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British Fencing
-13th February 2012, 23:14
http://britishfencing.com/international/world_junior_cadet_championships_moscow/

The International Youth Committee congratulates the following fencers, their coaches and clubs, for their selection to the GBR Team for the World Cadet and Junior Championships 2012.

The GBR team is supported by Beazley


Great Britain Team for the Cadet World Championships 2012 Moscow, Russia
Epee

Harry Peck

Lawrence Peplow

Tomas Curran-Jones

Reserve Harrison Nichols

Elisabeth Powell

Ellie Cormack

Francesca Summers

Reserve Rebecca Mayle


Sabre

Jonathan Webb also 4th for J team

Jack Horrix

Rubin Amsalem

Reserve William Deary

Emily Ruaux

Kate Dayki

Kiera Sleeman

Reserve Jessica Lewis

Foil

Jai Birch

George Bailey

John Feaster

Reserve Rajan Rai

Leah King

Stephanie Collister

Ayesha Fihosy

Reserve Ife Kubler


International Youth Committee 5.2.12


Great Britain Team for the Junior World Championships 2012, Moscow, Russia


JWF Leah King

JMF Alex Tofalides Kristjan Archer Amol Rattan Reserve George Hendrie

JWE Caitlin Chang

JME Jack Hudson Philip Marsh James Frewin reserve Chris Hay and 4th for team

JWS Aliya Itzkowitz

JMS Curtis Miller Soji Aiyenuro Harry Boteler Reserve Kirk Slankard 4th for team Jonathan Webb


Officials for Cadet and Junior Championships

Chef de Mission Alan Rapley

Team Managers Maggie Lloyd-Jones

Pat Aiyenuro

Eileen Hamilton

Daniel Redshaw



Coaches Foil Pierre Harper

Sabre (Cadets) Rob Partridge (Juniors) Ian Williams

Epee (Cadets) Jamie Miller (Juniors) tbc



International Youth Committee

9.2.12

Foilling Around
-14th February 2012, 08:37
Very sad that we can only qualify one female fencer in each discipline at Junior level. The standard of effectively 1 x L32 and 1 x L64 in reasonable strength event is not that high.

I am not criticising the fencers, but systemically we cannot be getting it right for female fencers. Hopefully the academy system over the next few years can begin to address that.

And of course congratulations to all of those who have been selected

Crimson Blade
-14th February 2012, 12:04
Although I agree with FA - it is sad that only one female fencer in each discipline at Junior level has qualified - I think it's important that everyone understands that the vast majority of these fencers are in examination years and hence are prioritising academia over sport (after all, these girls aren't going to make a living from fencing) which will undoubtedly have an effect on their performance as well as their ability to attend training sessions.
Unfortunately, I doubt the academy at any level could help in this situation beyond attempting to lecture the fencers about combining academia and sport... I do believe this would be something that would be very valuable to all fencers but in reality, the academy would then be attempting to juggle (in my opinion) too many different aspects - and would probably then have to employ EVEN more staff.

Aside from that, I would like to say well done to all the fencers who qualified and say a special good luck to the JME team which I believe has a very strong medal contention this year!

JohnL
-14th February 2012, 12:33
I think it's important that everyone understands that the vast majority of these fencers are in examination years and hence are prioritising academia over sport (after all, these girls aren't going to make a living from fencing) which will undoubtedly have an effect on their performance as well as their ability to attend training sessions.


And there are no other countries that have youths of this age juggling sports and academics!!!

I suggest you look at the article that was in the recent american fencing magazine. It was linked on another thread for different reasons. In it, there is a profile on Lee Kiefer. She's 17, in her senior year at HS, is an honors student, and is anticipating going to a top college. It looks like her study majors will be sciences which are possibly the toughest to graduate with. Her academic friends call her a jock and her fencing friends call her a geek. In the meantime she is currently ranked 5th in the world (Senior) at WF.

Many other US fencers seem o find a balance also.

I suggest you stop making excuses for our youngsters.

The remainder of the world seems to balance between sports, academics, and jobs. Our youngsters I'm afraid don't put in the effort required.

Hansei
-14th February 2012, 13:17
And there are no other countries that have youths of this age juggling sports and academics!!!

