious University of the Arts, London, which contains all the capital's foremost art colleges such as Chelsea, Central St Martin's and the London College of Fashion. It may be that art students are more awkward than others, given to complaining about their lot, but its position does not inspire confidence and may possibly act as a deterrent to overseas students.

Some highly-rated "old" universities also came low down in the student satisfaction league table, including Manchester (10th from bottom), Edinburgh, Sussex and Nottingham. Expect a concerted effort by these institutions next time round to find out what their students were complaining about and to put that right.

Bernard Kingston, who is responsible for compiling the table, says that some universities are really taking the league tables very seriously now. "They have set up little groups to see how they can improve their performance," he says.

One university in this category is Leicester. Aware of the importance of league tables, university vice chancellor Professor Robert Burgess pulled out all the stops to ensure that his institution did as well as it possibly could. The result has been positive. Leicester has shot up eight places, and students seem to appreciate the effort made. On student satisfaction, Leicester comes third, after St Andrews, which is in second place.

Another university to make a conscious effort to burnish its reputation is Exeter. Under its vice chancellor Professor Steve Smith, the university invested in new academic staff and new student facilities. The result is that it comes fifth for student satisfaction, and is now placed 17th in the main table.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Nursery Nurse and Room Leader - Hackney

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a qualified childcare p...

QAA: Independent member of the QAA Board of Directors

Expenses paid in connection with duties: QAA: QAA is inviting applications to ...

AER Teachers: PPA TEACHER/MENTOR

£27000 - £37000 per annum: AER Teachers: THE SCHOOL: This is a large and vibra...

AER Teachers: EYFS Teacher

£27000 - £37000 per annum: AER Teachers: EYFS TEACHERAn 'Outstanding' Primary ...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones