Students vote Leeds top three in the UK

The Facilities Directorate has helped the University of Leeds rise to third place in the UK in a major survey that asks students about their experience while studying. Leeds is also the highest ranked among the Russell Group of research-intensive universities and scores highly for its campus environment, facilities and extra-curricular activities.

The Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey goes beyond the usual measures to ask students about the details of university life that matter to them the most.

Professor Tom Ward, Deputy-Vice-Chancellor: Student Education said: “This position is a wonderful tribute to the staff and students that make Leeds what it is: a University that excels in the quality of its teaching, its research, its international offer and – as this result testifies – in the way it nurtures its students by creating a supportive and friendly environment.

“I’ve been talking to and hearing about staff and students all over the University who consistently go the extra mile to get the most out of their time here and to help others to do the same. I am thrilled for them that Leeds has got this recognition.

“The key is working together. We might have one of the largest campuses in the UK but we foster a small community feel. I think it’s something that we do very well indeed, and it’s great to receive this endorsement from our students.”


Our impact across the Facilities Directorate

Whilst the University came third overall, it came second for its facilities (up one place from last year) and also second for its societal experience (up nine places from last year).

Here are some stand-out success stories from across the Facilities Directorate that have helped make Leeds top 3 for student experience.

Coaching our sports scholars

‘You get a much more rounded education at Leeds’

Second-year History student Harry Brown is a sports scholar who has been mentored by Head of Football, Steve Grimes.

The pair’s paths first crossed eight years ago, when Steve coached Harry at Manchester City Academy. Harry went on to sign for York City, but when his playing career didn’t progress, Steve was there to support him once more, this time encouraging him to apply to study at Leeds.

Harry now coaches several of the senior teams and works with a junior academy to pass on his knowledge to children aged four to 14.

Steve says: “I’ve seen him grow from a young player into a young man. He has been a great success here and I’m very proud to see him progress the way he has.”

Harry is equally full of praise for the support he has received from Steve. He adds: “Coaching has given my confidence a massive boost, and having someone like Steve as a mentor has been a big part of this. I can go to him for advice on anything and my leadership skills have really grown.

“The great thing about being a sports scholar is I’m not just sat in a library scrolling through books all the time. It’s not just about getting a good degree – you get a much more rounded education at Leeds.”

Mentoring and sharing our skills

‘Leeds is perfect for me’

Holly Smith’s dream of becoming a police officer has moved several steps closer since meeting University police officer PC Becky Hurrell.

The second-year Law student decided to do a degree to give herself options and chose Leeds because she could specialise in policing in the third year.

She also wanted to go to a Russell Group university close to where she grew up in West Yorkshire. “Leeds is perfect for me,” she says.

PC Hurrell works with student volunteers such as Holly in the local community.

“Working with Becky has built up my confidence so much, and now I’m applying to be a Special Constable, which will be a great step on the path to becoming a police officer.”

“Mentoring Holly is easy because she’s clever!” says Becky.

Supporting our students with food demonstrations

‘Student support at Leeds is really good’

The International Student Office helped first-year Sustainability and Environmental Management student Felisha Chong to get involved with University life. She signed up to a food demonstration run by the Office and Great Food At Leeds to celebrate Lunar New Year. Felisha said: “I want to understand more about the University and to meet new people. Student support at Leeds is really good.”

“Taking part in events like food demonstrations is fun and a good way to feel a part of what is happening at Leeds.”

Earlier this month, Leeds was also recognised as one of the most international universities in a new ranking – also published by Times Higher Education – which places the institution among the top 50 in the world. Leeds has risen more than 100 places this year to be ranked at 47th place.

Escaping from academic pressures

‘Everyone is so friendly and supportive’

Liberty Anstead credits volunteering as a key part of her student life. She helps out at Rooted – Leeds University Union’s community food project – which supports sustainability and local biodiversity, improves employability skills for students and creates strong links between them, the University and the wider community.

Speaking in the sustainable roof garden greenhouse, Kate Kirkpatrick, a part-time project assistant with Rooted, says: “There is an incredible sense of calm and wellbeing here, which students find really attractive.

“It can be daunting moving away from home to University. You can get stuck in the bubble of student life, but this is the perfect escape from all the academic pressures you can face.”

Liberty, a second year English and Music student, says: “I come here because it’s so relaxing and meditative.”

“I love working with Kate and the rest of the team.Everyone is so friendly and supportive.”

Read more

This year’s overall score is comprised of scores from the past three years, which has seen Leeds rise from sixth place in 2016, fourth in 2017 and now enters the top three for the first time.

Read more about the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey and the University’s ranking here.