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C of E universities do well in latest guide

18 October 2013

Stuart Wilde Photography

Seeing double: Two sets of identical twins, (left to right) Gemma & Jade Charlton and Stacey & Nicole Hall, graduate from Bishop Grosseteste univeristy, Lincoln, in July 

Seeing double: Two sets of identical twins, (left to right) Gemma & Jade Charlton and Stacey & Nicole Hall, graduate from Bishop G...

THE ten Church of England universities are among the most successful at attracting working-class and mature students and ensuring that they complete their studies, the latest Good University Guide - which includes data on 121 universities in the UK - suggests.

At all C of E universities, more than 90 per cent of undergraduates were state-educated; at nine, more than 30 per cent came from working-class backgrounds, rising to nearly half of students at Bishop Grossteteste, Lincoln, which gained university status in the past year.

At all but one of the institutions, between ten and 25 per cent of un- dergraduates were mature, increasing the representation of non-traditional students.

Although, like other recent universities, the C of E sector tends to have lower-than-average entry requirements, it nevertheless registers high course-completion rates, with five universities in the top 50 nationally, and two among the 60 institutions with the highest proportion of students entering professional jobs or going on to postgraduate study.

The sector also scored well on the student-satisfaction scale: five were among the top 50, and all but one had significantly improved their position since last year.

Welcoming the high levels of student satisfaction, the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Timothy Dakin, said: "It is clear that C of E universities as a group are providing very significant value-added experience within higher education."

As recent institutions mainly concerned with teaching, C of E universities lack the strong research base and high entrance requirements that affect the overall league table. Only Chester and Winchester, which both improved their position, are ranked in the top 60. But the Revd Dr John Gay, an education research fellow at Oxford University, said: "Given that these universities are among the newest, still building up a research tradition, and recruit many of their students from modest academic backgrounds, their overall performance is very encouraging."

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