McCartney Uni sees number of firsts given soar

LIPA Credit: PA

A performing arts college co-founded by Sir Paul McCartney has seen the proportion of firsts given out to students more than double in the last five years.

The proportion of degrees given the highest award by the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) rose by 22.3 percentage points between 2010/11 and 2015/16, with more than a third (37%) earning the top honour last year.

In 2010/11, 14.6% of degrees were a first.

It means that LIPA, co-founded by the former Beatle in his home city in 1996, saw the biggest rise in firsts during this five-year period out of all UK universities and colleges, according to a Press Association analysis of official data.

A LIPA spokesman said:

The TEF was introduced by the last government in a bid to gain more evidence about teaching and learning in UK universities, with proposals to link quality to tuition fee increases. Institutions which took part were given a bronze, silver or gold rating.

The analysis, based on information for 148 universities and colleges with comparable data, and excluding "unclassified" degrees, also shows that among larger, mainstream institutions, Surrey University had the largest increase in firsts, with the proportion doubling from almost a fifth (19.3%) in 2010/11 to more than two fifths (41.2%) in 2015/16.

Surrey's vice-provost for education and students, Professor Jane Powell, said:

EA pro vice-chancellor (academic) Professor Neil Ward said: