1. ITV Report

More students than ever before leaving with first class degrees- but is it a good thing?


It's graduation season at universities right across the region and more proud and excited students than ever before are leaving with first class degrees.

But not everyone is convinced its a good thing. The abundance of top awards has been criticised by the government and the student regulator who say it risks undermining the reputation and prestige of our Higher Education sector.

  • Watch this report by our Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford who's been asking graduates and parents at the University of Surrey what they think:

It's a day for everyone to celebrate all the hard work that has gone before, and these days that's much more likely to result in top honours than in the past.

Here at the University of Surrey the number of firsts which require a mark of 70 or above has risen from around 23% in 2011 to nearly 45% last year.

University of Oxford
University of Sussex
University of Southampton
The number of firsts which require a mark of 70 or above has risen Credit: ITV Meridian

The government fears awarding so many risks undermining the reputation of our world class Higher Education system and is threatening fines to those who don't bring it down.

  • Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive- Office for Students:

However, university bosses say not only are students working harder, they're being better taught and are more aware of what's needed to get top grades.

  • Jane Powell, Vice Provost for Education:

The degree classification landscape may be shifting but parental pride on the big day remains constant.

They think their sons and daughters achievements are first class regardless.