LEAGUE tables do not always provide a true reflection of the “strengths and weaknesses” of a university, the deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bolton has said after it was ranked among the bottom three in the country.

The University of Bolton was placed 121st — the same as last year — out of 123 institutions in the annual Complete University Guide.

The table ranks universities on nine areas — student satisfaction, research, entry standards, student to staff ratios, spending in academic services, spending facilities, the number of good honours degrees achieved, graduate prospects and completion rates.

But the university said it was focused on ensuring its students were ready to go into work after graduating.

Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Rob Campbell said: “As a university, we are constantly looking to improve ourselves and enhance our reputation, but of paramount importance to our institution is making sure our students are ready for employment when they graduate.

“The university is continually working towards employment outcomes for our students by investing in new on-campus, profession-focused degree courses and facilities.

"Working examples are our Centre for Advanced Performance Engineering (CAPE), home to Le Mans racing team, RLR Msport, and the new Ravat and Ray Dental Practice and clinical simulation services which recently opened in Bolton One.

“Such centres of industry excellence provide our students with the hands-on, practical skills they need for their chosen career, as well as providing a sound academic footing.

“University league tables are not always a reliable guide to an institution’s strengths and weaknesses.

“They measure performance on a specific range of criteria, many of which are not the main priority of modern, teaching-focused universities like Bolton.”

Top of the league, which was published online, was Cambridge University and bottom was London Metropolitan.

Principal author Dr Bernard Kingston said: “There was an official and fundamental review of the staff record data between the two years, while the old distinction between graduate and non-graduate employment has been replaced by one between professional and non-professional employment.”

He added that the rankings give would-be students “an accurate and independent guide to the UK university system”.