ACT - The Association of Christian Teachers

for Christians working in education

Are University League Tables important?

Are University League Tables important?

We hate them yet we find ourselves trusting them. League tables are arbitrary and divisive in broader debates about higher education reform. Why, then, do we give them so much credibility? What teachers don't talk about is the subtle undercurrent of toxic elitism that these meaningless tables fuel. This snobbery damaged me last summer as it will thousands of students and parents this August. League tables have reigned over our higher education sector for long enough.

The process of choosing a university isn’t easy for us students and our families. That’s the point – government policy has forced universities to compete for the best students. In this sense, we could say ‘marketization’, as it’s called, of higher education has had some success. My parents and I toured the country, open day after open day. We absorbed the endless ‘no, we’re the best’ from Heads of Department and Admissions Tutors, fighting to trump their rivals. I scrolled obsessively through every league table - a few numbers could wipe out a whole life pathway, a whole opportunity if that university never made it on to my Ucas form. 

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