I suggest you look at the article that was in the recent american fencing magazine. It was linked on another thread for different reasons. In it, there is a profile on Lee Kiefer. She's 17, in her senior year at HS, is an honors student, and is anticipating going to a top college. It looks like her study majors will be sciences which are possibly the toughest to graduate with. Her academic friends call her a jock and her fencing friends call her a geek. In the meantime she is currently ranked 5th in the world (Senior) at WF.

Many other US fencers seem o find a balance also.

I suggest you stop making excuses for our youngsters.

The remainder of the world seems to balance between sports, academics, and jobs. Our youngsters I'm afraid don't put in the effort required.

How, exactly, do you know that "our youngsters" aren't putting in the required effort? In what sense do you believe their efforts are lacking?

Whilst I share your sentiment that we should not be making excuses, I think you are conflating too very different academic and sporting cultures.

The provision for high level sports people in both UK schools and universities is no where near as great as that of their American counterparts. Further, (as was noted in the other thread which you reference) the cultural approach towards sport in Britain is, too a very large extent, far less performance orientated than in America; that is to say, emphasis is upon participation, rather than results and sporting performance by children/young adults is given much great emphasis in America, where it is an important component in a successful university application. In the British university system, a successful application relies much less heavily (perhaps almost not at all for some of the top Universities) on sporting performance. Hence the decision by young British sports people to prioritise their studies and to "neglect"/"postpone" their sporting ambitions and interests is more understandable.

Finally, even if a young British fencer was to dedicate themselves totally to their fencing, there are several other barriers which would stand in their way of reaching a level such as Lee Kiefer's which you cite. Evidence of these additional difficulties can be seen in the way that several senior fencers (across a variety of weapons) have chosen to become a "full time" fencer, yet have not reached the same world ranking.

wide eagle
-14th February 2012, 14:00
Although I doubt the academy at any level could help in this situation beyond attempting to lecture the fencers about combining academia and sport... I do believe this would be something that would be very valuable to all fencers but in reality, the academy would then be attempting to juggle (in my opinion) too many different aspects - and would probably then have to employ EVEN more staff.
[QUOTE]
I thought the academy at filton college (now south Gloucestershire and Stroud College) was meant so that students could combine both studies and sport? Thought it seams fencers are not too interested in that option compared to the other sports.

[QUOTE=Hansei;259108]
.Finally, even if a young British fencer was to dedicate themselves totally to their fencing, there are several other barriers which would stand in their way of reaching a level such as Lee Kiefer's which you cite. Evidence of these additional difficulties can be seen in the way that several senior fencers (across a variety of weapons) have chosen to become a "full time" fencer, yet have not reached the same world ranking.
I think JohnL was just using Lee Kiefer to illustrate a point. As you say there is a big difference between the UK and the USA both academically and sport wise and that does mean that are fencers have more barriers in front of them but I don’t think that means are young fencers cant achieve success if they work hard at there fencing, an obvious example would be Phil Marsh he seams to be doing pretty well at the moment.
Like JohnL I believe that the exam excuse is used too much, in my mind you cant say “yes I seriously want to go and compete at the worlds” to then say “oh no my exams got in the way and stopped me” you know when the competitions are so surely you could work around that, even if that means getting up a hour earlier to do some revision to allow room for training. I know a lad who is doing 5 A-levels and still managing to train 3-4 times a week as well as getting the top grades in his exams (he’s at the commonwealths’ this week and still getting work done) So it can be done if you really want it.

Gav
-14th February 2012, 15:00
Surely we should be directing the participants in this thread to Dealing with Failure (http://www.fencingforum.com/forum/showthread.php?16309-Dealing-with-failure&p=259110)?

Ronald Velden
-14th February 2012, 16:30
There are many factors, which impact on the failure of women to succeed in fencing in Britain and also elsewhere as well.

1. Britain's cultural attitude to women competing in sport. The problem exists outside fencing as well.
2. Intelligent women are more likely to focus on studies and examinations.
3. Women tend to be more social than their male counterparts. Having to travel and compete most weekends impacts on this.
4. Competitive women are not always good friends or companions.They can be quite bitchy.
5. The womens talent base in most clubs in Britain is very small and limited. A competitive woman has to train with men and
that is not always ideal, because the tempo is very different.
6. Another consequence is that women may need to travel long distances to find a suitable club. That was certainly a problem
for many parents when my daughter fenced.
7. Many of Britain's top coaches are very chauvinistic.
8. The talent base for each weapon has shrunken with introduction of Epee in 1996 and Sabre in 2004 as Olympic weapon.

