Oxford has lost its place in the top two of the Guardian’s university league tables, and now sits behind Cambridge and St Andrews.

Oxford’s lower ranking is a result of its poor performance in affordability and graduate outcomes, where it ranked 24th nationwide. However, Oxford retained its traditionally strong performance in maths and medicine.

St Andrews beat Oxford by just 0.3% points in the Guardian’s rankings, at 97.6 to Cambridge’s 100. Oxford has the lowest student to staff ratio of the top three, but the highest expenditure per student.

Sally Mapstone, vice-chancellor and principal of St Andrews, said: “For a small Scottish university to be competing among the very best universities in the United Kingdom says much for the strengths of research-led teaching and student experience across the sector north of the border,” Mapstone said.

“This ranking bears contemplation simply because it describes a point in time on St Andrews’s journey, a signpost of the advances we have made in the measures by which the Guardian judges the quality of an institution – and where we might go from here.”

The fact that Oxford scored highest on student expenditures, tied with University of the Arts London, is likely to raise concerns about accessibility in the wake of yesterday’s release of the University’s 2019 access report.

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