ACADEMICS at Oxford Brookes University are celebrating after beating the stranglehold of the old guard among Britain's universities.

The university has become the first former polytechnic to finish above any of Britain's traditional universities in 'The Good University Guide' compiled by The Times Newspaper.

The placing will go a long way towards dispelling the myth that polytechnics were traditionally second division alongside premiership universities.

Oxford Brookes University, based in Headington, was rated as the top new university for the third year running - finishing 52nd out of a table of 96 universities in Britain.

Significantly the institution managed to squeeze in ahead of four traditional universities, Bradford, Ulster, Lampeter and Salford, for the first time.

The ratings were based on a number of factors including independent assessment of teaching and research quality. The graduate employment rate was another factor. Deputy vice-chancellor Professor Peter Fidler said: "I'm delighted that the achievements of our dedicated and talented students and staff have been recognised in this way.

"At Brookes we aim to provide our students with excellent teaching, in a friendly environment, informed by quality research. I believe the ranking reflects that."

Prof Fidler also paid tribute to the wider community, saying: "We would not be the success story we are without the support of the city and the region: the schools, councils, charities, hospitals businesses and, most of all, the people."

The results are also good news for Oxford University.

In a recent merit league table compiled by the Financial Times, the University's elite position appeared to be slipping after it was squeezed into third place behind Cambridge and Imperial College, London.

In the Good University Guide the university finishes in second place overall, behind Cambridge, but ahead of Imperial College.

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