Tubby
-14th February 2012, 17:58
Can't talk for any other parents but as the parent of a junior female fencer who has just gone to university we have had to take hard economic decisions about daughter's competition calendar.

We looked at the calendar and decided she could only go to one nominated o/s comp as that is all we could afford. So it was one shot to qualify, sh1t or bust, so to speak. I know that not all the girls went to all the nominated o/s comps for their own reasons.

It is also fair to say that daughter does not train anything like Lee Kiefer. Had there been an ability here in the UK to get a full ride ticket through university I would have been flogging her harder!

ED_R
-14th February 2012, 18:01
From the point of view of coping with studies and fencing there was a programme - IExcel - which was supposed to help good sports people manage both.

It didnt really seem to work however - it seemed difficult to interest the school. From listening to parents who enrolled, many seemed to find that the schools didnt want concessions made to academic achievement. Fencing definitely comes (at least) second.

I do not know whether the US have more support for combining fencing and academic work, but I wonder whether the conflict is solved by having more money.

I think the limited resource is time. The better organised the fencing club/academy is, and the better organised the school is, the more likely it is that a fencer can do both.


Competitive women are...quite bitchy

Many of Britain's top coaches are very chauvinistic.

lol

Hungry Hippo
-14th February 2012, 18:46
I suggest you look at the article that was in the recent American fencing magazine. It was linked on another thread for different reasons. In it, there is a profile on Lee Kiefer. She's 17, in her senior year at HS, is an honors student, and is anticipating going to a top college. It looks like her study majors will be sciences which are possibly the toughest to graduate with. Her academic friends call her a jock and her fencing friends call her a geek. In the meantime she is currently ranked 5th in the world (Senior) at WF.

Hardly a valid comparison, for reasons that have been widely discussed on this forum. John, your posts on here usually make a lot of sense, but this isn’t one of them.


I thought the academy at Filton college (now south Gloucestershire and Stroud College) was meant so that students could combine both studies and sport? Thought it seams fencers are not too interested in that option compared to the other sports.

I don't think this was particularly for academics, my youngster was turned down for doing too many A-levels!


Can't talk for any other parents but as the parent of a junior female fencer who has just gone to university we have had to take hard economic decisions about daughter's competition calendar.

Spot-on! Until BF casts it's funding net wider (and that ain't gonna happen in a hurry), many of our youngsters will not be able to afford international trips, and will find difficulty making the grade because of this.

My fencing child is one of only three children, for whom I made the decision to put them into a fee-paying school that is not cheap, because their education comes first. If extra-curricular activities survive this process, which is particularly difficult when they are at their best Junior fencing years, then best of luck to them.

However, our system in this country, both educational and fencing, is not conducive to running the two together to an extremely high level, and with that being the case, the education will always come first.

wide eagle
-14th February 2012, 19:35
I don't think this was particularly for academics, my youngster was turned down for doing too many A-levels!





Really??? How many did they want to do? I know that you can do the academy/AASE program with up to 5. Cant see how someone could cope with more though fair enough if they did.

jmayle
-14th February 2012, 20:05
Really??? How many did they want to do? I know that you can do the academy/AASE program with up to 5. Cant see how someone could cope with more though fair enough if they did.

It was no more than 4 A levels and it could not be taken in conjunction with the first year of uni which put out most of the 1994 birthdays, I know for a fact that quite a lot of the more academic fencers, certainly in epee, couldn't be included.

Red
-14th February 2012, 23:09
Going back to the 'not putting in the effort' point, how many of our top juniors are actually putting in anywhere near 20 hours/week training?

wide eagle
-14th February 2012, 23:32
It was no more than 4 A levels and it could not be taken in conjunction with the first year of uni which put out most of the 1994 birthdays, I know for a fact that quite a lot of the more academic fencers, certainly in epee, couldn't be included.
Sorry should have made that more clear, what i meant by academy at Filton was the Bristol Academy of sport, the full time one.

JohnL
-15th February 2012, 01:50
There are many factors, which impact on the failure of women to succeed in fencing in Britain and also elsewhere as well.

