Schools could be recommending a very different set of universities to their sixth-formers in the coming years, when government plans to judge higher education institutions on the quality of their teaching come into effect.
A new analysis by Times Higher Education , TES' sister publication, shows that under the new Teaching Excellence Framework – due to be phased in from September – traditional top-flight universities could tumble down university rankings, with other less prestigious institutions taking their place.
The analysis suggests that the “golden triangle” of Oxbridge and London universities would no longer reign supreme, and a new “Midlands triangle” would emerge, comprising Loughborough, Aston and De Montfort universities.
Other universities in the top 10 would include smaller research-intensive institutions such as Swansea, Kent, Surrey, Bath and Lancaster.
'Results could cause shockwaves'
Some Russell Group institutions would still do quite well, however. University teaching performance will be judged using scores for graduate employment, student retention and student satisfaction.
And, according to the THE analysis, when such scores were adjusted for factors such as subject mix, entry qualifications and ethnicity, the University of Cambridge came 12th and Durham University was 16th.
The University of Oxford came in 28th – seven places below its near neighbour Oxford Brookes University.
Phil Baty, THE’s rankings editor, said that the Teaching Excellence Framework “could send shockwaves not just through the UK, but across the world”.
“Some household names – major international university brands – previously judged to be world-class based mainly on their proven research excellence, will suddenly be exposed to the world as failing to deliver the expected results for their students – surely their most important stakeholders", he added.
Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook