IHE members take top three spots in new independent HE category at the 2018 Whatuni Student Choice Awards

IHE members have claimed the top three spots in the Independent Higher Education Award category at the 2018 Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs), as announced at an awards ceremony last night in London.

Point Blank Music School were the overall winners of the award, which was presented at the awards ceremony on Thursday 19 April by IHE CEO, Alex Proudfoot. Norland College and Futureworks came second and third respectively in the category.

whatuni awards - point blankOn average, providers in the Independent HE category also scored the highest of any category, with a mean score of 4.25 out of a maximumof 5.

This is the first time there has been an Independent Higher Education category within the WUSCAs, which expands eligibility for the awards to smaller and more specialist providers from the independent sector. The category ranked participating independent providers on their student experience scores from student ratings with the overall award going to the top-ranked institution.

Point Blank, the overall winners of the IHE Award, specialises in music production, with undergraduate degrees covering music production, sound engineering and DJ practice. Point Blank’s victory in the new category reflects the value that they, and all IHE member institutions, place on student satisfaction. Their innovative Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), which includes live tutorials and masterclass broadcasts, is especially valued by students who receive regular updates on their academic performance via the VLE. The school’s close links with the music industry, small group teaching and the emphasis placed on encouraging feedback from students are other key reasons behind their high student satisfaction.

IHE member Futureworks also took second place in the Best Prospective Student Engagement Award category, which was based on a submission judged by the Whatuni Student Advisory Board, made up of students from across the UK.

IHE Chief Executive, Alex Proudfoot said:

“Our members dedicate themselves to the learning experience and success of their students, so it is wonderful but no surprise to see them make such a splash in the first year of this award.

“Independent HE believes above all in the power of student choice, so we are delighted to support the only major HE awards chosen by students themselves. The new independent HE category shines a light on a diverse group of providers to show just how wide a choice students in the UK now have.”


  1. About Independent Higher Education 
    Independent Higher Education is the UK membership organisation and national representative body for independent providers of higher education, professional training and pathways.
  2. The full 2018 Whatuni Student Choice Awards results are available here: https://www.whatuni.com/student-awards-winners/university-of-the-year/
  3. For further information on the independent higher education sector, please see our report from The Independent Higher Education Survey 2017 which can be found here – http://independenthe.com/2017/07/13/the-independent-higher-education-survey-2017-full-report/
  4. For further information or interviews, please contact Joy Elliott-Bowman, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Independent Higher Education, on 020 7608 8453 or at joy@independenthe.com
  • On 20th April 2018