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HomeSpecial FeaturesUK Rankings 2022-2023Uni numbers drop but scores stay high

Uni numbers drop but scores stay high

Melanie Butler explains the numbers

Twenty-nine British universities are currently accredited by the British Council, down nine since the beginning of Covid, a drop of 23%. Since September 2019 they are down 11. Altogether, 27.5% of its higher education centres have been lost to the scheme in the last four years.

None of these universities have closed down and, as far as we can see, their language centres are still open. All 11 have opted to leave. Some have their courses accredited by the British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes (Baleap), a more specialist scheme which now has 25 accredited members, four of which are also opted in to the British Council.

This loss of so many universities is a shame. They vie with the boarding schools (see opposite page) as the top performing sector in the UK industry. Unsurprisingly, universities top the table when it comes to Teaching, with 67% of university language centres awarded an Area of Strength in this category, twice as high as the percentage in the industry as a whole.

Although no universities have yet achieved a perfect score on inspection, only three of them score below the industry mean average of five net areas of strength. Their standard deviation, at 3.3, is lower than that of the industry as a whole, showing they have less variation in quality. The most common score for a university, the mode, is 10 and their median score is 9, which is also the cut-off score for our Centres of Excellence. As a result, more than half of all accredited university language centres appear in our rankings (see box for full list).

Their mean average, however, has dropped a little to 8, bringing them in just below the boarding schools. However, EFL in mainstream education, in this case higher education, remains the most reliably excellent option.

University Centres of Excellence

  1. Manchester, Edge Hill, Sheffield (12)
  2. .Leicester, Salford, KCL (11)
  3. Chichester, Dundee, De Montfort, Aberystwyth, Birmingham, Brunel (10)
  4. Manchester Metropolitan, Nottingham Trent, Sheffield Hallam. Teeside, Nottingham (9)

Key The numbers given in brackets refer to net Areas of Strength awarded at inspection. Names given in italics show universities which admit under 18s and are inspected on the full 15 areas. Universities which do not admit under 18s are inspected on 14 areas and appear a little higher on our ranking than those with the same score who do admit them.

Image courtesy of PHOTO WIKIMEDIA
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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