Monday 04 March 2013

Dr Jo Beall, British Council director of education and society commented “The latest Times Higher Education Global Reputation rankings show the UK as continuing to have the second highest number of top 100 institutions. Seven UK institutions in the top fifty is an outstanding achievement, particularly given our size compared to the world leader, the United States. Moreover, these rankings are backed up by research that shows that international students consistently rate the quality of teaching and their overall student experience very highly.

'However, it is to be regretted that three UK institutions have fallen out of the top one hundred, showing just how globally competitive the sector has become. We believe that the international reputation of our education system is a contributor to its global standing. It is also one of the UK’s strongest assets - one we cannot afford to squander. Attracting ambitious and talented students and researchers from across the world adds huge value to the UK economy and vastly improves the UK’s capacity for high quality research and innovation, while cultural diversity can only improve the quality of campus life and better prepare British students and graduates for globally connected workplace.

'It is concerning, therefore, that the most recent ONS Quarterly Migration Statistics reports a 20% fall in student visas issued,  because so many international students enter the UK’s higher education system from prior study at British schools or colleges. Our higher education institutions work so hard to build a strong global reputation and any damage to this reputation will not only be their loss but will be felt by the UK economy and society as a whole.'

Notes to Editor

For more information please contact

Tim Sowula, Snr Press Officer, British Council; +447771 718 135

The UK offers students an outstanding quality of teaching, and a world-class learning experience

Proof a: Over 86% of postgraduate students in the UK stated that the overall experience of their research programme met or exceeded their expectations

Source: The 'Postgraduate Research Experience Survey' 2011

This is a UK-wide survey that collects the views of current postgraduate researchers in order to enhance the learning experiences of postgraduate students on research programmes. With 31,202 EU and non-EU students completing the survey, there was a national response rate of 32%.

86% of respondents stated that the overall experience of their research programme met or exceeded their expectations.

Students from Africa and Asia were in general even more positive about their experience than those from the UK.

Proof b: Over 92% of postgraduate students in the UK rate the quality of teaching they receive positively

Source: The 'Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey' 2011

This collects feedback on the experiences of current taught postgraduate students in the UK. A total of 38,756 students from 80 UK higher education institutions (HEIs) responded, a national response rate of 17.8%.

88% of respondents stated their overall experience of their programme met or exceeded their expectations.

92% of respondents rated teaching quality positively.

Proof c: Over 88% of international graduates are satisfied with their learning experience

Source: Tracking International Graduate Outcomes 2011. BIS. Published January 2012

The first wave of the study took place in 2010 and surveyed international graduates (those who graduated from undergraduate, taught and research postgraduate degrees) of publicly funded UK higher education institutions (HEIs) from 2009 (6 months after completing their studies) and from 2007 (in the third year post-completion). The second and final wave, conducted in 2011, surveyed international graduates who had graduated from UK HEIs in 2010 (six months after completion) and 2008 (two and a half years after completion. Satisfaction is high across all learning, living, and support aspects of the HEI experience for all graduates:

83% of the class of 2010 would recommend their institution to others.

88% of 2010 graduates are satisfied with the learning experience

Overall, 88% of graduates are satisfied with the living experience.

82% of graduates are satisfied with the support provided by their university overall.

Three years after graduating, 83% felt that their UK degree was worth the financial investment as do 80% of those who graduated 6 months ago.

In addition, 86% of 2010 graduates reported feeling welcome in the UK when they first arrived.

Consult the The ONS Quarterly Statistics for February 2013

About the British Council

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

We work in more than 100 countries, and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.

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