Cheers and jeers for league table

August 3, 2007

A new university league table provoked mixed reactions this week - ranging from fury to delight, writes Rebecca Attwood.

The UK University Guide ranks 113 institutions on measures from research strength to student-to-staff ratio. It was compiled by Bernard Kingston, a former Sheffield University careers director who previously produced The Times Good University Guide .

Cambridge University is first, ranked top for 35 of 46 subjects compared with five for Oxford University, which slips from the top for the first time since 2001 in the annual tallies. Next is Imperial College London, followed by the London School of Economics and St Andrews University.

The table met strong criticism from Michael Thorne, vice-chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, ranked 104th. "This is just about the most appalling piece of work I have ever seen in my 30 years in higher education," he told the Cambridge Evening News .

But those near the top were less critical. Brian Lang, principal and vice chancellor of St Andrews University, said: "We are delighted. Given that we do not have the additional spending power and competitive advantage that tuition ees have given institutions south of the border, to again figure in the top ten of a national UK table is a good result not just for St Andrews, but for Scottish higher education."

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