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UNIVERSITY Campus Oldham (UCO) is celebrating a fantastic set of results in the National Students Survey (NSS) 2021 – despite the impact of the pandemic across the sector.

UCO, the Higher Education faculty of Oldham College, has notched ratings that place it higher than any university in the Greater Manchester region for Student Satisfaction this year.

The NSS gathers students’ opinions about the quality of their courses from every UK university, plus colleges with HE provision,with learners answering 28 questions across eight different areas and rating their experience.

The HE sector has felt the impact of the pandemic which forced almost all learning to switch online this year and saw the sector’s overall satisfaction ratings drop to a UK average of 75.4 per cent (down 7.2 per cent on 2020).

UCO’s score was also affected* but now rates at 83.3 per cent – almost 8 per cent higher than the sector average.

UCO’s ratings across all eight questionnaire areas also outperformed the sector averages. In three of these – assessment and feedback, academic support, organisation and management – UCO is double-digit percentage scores ahead of the sector (16.3 per cent, 11.7 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively) and ranks in the top 10 per cent UK-wide.

Alun Francis, Oldham College Principal and Chief Executive, said: “This is a fabulous set of results for UCO showing that we deliver on student satisfaction, whatever the circumstances.

“These strong scores show learners ranking UCO above the UK sector averages across all eight assessed areas, and outperforming our large competitorsacross Greater Manchester.

“Most UCO students come from Oldham and the surrounding boroughs. We’ve always excelled in giving them a close-knit and supportive learning environment – and that clearly didn’t change despite most learning being switched online this year, as we were able to deliver innovative and engaging teaching in completely different ways.

“This augurs well for the future as increasing numbers of learners are starting to re-evaluate and look at their next steps differently. As well as offering significant savings in accommodation, travel and other costs, UCO helps students to fit studies around family life and other commitments, and it gives you something very different from costly residential-based courses at universities, where you often arrive as just one person in a cohort of hundreds.

“UCO has a great track record of high-achieving students** plus fantastic links with local and regional employers, and specialist tutors who have worked in senior positions in their field. It is developing the next generation of highly-skilled graduates through courses that are aligned to the economy and empowering them to make their mark in Oldham and beyond.”

UCO opened its doorsin 2005 and has been Oldham College’s Higher Education provision since 2012, helping thousands of students to achieve their goals at both Foundation Degree and full Honours Degree level.

UCO is expanding its offer to include an exciting new range of courses for September 2021 in areas including mental health, counselling and psychotherapy, policing, management and leadership, and project management– and it is also launching a new Masters in Education (Teaching and Learning).

It partners with globally recognised universities and institutions to deliver accredited qualifications at its town centre campus, including the Open University, Pearson, the Chartered Management Institute, University of Huddersfield, Sheffield Hallam University and UCLan.

The easiest way to find out more, or apply for a place, is to go direct to UCO either through the website at or by emailing the HE Admissions team at or calling 0161 344 8800. You can also request a VIP Tour of the facilities this summer or find out more about your options through these routes.

UCO rating
UCO compared to national averageCORE AREA
UCO rating
UCO compared to national average
The Teaching on my Course85.2%+5.3%Learning Opportunities85.2%+6.2%
Assessment and Feedback84.9%+16.3%Academic Support85.2%+11.7%
Organisation and Management 85.2%+15.5%Learning Community79.5%+13%
Student Voice79.9%+13.4%Learning Resources75.5%+1.9%
Overall Satisfaction83.3%+7.9%