1. Britain's cultural attitude to women competing in sport. The problem exists outside fencing as well.
2. Intelligent women are more likely to focus on studies and examinations.
3. Women tend to be more social than their male counterparts. Having to travel and compete most weekends impacts on this.
4. Competitive women are not always good friends or companions.They can be quite bitchy.
5. The womens talent base in most clubs in Britain is very small and limited. A competitive woman has to train with men and
that is not always ideal, because the tempo is very different.
6. Another consequence is that women may need to travel long distances to find a suitable club. That was certainly a problem
for many parents when my daughter fenced.
7. Many of Britain's top coaches are very chauvinistic.
8. The talent base for each weapon has shrunken with introduction of Epee in 1996 and Sabre in 2004 as Olympic weapon.

I'm sorry Ron, but all but #1 apply to the uS as well as any other number of countries that succeed at fencing. (and other sports)

Jacdaw
-15th February 2012, 06:09
I suppose that junior fencers are not doing more as fencing is hard to make a living out of! This aspect puts a wide range off fencing so they concentrate on academics so they can actually get a job, as jobs don't come easy nowadays! Speaking as a junior myself I would like to see the funding for juniors to be more organised so we can actually see what BF are doing with the cash!

Ronald Velden
-15th February 2012, 07:22
John L

Several years ago I attempted to create in the foil hall at Camden a 'balanced programme' where 50% of class recruited were
girls. Initially it was successful, but ultimately failed for the reasons I have expressed.

Personally I would like to see a greater effort made to bring in more girls into the sport, but whether that will produce more
competitive,dedicated and successful fencers is debatable.

I do have some insight into the programmes in USA, because my daughter was possibly the first British fencer in modern era
to train there in 1998 and 2001. Whilst it is true that they produce more girls who fence and have precocious talent their track record in retaining them is rather poor. Very few including Iris Zimmerman,Ament,Ward and Jacobson sisters lasted the distance.

Hansei
-15th February 2012, 08:32
Our youngsters I'm afraid don't put in the effort required.


How, exactly, do you know that "our youngsters" aren't putting in the required effort? In what sense do you believe their efforts are lacking?


JohnL:

I would still like to know in what respect you believe the efforts of our youngsters are lacking.

JohnL
-15th February 2012, 12:10
John L

Several years ago I attempted to create in the foil hall at Camden a 'balanced programme' where 50% of class recruited were
girls. Initially it was successful, but ultimately failed for the reasons I have expressed.

Personally I would like to see a greater effort made to bring in more girls into the sport, but whether that will produce more
competitive,dedicated and successful fencers is debatable.

I do have some insight into the programmes in USA, because my daughter was possibly the first British fencer in modern era
to train there in 1998 and 2001. Whilst it is true that they produce more girls who fence and have precocious talent their track record in retaining them is rather poor. Very few including Iris Zimmerman,Ament,Ward and Jacobson sisters lasted the distance.

To be honest Ron, I don't mind whether girls or boys come into the sport. I actually agree with you with regard to US retention of fencers. As previously discussed, the US puts extreme efforts into sports while the children are young, going through school, and college. After that, they're pretty much on their own, hence the large drop out rates.

However what this does do is produce athletes that can compete successfully at cadet and junior level. These cadets/juniors can (some) tranlate their success into senior levels while still at a relatively young age. Once they have reached that level, after college the retention rate is less important as you only need to retain a few top athletes at WC level.

Gav
-15th February 2012, 12:19
I was reading recently of the concern that USFA is increasingly focused on youth fencing. It seems that many in the wider fencing community think that is a major handicap and will hurt them as a group in the longer term.

Ronald Velden
-15th February 2012, 13:02
John L

I think that retention rates are exceedingly important particularly at international level. Retention of mature athletes translates into experience.

If I take a look at womens foil many of the top ten were either the same age as my daughter now 29 eg Di Francisca or older
eg Vezzali.

The one country, which has produced good standard cadets and juniors who has failed to translate them consistently into successful seniors is the United States.

