By Keziah Smith
Recent data released by The Sunday Times shows that Durham University ranks as the second worst university in the country for social inclusion, whilst simultaneously ranking as the sixth best university in the overall
The statistics reflect the fact that only 48.7% of Durham students attended state schools (non-grammar). This is despite 93.5% of UK students being educated in the public sector, according to the Independent Schools Council (ISC).
Durham’s suggested social exclusion is intensified by the knowledge that only 5.4% of its students are from deprived areas, in spite of University efforts to be more inclusive of young people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.
It also emerged that Durham has the nineteenth most expensive accommodation in the country. Thirteen of the eighteen more expensive accommodation prices are from London-based Universities.
The Durham University ‘Access Agreement’ of 2019-2020 states that the University has allocated £11.7 million for outreach purposes, student success, and partnerships with regional schools in the hope to increase the proportion of students admitted to Durham who are classified as being
from low-income families.
Further analysis, provided by The Sunday Times, into Durham’s inclusivity reveals that the black attainment gap is -14%, and ethnic minority students make up only 11% of the student population of the University.
The metrics used for these rankings are drawn from datasets published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Eight measures of social diversity are weighted and combined, before being converted to a scale with 1000 being the top score. Durham scored 269/1000.
In spite of Durham ranking as the second worst University in the country for social inclusion, it has been ranked sixth overall in the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020-21. It has moved up from seventh place last year and has ranked in the top ten in the renowned league table for over ten years.
Part of the reason for Durham’s success in the Good University Guide’s rankings is the University’s success in this years National Student Survey (NSS), where it obtained a score of 87.3% for student satisfaction – the highest in the Russell Group of leading UK universities and surpassing the scores of all other universities in the North East of England.
The Good University Guide also recognises the successes of Durham Students as they begin their careers after graduating, as the University is ranked seventh in the UK for graduate prospects. 87% of Durham students are in postgraduate study or working in high-skilled jobs fifteen months after graduation.
In response to the University’s overall ranking, Durham University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, said: “To be ranked sixth in the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 is a tremendous achievement for Durham University, our staff and students.
“As for all universities, 2020 has been a challenging year for us, as we manage the impact of coronavirus. But we are continuing to invest in our student experience. We recently opened two new College facilities, including the brand new South College, and we’re looking forward to a new home for our Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science departments opening soon.
“We’re also doing more than ever before to attract students
from all backgrounds to consider Durham. We are a world-leading,
research-led, inclusive University, at the heart of the stunning beautiful and warmly welcoming North East of England.”
Image: Fellwalker via Creative Commons