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
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."