Every university degree course will be ranked by factors including the quality of teaching and the average annual salary earned by graduates under government proposals announced today.
The plans are an expansion of last year’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) where each university was ranked on the overall quality of teaching, libraries and post-graduate employment levels. Universities were awarded an overall rating of gold, silver and bronze. Under the new plans, universities will continue to be ranked gold, silver or bronze but the ranking would instead apply to every degree course.
A consultation, open for 10 weeks, has been published by the Department for Education. It is proposed that the ranking system will go live in 2020.
However, the plans may not have a significant impact on would-be solicitors in the next few years. If the proposed Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is approved a requirement for a degree will be removed. Instead, prospective students will be asked to have achieved ‘degree or equivalent’.
The LSB is currently considering a request by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to approve the SQE. However, it has twice delayed making a decision amid criticism over several of the proposals, including the removal of a necessary degree.
Sam Gyimah, universities minister, said: ‘Prospective students deserve to know which courses deliver great teaching and great outcomes – and which ones are lagging behind. In the age of the student, universities will no longer be able to hide if their teaching quality is not up to the world-class standard that we expect.’
According to the latest Times rankings, the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford and London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) are the best for studying law.
The scrutiny that universities should face over a students subsequent success was called into question when non-practising solicitor Faiz Siddiqui failed to convince the High Court that his failure to obtain a first-class degree from Oxford prevented him from landing a job at a top US firm, or a high-flying career at the bar. Siddiqui had claimed that the level of teaching was not high enough that he had suffered mental health difficulties after learning of his 2.1 result.