BPTC satisfaction survey results: student happiness surprisingly unrelated to chances of pupillage success

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By Alex Aldridge on

Bar course experience better in the regions — even if life afterwards often isn’t


Wannabe barristers studying the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at regional law schools like Nottingham Trent, Northumbria and UWE are more satisfied than those at providers in London with a higher pupillage success rate.

Despite the abysmal odds faced by students at bar courses in the provinces — for example, only 3% of Northumbria’s BPTC students from 2011-13 bagged a pupillage according to the Bar Standards Board — they’re surprisingly chirpy, rating their BPTC experience as ‘good’ in Legal Cheek‘s bar student satisfaction survey.

The bar courses at BPP University and the University of Law (ULaw) — whose London centres have pupillage success rates of 27% and 21% respectively — both received lower satisfaction ratings, albeit still within the ‘good’ range.

The popular BPTC at City University, meanwhile, only achieved an overall ‘average’ score (although it was rated ‘good’ in five out of eight categories). City also has a pupillage success rate of 21%, according to the latest figures.

All the law schools predominantly based in London struggled particularly in the ‘value for money’ category, scoring in the low end of the ‘average’ range. Interestingly, though, the ‘value for money’ scores were worse for some LPC courses (see the LPC student satisfaction survey results).

Another area of differing results was ‘social life’. While the regional students rated this aspect of their courses highly (within the high end of the ‘good’ range), wannabe barristers at BPP, ULaw and City deemed it firmly within the ‘average’ bracket.

In total, 83 current BPTC students completed the survey — 21 from BPP, 20 from ULaw, 22 from City and 20 from the smaller providers.

The full results are below. Please note that for the ‘weighted average’ figure shown in the graphs, the lower the score the better — with one ‘excellent’, two ‘good’, three ‘average’, four ‘quite bad’ and five ‘awful’.

City University

Overall weighted average: 3.05 (Average — top end)
Number of students surveyed: 22



BPP University

Overall weighted average: 2.86 (Good — lower end)
Number of students surveyed: 21



The University of Law

Overall weighted average: 2.82 (Good — lower end)
Number of students surveyed: 20



Smaller providers

Overall weighted average: 2.38 (Good — mid range)
Number of students surveyed: 20



Smaller provider breakdown: UWE (6), Northumbria (5), Manchester Met (5) and Nottingham Trent (4).

Read the GDL satisfaction survey results here and the LPC satisfaction survey results here.