University of Sheffield loses crown as students’ favourite - but remains in top three

Students at the University of Sheffield's Firth Court
Students at the University of Sheffield's Firth Court
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The University of Sheffield has lost its crown as students’ favourite - but remains in the top three in the country.

The establishment has dropped from first in 2013 to third in the new Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey for 2014.

But its student union had reason to celebrate, coming top in its category in the most recent results.

Professor Anne Peat Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at the University of Sheffield, said: “We’re delighted that we continue to rank so high for our overall student experience and, of course, first for our Students’ Union. All our students, staff and local community contribute towards the friendly, welcoming and supportive atmosphere that we’re proud to uphold.”

The overall title has now been taken by the University of Bath, which finished second last year.

The study looks at 113 higher educational establishments around the country, asking students to assess what they thought of the teaching, facilities, industry connections, and cheap amenities on offer to them.

Sheffield Hallam University was mid-table in the student experience survey, finishing joint 56th.

Its result was slightly down on 2013, when it was placed 48th.

A spokesperson for Sheffield Hallam University said: “Sheffield is a fantastic city in which to study. It’s one of the safest and greenest large cities in the country, with two excellent universities offering a broad range of courses. Sheffield Hallam has made a steady rise in various university league tables based on the quality of its learning and teaching in recent years, being ranked as the top modern university in the north of England in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015.”

John Gill, editor of Times Higher Education, said: “One of the aims of the Government’s higher education reforms was to increase competition between universities and intensify the focus on the student experience.

“Our survey, which is now in its 10th year, is perfectly placed to track what this has meant in practice, and which universities are performing particularly well in specific areas - whether in teaching and learning, or areas such as the standard of facilities, in which many institutions have been investing heavily.

“The easing of student number controls has led to significant expansion by some universities, several have increased their student intake by almost 50 per cent since 2012, and competition for students is set to increase further with the uncapping of student places this autumn. This is putting new pressure on the student experience as institutions change in size and shape.”

Almost 14,700 full-time undergraduates were polled for the survey.