The only fencer in the last 10-12 years who continued to compete for any length of time as an adult was Erinn Smart. All
the others including Zimmerman sisters,Cavan,Ament,Leahy [who learned to fence in London],Thompson sisters and Cross have all dropped out. In some cases they were frankly one or two year wonders

randomsabreur
-15th February 2012, 14:18
I'd guess part of the US retention issue is one of annual leave. You get 10 days in the US (+ some "sick" days, which I am aware of fencers taking to do competitions. Even with UK employers' more generous leave policies, I found I really had take little or no holiday that was not fencing related, which wasn't exactly ideal as it does tend to leave you a little worn out/stressed. What is more, if you take 1 or 2 days in a week, you tend to need to do all that week's work in the days that are left - if you take a week or so off, you sort out someone to cover. This got worse as competitions internationally switched to being Friday/Saturday for the individuals meaning 2 days off per competiton (for European comps).

Yes, competitive women can be very b*tchy. I don't particularly like the person I become when fencing - it's quite hard to switch from being best friends with someone to looking for the weaknesses, trying to shake their belief in their attacks/defense (the hit on preparation/drop short cycle) and being as tough as you can. Women do tend to hold grudges longer than men.

Not had any issues with chauvinist coaches, but finding suitable training opponents can be hard (unless you're in one of the major centres for that weapon). WS being the least "evolved" of the women's weapons is probably the closest to the men's in timing (but is heading its own way - the timing is much trickier, there's more subtle mind games going on than in MS from what I've seen. MS is generally power, timing and accelleration based, and the actions are generally the well (to perfectly) exectuted simple actions. There's a lot more second (and third) intention in the WS side of things - which there just isn't time to play with in MS.

Equally, given a distinct lack of money in the sport, quite a lot of more academically minded fencers will take a cynical look at the future and prioritise the academics. Yes it is doable, possibly less so now L6 is more exam focussed than it used to be, but with sensible A-Level choices (no essay/project based subjects - choose sciences/maths/languages rather than English/Drama/Art/DT) it can be done, with a bit of selectiveness to competitions. I sailed a bit close to the wind a few times- Cole right before law school finals was probably the most idiotic, especially given the painkillers required to deal with bruised should from a few guard encounters. Equally tight (and would have got me banned for the rest of the year had I made a hash of the mock exam) was the JA in France the weekend before a maths mock, which after one of the team made the finals and got drug tested plus the weather got entertaining, meaning the eta of 8pm at Dover became 2am. Home 5am, on way to school 8am, mock at 10am was a little on the dubious side. My school (academically selective) were supportive, but that support (allowing time off for travel to competitions) would have disappeared had my grades started slipping!

Crimson Blade
-15th February 2012, 16:23
And there are no other countries that have youths of this age juggling sports and academics!!!

I suggest you look at the article that was in the recent american fencing magazine. It was linked on another thread for different reasons. In it, there is a profile on Lee Kiefer. She's 17, in her senior year at HS, is an honors student, and is anticipating going to a top college. It looks like her study majors will be sciences which are possibly the toughest to graduate with. Her academic friends call her a jock and her fencing friends call her a geek. In the meantime she is currently ranked 5th in the world (Senior) at WF.

Many other US fencers seem o find a balance also.

I suggest you stop making excuses for our youngsters.

The remainder of the world seems to balance between sports, academics, and jobs. Our youngsters I'm afraid don't put in the effort required.

When you use the phrase 'our youngsters' you probably don't realise that you include myself in that. I very much doubt that you are aware just how difficult it is to compete academically against so many other applicants of a similar standard for top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge - hence making it necessary to spend numerous hours completing and perfecting coursework, extended projects and consolidation of studies.
I have met Lee Kiefer, and I think it's fair to say that her family is not struggling when it comes to cash flow - which is a major bonus as the cost of travel and training becomes infinitesimal when compared to living costs.
I cannot speak on behalf of all the junior girls but I know for certain that now many of them cannot afford the time to travel to training which in my case is > 2 hours every day especially this time is added to study time, it becomes almost impossible to do both.

Yes they are excuses, but they are damn valid ones.

If GBR had the funding and opportunities that the US had, we would probably have senior top tens at the age of 17 too!

JohnL
-15th February 2012, 17:15
When you use the phrase 'our youngsters' you probably don't realise that you include myself in that. I very much doubt that you are aware just how difficult it is to compete academically against so many other applicants of a similar standard for top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge - hence making it necessary to spend numerous hours completing and perfecting coursework, extended projects and consolidation of studies.
I have met Lee Kiefer, and I think it's fair to say that her family is not struggling when it comes to cash flow - which is a major bonus as the cost of travel and training becomes infinitesimal when compared to living costs.
I cannot speak on behalf of all the junior girls but I know for certain that now many of them cannot afford the time to travel to training which in my case is > 2 hours every day especially this time is added to study time, it becomes almost impossible to do both.

