Confusion as LPC ratings are published before completion

The Law Society has caused confusion by publishing new ratings of the LPC providers half way through the assessment period.

Although some schools have been told their new ratings, others have not yet been assessed.

Adding to the confusion, a new five-point grading system replaces the previous four-point assessment gradings. But the LPC institutions will not all be graded according to the new system until September 2001.

Pending approval of their new “very good” ratings by the LPC Board, the London Store Street and York branches of the College of Law are still published as “good”. However, this information is published against new “very good” ratings for Sheffield and Staffordshire universities, the only two course providers to have officially changed their rating.

As he is not at liberty to discuss unapproved ratings, Nigel Savage, chief executive of the College of Law, says: “We have received two visits this year and can’t wait to tell the world the results of those visits, but we are not permitted to do so until formal validation by the Law Society Committee.”

Some LPC providers are concerned that students receiving offers for LPC places this week are being presented with information which is not necessarily accurate as they cannot compare the institutions.

It is the first time that the ratings have been published and they appear on the Law Society’s website.

The Law Society has also approved the City LPC – the course for students with training contracts at the top eight City firms. It will be introduced from September 2001 at Nottingham Law School, the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice and BPP Law School. All the schools, however, will need to keep one third of places available for students who are not signed up by the eight firms.

Under the new system last year, Nottingham retained its excellent rating. Oxford is rated good, having lost its excellent rating last year under the new system. And BPP, which is also rated good, is to be assessed again next week. Areas of BPP’s course which the assessment says require consideration include teaching manual and assessment content, and the skills course focus.