Hartpury was awarded gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework in 2018, just before gaining university status. The panel praised the institution for course design and assessment practices that provided a high level of stretch and challenge. It also highlighted the “inquiry-based” approach to teaching and learning and its “optimum contact hours, which secure high levels of engagement and commitment to learning and study from students”.
Students receive 15 hours per week of teaching contact time, and the university pledges that no more than two hours will be online. Most degrees include a work placement and many students have the option of an integrated placement year as part of their studies — compulsory on some courses.
The university has been ploughing plenty of investment into facilities. Equine students have access to a new £500,000 water treadmill facility, with fresh teaching and stabling resources, as well as the new equine and animal assisted activity area — a £730,000 arena for equine and canine research and training. The arena also hosts Hartpury’s international horse trial and dressage events — among them the FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale ) Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors. There is stabling for 230 horses — used by students for their learning and by equestrian athletes in training.
Students can even bring their own horse to university (not many places can say that). Hartpury also has a rider performance centre and equine therapy centre among provision.
Facilities for bovine studies include a dairy bull-beef rearing unit and a 296-cubicle dairy unit. An advanced dairy parlour on campus reduces milking times and improves hygiene and welfare for its 250-strong award-winning herd, while also providing hands-on experience for students. A herd of 50 pedigree Guernsey cattle are a recent addition and allow students to carry out research into the breed within an applied, commercial setting.
As part of a ten-year vision to turn its commercial Home Farm into an agri-tech pioneer, the university launched a dedicated Agri-Tech Centre in 2019 and has more recently opened the first of its Tech Box Park workshops for local agri-tech businesses, which also provide collaborative opportunities for students.
A strong record in student satisfaction has been re-established after a wobble last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic — understandable given the practical courseload. In our analysis of the latest National Student Survey (NSS), Hartpury ranks sixth for student satisfaction with teaching quality and 14th for the wider undergraduate experience.
Partnerships with more than 3,000 employers across agriculture, animal, equine, sport and veterinary nursing provide opportunities for students to benefit from field trips, careers events, work placements and live briefs. Two hundred events take place on campus too, from a qualifying dog agility competition to agricultural community events — offering opportunities for students to volunteer and get behind-the-scenes insights.
Nine out of every ten students come from a non-selective state school. Nearly half (45.3 per cent) are the first in their immediate family to go to university and 6.8 per cent have an ethnic minority background.
On campus the £9.8 million Graze student centre is a hub for food and drink outlets, social spaces and flexible learning areas. The ULH (University Learning Hub) opens in the 2023-24 academic year and will bring group work pods, open-plan social areas and quiet study zones as well as being the base for the library and careers services.
A £10 million sports academy opened in the centre of campus in 2019, and houses biomechanics and human performance laboratories, an anti-gravity treadmill, an altitude chamber, and high-speed cameras and digital mirrors to map body movement. There are also medical and physiotherapy rooms, a rehabilitation suite and a large multi-sports hall. A new performance gym opened in 2022. The sports academy is surrounded by eight grass and two rubber crumb pitches, while a golf driving range is by the entrance to campus. Hartpury University RFC recruits many students as players.
Most student bedrooms are on site and Hartpury endeavours to allocate student accommodation for first-years and international students, but does not offer a guarantee.