Buckingham University and Chavagnes

Mr McDermott writes:

I was recently asked a question about the University of Buckingham and the College's relationship with the School of Education of that university. For general information, here is a brief summary of our links with them:

Every year, for the last five years or so, we have been sending staff to Buckingham for teacher training. So far, five Chavagnes Masters have obtained a PGCE from Buckingham, including myself. I am currently in the final stages of a M.Ed. degree (Masters in Educational Leadership) from the same department. The structure of these courses involves periods of residence at Buckingham (with lectures and workshops), visits of university mentors to Chavagnes and finally the production of various pieces of written work which deal with theoretical and practical themes of direct relevance to our work as teachers (essays and theses from 3,000 to 15,000 words).

From the outset, I struck up a personal admiration and friendship for Professor Anthony O'Hear and Professor Chris Woodhead. Both men have been outspoken in their defence of standards in education (the latter as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, inter alia) and also in the defence of education as transmitting a definite canon of worthwhile culture to our young people. Our continuing support for Buckingham is in part a tribute to the academic work of the Department at Buckingham.

The leadership of the M. Ed. programme, and now of the Department of Education, is in the hands of Peter Ireland, a formidable former headmaster from Lancashire with a similar back-to-basics, 'no-nonsense' style to Chris Woodhead.

The Education programmes at Buckingham were developed by the University in response to demand from the Headmasters' Conference (HMC www.hmc.org.uk) and also from COGNITA (www.cognitaschools.co.uk/), Chris Woodhead's own group of private schools.

Buckingham has an excellent academic standing, and we are proud to have started sending pupils there. Amongst other things, Buckingham is a champion of the idea that apart from ensuring high standards, education is really none of the government's business, except in a totalitarian state ....

Here is what wikipedia has about Buckingham's academic ranking:

General Overall Ranking
The University is ranked 21st out of the 115 universities in the UK in The Times Good University Guide 2012.[23]

In 2010 it was ranked 27th in Times Higher Education's "Table of Tables" 2010.[24] In 2010, The Independent, in association with its Complete University Guide 2010-11, ranked Buckingham as the 20th best university out of 115 institutions in the UK.[25] The Sunday Times University guide for 2010 included Buckingham in its league tables in 48th position out of 122 UK higher education institutes[26] stating that: "we rank the private University of Buckingham for the first time in our main league table this year. Top for student satisfaction, with the lowest level of graduate unemployment, the best student/staff ratio and the lowest drop-out rate compared to benchmark. Buckingham makes quite an entrance ..."[27] Confusingly, at that point the same publisher did not include Buckingham in its Good University Guide because Buckingham receives no state funding and therefore does not participate in the government's Research Assessment Exercise, which forms part of the Times ranking criteria (but not the Sunday Times).[28] This changed in 2012, when Buckingham was ranked 21st.
Times Higher Education reported that the University's 2008 graduates had the highest employment rate after six months.[29]

In recent years the University has consistently ranked highly in student satisfaction surveys. For example, Times Higher Education reported that Buckingham was ranked first in 2006,[30] 2007[31] and 2008[32] in the NSS or National Student Survey of student satisfaction. This is a census, albeit controversial, of final-year undergraduates conducted by IposMori, the polling organisation, to determine satisfaction levels at UK universities.[33] The survey relates to the whole student experience, from the experience of classes, and lecturer feedback, to the quality of pastoral care. In 2009, the University of Buckingham dropped to second place and in 2010 returned to first place.[34][35]

Department rankings

The most recent league tables of individual university departments in The Guardian University Guide 2012, produced by The Guardian newspaper, ranked the Business department as 15th (out of 116) in the country, English as 7th (out of 106), and Law as 27th (out of 95).[36]

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