By Cameron McIntosh
Durham University did not fail a single final-year student in 2017, according to figures revealed in a Freedom of Information request.
Durham is among 11 British universities, including Oxford and Edinburgh, that awarded degrees to 100% of their final year students, as stated in a report published in The Sunday Times.
The figures also show a further 32 universities nationwide had pass rates of 99% or above. These include fellow Russell Group universities Birmingham and Leeds.
For the 2016/17 academic year, there were 3,829 full-time students enrolled in the third year of their undergraduate studies at Durham, in addition to 909 students in the final year of a four-year course. Of those who sat their finals, 89.5% achieved a ‘Good Honours’ degree of at least an upper second class, according to The Complete University Guide.
All the remaining students were judged at least to have met the minimum standards required to obtain a degree qualification.
The publication of the report’s findings comes amid growing concern about standards in the UK’s higher education industry.
Former Minister of State for Education, Lord Adonis, told The Times: “It is not credible that amongst thousands of students none, or virtually none, will fail to make the grade. This yet again raises the issue of university standards and universities’ obsession with simply milking revenue out of students without requiring enough in return.”
The government recently introduced a university watchdog, the Office for Students (OfS), designed to drive up standards in higher education, which assumed legal authority in England from January 1st this year.
These statistics may increase pressure on Durham to address its standards, after the university was also denied the prestigious Gold rating for teaching excellence in June 2017, as part of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
The list of universities that join Durham with a 100% pass rate for finalists includes Liverpool, Surrey, Bath, University of East London, Oxford, Abertay, Arts University Bournemouth, Sunderland, Edinburgh and Worcester.
Photograph: Ieuan Jenkins via Flickr