University Centre Weston (UCW) is among the best places to study at university level in the UK, according to the results of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) published today.
UCW has achieved a Gold award, placing it among the top 20 per cent of university and college higher education providers in the country.
The TEF Panel judged that UCW delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students, which is of the highest quality found in Britain.
It also made the point in its Statement of Findings for UCW that “students from all backgrounds achieve excellent outcomes”.
UCW delivers its degrees in partnership with Bath Spa University and UWE Bristol, and is one of only a few college higher education providers in the South West eligible to be rated as part of the TEF.
As well as being praised by its students for the assessment, feedback and support they receive, UCW has also achieved the highest possible ratings in the categories relating to the number of its students who progress to further study or highly skilled employment.
Two hundred and ninety six higher education institutions in England, Wales and Scotland have had their teaching quality, learning environment and student outcome data assessed by the TEF Panel and rated as either Gold, Silver, Bronze or Provisional.
The award places UCW, which offers more than 45 degree-level courses, in the company of institutions such as the University of Cambridge, the University of Exeter and Loughborough University, which have all also achieved Gold in the TEF.
Dr Paul Phillips CBE, the Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group, said: “This is a tremendous outcome for the whole region as it confirms that we have a first class institution in which to study higher education in North Somerset.
“Moreover it shows the gains that the Weston College Group is making for learners regionally and nationally.
“Getting Gold also endorses the UCW approach of combining high quality academic study with work-focused learning, and means that our university partners can be assured of the quality of our provision.”
Dr Paul Phillips also paid tribute to the dynamic staff at Weston College and its partner universities who have helped him bring the dream of a University Centre to function for the region.
He said: “Without the support of the Vice Chancellors at the two universities, Professor Steve West CBE and Professor Christina Slade, and my own Vice Principal Anthony Murray, my staff and governors, and the dynamism of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and Mike Jackson at North Somerset Council, we could never have got this far.
“I am also grateful to Vice Principal Linda Burlison and her team for the work they have put in to the design of the new buildings for higher education in the town.”
Anthony Murray, UCW’s Vice Principal for Higher Education, said: “The TEF Panel has recognised the efforts of the talented and dedicated students and staff we have at UCW and across the Weston College Group, and the value of the outstanding support we provide.
“It is also fantastic to achieve Gold just a few months before we open the multimillion pound Law and Professional Services Academy and University Centre in the iconic Winter Gardens Pavilion building on Weston seafront.
“This is such an exciting time to be part of UCW.”
Cllr Nigel Ashton, the Leader of North Somerset Council, said: “North Somerset and Weston-super-Mare are changing at an incredible pace with the local economy expanding at a healthy rate.
“We are seeing local businesses growing and new ones basing themselves here, so ensuring we have a local workforce with the right skills at the right level is essential, especially with the project at Hinkley under way.
“The fact that University Centre Weston is so quickly establishing itself with standards that compete with the best is a credit to all involved, and helps the town and North Somerset to continue to punch above our weight in the region’s economy.”