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The south's winners and losers of new university ranking system

Eight weeks today A-level students will find out if they've got into the universities of their choice.

But in the future the quality of higher education will be judged under a new grading system - the first results of that released today with a few shocks and surprises for universities here in our region.

The new system claims to focus on teaching and - not the quality of research - at the institute. It also puts a fair amount of weight on the students' views.

But it's already proving controversial with claims it's flawed and damaging - as our Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford explains.

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The south east's winners and losers of new university ranking system

Eight weeks today A-level students will find out if they've got into the universities of their choice.

But in the future the quality of higher education will be judged under a new grading system - the first results of that released today with a few shocks and surprises for universities here in our region.

The new system claims to focus on teaching and - not the quality of research - at the institute. It also puts a fair amount of weight on the students' views.

But it's already proving controversial with claims it's flawed and damaging - as our Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford explains.

Pride of Britain Awards returns for 2017

Nominations are now open for the 2017 ITV Fundraiser of the Year – part of the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards.

We’re looking for people with an inspirational story to tell – individuals who’ve really made a difference to others through their creative or tireless fundraising efforts.

We had two regional winners in the Meridian region last year - both going on to the final.

Last year, ITV Meridian West's winner was Tom Newton from Blandford in Dorset. He juggled several jobs including being a retained firefighter but found time to set up a charity rock festival in memory of his little brother. It's called 'Teddy Rocks' and, at the time of his win, it had so far raised more than £200,000.

Last year, ITV Meridian East's winner was David Newstead from Culverstone Green, near Meopham in Kent. David set up the Friends of Shelby Newstead fund in aid of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (GOSH) after it cared for his daughter, Shelby, who had been diagnosed with cancer as a his baby. She survived. Over the last 20 years, David and his team have raised an incredible £500,000 for GOSH.

Your nominee will first be considered in the ITV Regional News round of selection. Each regional winner gets to attend the star-studded Pride of Britain Awards in London, where one of the regional winners will be crowned UK Fundraiser 2017.

Your nominee must be 16 years old or over as of 22 June 2017.

Nominations close at 23:59 on Friday 25 August 2017.

If you’ve got someone in mind, head to itv.com/prideofbritain and follow the links to nominate.

Terms and conditions can be found here.

Port expands creating 200 new jobs

A 50 million pound expansion at the Port of Sheerness should create 200 new jobs, according to operators Peel Ports.

The former Thamesteel site, which had been derelict for five years, is being redeveloped allowing the port to expand it's cargo imports. 350 people lost their jobs there when the plant closed in 2012.

Demolition of the old buildings is now nearly complete which means work can begin this summer. Sarah Saunders reports.

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Four universities celebrate government's "Gold" rating - while two others don't make the grade

Four universities in the Meridian region are celebrating being awarded prestigious 'gold' ratings in the government’s first assessment of teaching excellence in higher education.

The Universities of Oxford, Portsmouth, Kent and Surrey all achieved the highest category for the quality of their teaching and learning.

In contrast the University of Southampton - which is a Russell Group university and has traditionally performed well in university league tables - has been given a bronze, putting it in the bottom quarter:

It is hard to have confidence in a Teaching Excellence Framework which appears devoid of any meaningful assessment of teaching.

I know I am not alone in having deep concerns about its subjective assessment, its lack of transparency, and with different benchmarks for each institution removing any sense of equity and equality of assessment. "

Our own student satisfaction metrics, including satisfaction with teaching, are better than some of those universities who have been awarded Silver and Gold today. This was a pilot scheme and there are serious lessons to be learned if the TEF is to gain public confidence.”

– Sir Christopher Snowden, President and Vice Chancellor of Southampton

It's a double blow for the city of Southampton because its second university - Southampton Solent - which prides itself on its vocational teaching and the employability of its students - was also given a bronze.

A total of 295 universities and colleges took part in the TEF.

59 providers were rated gold, 116 silver and 56 bronze. The performance of universities including student drop out rates, student satisfaction and whether or not students were in graduate level jobs six months after finishing their courses were analysed.

Universities were benchmarked so their outcomes were only compared with similar universities.

The Vice Chancellor of Portsmouth Professor Graham Galbraith said he was delighted with the gold rating - and that judging universities by their teaching was long overdue:

It does seem rather preposterous that we have never had any official government assessment of the quality of teaching before now.

The main purpose of universities is providing education to students. It is a good thing that we are now trying to measure it and I think it will have an impact because it will shuffle universities and resort them in the pecking order."

– Professor Graham Galbraith, ice Chancellor of Portsmouth

Here are the full results for Universities in the Meridian region.

  • University of Oxford - GOLD
  • University of Surrey - GOLD
  • University of Kent - GOLD
  • University of Buckingham (private) - GOLD
  • University of Portsmouth - GOLD
  • Arts University - Bournemouth - GOLD
  • University of Surrey - GOLD
  • Oxford Brookes University - SILVER
  • University of Reading - SILVER
  • University of Winchester - SILVER
  • Bournemouth University - SILVER
  • University of Brighton - SILVER
  • University of Chichester - SILVER
  • University of Sussex - SILVER
  • Canterbury Christchurch University - SILVER
  • Buckinghamshire New University - BRONZE
  • University of Southampton - BRONZE
  • Southampton Solent University- BRONZE
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