Yes they are excuses, but they are damn valid ones.

If GBR had the funding and opportunities that the US had, we would probably have senior top tens at the age of 17 too!

Hi CB.

I don't know if it appies to you or not. Despite what you think, I actually am sympathetic to the choices youngsters have to make between studies and pastimes.

I also understand fully the difficulties youngsters face at college both here in the US and in the UK. You'd find the demands of colleges on both sides of the pond are significant.

However, in my original post on this matter I said that current youngsters in the UK do not put in enough effort and stand by this. People prioritise, all through their lives, and these are thought through (or not) and acted upon as individual choices. That's OK and that's what choices are about. But when it comes down to it, it simply means that you've decided to put your efforts elsewhere than fencing (which is fine) and I wish you success, however you do not put enough effort into fencing to become WC which is what I said in the first place.

There will always be excuses, both valid and invalid, but other countries appear to be able to take youngsters in fencing, teach them what's needed, balance studies, fencing, life in general, and come up with WC athletes. I happen to believe that a large part of this is a lack of both commitment and effort (for whatever reasons) on behalf of the youngsters.

tigger
-20th February 2012, 08:37
I also think the attitude of many of our schools, colleges and universities stinks!

One of my fencers is being marked down in important uni assignment for missing a couple of team meetings at uni because he was at a senior world cup (and is the youngest fencer in the squad) and in one case had the chance to train with the German senior team for 4 days. When he explained the situation he was told it was his own fault for having commitments away from uni. The uni were aware of his commitments when he started the course.

This fencer has moved hundreds of miles from home so he can train 5-7 times a week at Truro, and has arranged all his lecture times so he can combine fencing and studying.

Realistically he has to choose whether to miss some training and world cup competition to go for a first, or train and compete fully and get 2:1 at best. I think that few serious fencers in top fencing countries have this lack of support from school or uni

Meg_SF
-20th February 2012, 13:27
I think that the lack of support at Uni is probably the biggest difference between the UK and USA. If we could get that turned around that would make a big difference to performance at junior level, and also to retaining fencers. Has the situation ever been better in the UK? (I know it wasn't any better 10 years agao) Or are we talking about a massive overhaul of the system?

randomsabreur
-21st February 2012, 08:14
I also think the attitude of many of our schools, colleges and universities stinks!

One of my fencers is being marked down in important uni assignment for missing a couple of team meetings at uni because he was at a senior world cup (and is the youngest fencer in the squad) and in one case had the chance to train with the German senior team for 4 days. When he explained the situation he was told it was his own fault for having commitments away from uni. The uni were aware of his commitments when he started the course.

This fencer has moved hundreds of miles from home so he can train 5-7 times a week at Truro, and has arranged all his lecture times so he can combine fencing and studying.

Realistically he has to choose whether to miss some training and world cup competition to go for a first, or train and compete fully and get 2:1 at best. I think that few serious fencers in top fencing countries have this lack of support from school or uni

The French university system is also very supportive of high level athletes, as are a lot of their employers. And top referees are counted as equivalent to top level athletes and allowed days off in addition to holidays to work as referees - I guess fencers who work are the same.

Birmingham was generally pretty supportive for me - quite happy for me to rearrange supervisions to fit around competing- but my course didn't have any team assignments. The sports scholarship was helpful as well (free use of gym, physio, lecture etc) but the major issue was lack of easily accessible training. University of Truro would be rather handy!

I think it's crazy that a university can be that unsupportive of an international athlete!

coach carson
-21st February 2012, 16:36
I think we need to create pathways within the education system and beyond. That might involve regional governing bodies identifying and engaging with and developing relationships with primary, secondary and further education establishments, particularly where there are strong clubs that can act as a hub and sustain such an initiative. I'm a firm believer that if we great pathways, fencers will migrate towards them or develop within them.

tigger
-21st February 2012, 22:56
Exeter University has a campus at Falmouth, 9 miles away from Truro. Consistently one of the UK's top 10 universities.