Website closes after Hesa withholds data

May 1, 2008

A website that branded named universities "rubbish" and "shocking" on the basis of data on staff-to-student ratios has been shut after its owners were refused access to official statistics.

WillISeeMyTutor.com caused controversy when it launched last year as a site allowing prospective students to compare institutions by their staff-to-student ratios.

The ratios were calculated using data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, but many in the sector complained that the data were "skewed" and the comparisons they allowed were inaccurate.

The University of Bedfordshire even threatened legal action against the site after a course was labelled "shocking".

Now it has emerged that WillISeeMyTutor.com has been forced off-line by Hesa, which has refused to supply data to those behind the site, who claim to be two academics and an IT specialist but have never revealed their full identities.

In a statement on the site, WillISeeMyTutor.com said its mission was to "empower" prospective students. It criticised Hesa for withholding data. Describing the decision as "unacceptable", it accused the Government-run agency of acting in the interests of universities to the detriment of prospective students.

Hesa said: "A body that appeared to conceal, whether fully or partially, its identity, or the identity of those individuals behind its operations, was not considered by Hesa to be operating on a basis of good faith and was not an organisation that Hesa believed was in its best interests to enter into a contractual relationship with," it said.

"Although the dissemination of information about higher education is part of our mission, we also have a responsibility to protect the sector from potentially incompetent or irresponsible use or misuse of such information," it said.

john.gill@tsleducation.com

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Common cactus finch (Geospiza scandens)

Tiffany Taylor on a thought-provoking view of the forces acting to ensure survival

Student asking question during class

University of Reading research finds link between undergraduate satisfaction and ethnicity of lecturers

Level of quality compass

Authors argue this means universities should spend less on senior academics and give promising younger scholars more of a chance

Maths lecture

Students are arriving at university with unrealistic expectations of the mathematical demands of their subject, finds Paul Glaister

United Kingdom policemen standing by patrol car

Paul Hamilton speaks of ‘heartbreaking’ detention by Home Office officials after leave to remain application refused