St Mary’s University, Twickenham sets the gold standard for student experience

St Mary’s University, Twickenham (SMU) has received a Gold rating from the Office for Students (OfS) for student experience at the University in the latest Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). The rating acknowledges the student experience is ‘typically outstanding’ at SMU.

The University received a TEF Silver overall rating, meaning that delivery is typically very high quality, and was also rated Silver for Student Outcomes, recognising that student outcomes are typically very high quality also. The new TEF ratings last for four years.

Speaking of the result, St Mary’s Vice-Chancellor Anthony McClaran said, “It’s fantastic to see St Mary’s being awarded the highest accolade of Gold for student experience, further validating our brilliant results in this year’s National Student Survey.

“I am delighted that St Mary’s excellence as a university has once again been confirmed in the form of this tremendous set of TEF ratings. The findings of the OfS reflect our strategic investment to enhance the experience of students and the amazing work staff do to live our values, ensuring an outstanding student experience and supporting strong student outcomes.”

The University has seen great success in other recent independent rankings. St Mary’s was ranked 45th in the 2024 edition of the prestigious Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, which also rated the University fifth for Teaching Quality and seventh for Student Experience. Since 2021 SMU has seen a rise of 41 places in the Good University Guide, 25 places in the Complete University Guide and 30 places in the Guardian University Guide.

In its analysis of SMU, the TEF Panel noted that St Mary’s:

  • The panel judged there to be evidence of typically outstanding quality across the aspect as a whole.
  • The panel judged there to be compelling evidence in the provider and student submissions and the indicators that the very high quality and outstanding features apply to all the provider’s groups of students.

Speaking of the findings, St Mary’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer Prof Symeon Dagkas said, “The outcomes from TEF 2023 are fantastic, I am particularly proud that we have achieved a Gold rating for student experience and to have retained our Silver overall rating. I would like to thank colleagues across the University who consistently put students at the heart of all that they do and deliver an amazing experience and outcomes for our students.”

Students at SMU continue to rate their experience at the University highly as it received outstanding feedback from graduating students in the 2023 National Student Survey (NSS). SMU was rated in the top five in London in six key themes amongst higher education providers with university status (excluding specialist providers).

The University was rated top in London for Academic Support, with a rating of 89%, and second in London for Teaching on my Course, with a rating of 88%, almost three percent above the sector average. The survey found 94% of students said that staff were good at explaining things, the top score in London, and 87% said staff made their subjects engaging.

The 2024 edition of the Complete University Guide also rated the university in the top ten nationally for student satisfaction.

SMU was also the highest riser in the Times Higher Education Research Excellence Rankings, climbing 32 places since the previous edition. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, the majority of research submitted by St Mary’s was 4* World Leading or 3* Internationally Excellent in its originality, significance, and rigour. The University more than doubled its research rated by the REF in the top two three- and four-star classifications as compared to the previous research exercise in 2014.