Chalk Talk: Oxford and Cambridge aren't top of every league table


Interesting to look at the employment records of our leading universities, as published by the Higher Education statistics Agency last week. It's not the usual suspects that are in the top spots for getting their graduates into a job or further study. However, it may not be that surprising that some of the specialist higher education institutions do best.

Take the Royal Academy of Music, for instance. It tops the league table with a 100 per cent record in getting its summer leavers into employment or study within six months of graduating. Bottom of the league table is London South Bank university with just 77 per cent – the average is just over 90 per cent. As for Oxford and Cambridge, well they are both above the average, but well into the middle of the league table. Cambridge's record is 94.9 per cent and Oxford's 92 per cent.

Of course, the one thing the league table can't show is whether those that didn't go into a job or further study had been frustrated in their search to do either – or were quite happy with the position they were in.

At last some evidence that not all old-fashioned values are dying out!

A survey by High Flyers Research, the graduate recruitment experts, unearths the fact that one in 20 employers still uses a dinner, drinks reception or other social occasion to sift through candidates jobs.

Their research describes it as "just one in 20 organisations" using these occasions, but I must confess I am happy to find anyone at all in that boat.

Good to see in straitened times, some evidence from the Department for Education that "we are all in it together".

Following speculation in the national media that we are in for power cuts and rationing of electricity, it was intriguing to get the following missive from the DfE: "Please note that due to power supply issues the Department for Education press office's out-of-hours number may not be contactable over the weekend."

Before they think I'm getting at them for the service they provide, I should add that a pager system was quickly put into operation.