The Open University Ranked In Top Five For Teaching Quality

September 17, 2003

The university, whose headquarters are at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, has fifth spot – ahead of Oxford and University College London – in the Sunday Times University Guide 2003’s table of universities with the best marks for teaching.
The ranking, which is the university’s highest in any national media table, is based on official judgements of teaching quality made by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Its inspectors – academics from other universities – have rated 12 out of the 14 Open University departments they have seen since 1995 as ‘excellent’.

The Sunday Times table, which was published on Sunday, September 14, ranked universities according to the percentage of departments assessed as ‘excellent’ since 1995. Another seven OU subjects, which were assessed before 1995, have also been rated as ‘excellent’, but these results were not included in the Sunday Times’ calculations.

Open University Vice-Chancellor Professor Brenda Gourley welcomed news of the university’s ranking.
“Many students tell us each year how much they appreciate the quality of the Open University’s teaching materials and methods,” she said. “The university and its staff remain justifiably proud of our teaching quality and expertise that continue to help thousands of students fulfil their ambitions, develop their skills and knowledge, further their careers and get the most out of their studies.

“It is gratifying to see the impressive range of ‘excellent’ ratings that the university has achieved for teaching quality recognised in this way.”
The university has been positioned highly in other university league tables for teaching quality published by the national media. It also featured in the top ten in tables published by the Daily Telegraph (in July 2002) and by the Times Higher Education Supplement, a trade title for the university sector (August 2002).
The Open University is the UK’s largest university. More than 160,000 people across the country are currently studying with the OU; more than 40,000 people worldwide are also students. One in five of all part-time higher education students in the UK is studying with the Open University.

Would-be students looking for more information about the university can call 01908 653231 or log in at

More than 2,500 reports about university departments were prepared for the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education during the assessment period.
The top ten rankings in the Sunday Times University Guide 2003 league table of best marks for teaching (with percentage of subjects assessed since 1995 that are rated as ‘excellent’ in brackets) are held by: 1 Cambridge (96%); 2 Loughborough (94.74%); 3= London School of Economics (87.5%); 3= York (87.5%); 5 Open University (86.67%); 6 Oxford (85.71%); 7 Imperial College (81.82%); 8 University College London (77.42%); 9 Essex (76.92%); 10 St Mark and St John, Plymouth (75%).

Neil Coaten
Open University Media Relations
01908 652580

Gary Spink
Open University, head of Media Relations
01908 653343