Laurie Taylor – 5 May 2016

The official weekly newsletter of the University of Poppleton. Finem respice!

May 5, 2016
The Poppletonian cartoon strip (5 May 2016)

Forward to the TEF

Our Head of Teaching Excellence Framework Submissions, Mr Ted Chippings, has rejected the suggestion that the entire TEF exercise might be imperilled by the National Union of Students’ decision to back a mass sabotage of next year’s National Student Survey.

Mr Chippings admitted that NSS scores were a key pillar of the new TEF. “But let’s face it,” he told our reporter Keith Ponting (30), “those of us on the inside know that those NSS ratings are unreliable. There’s good evidence that they are influenced not only by the teacher’s ethnicity but also by their generosity in marking.”

(“I’m voting for that useless prattling Professor Lapping because he’s white and gives me good grades.”)

But didn’t this mean, suggested Ponting, that extra weight would now need to be placed on the second key pillar of the TEF, the job destinations of graduates. Was this any more reliable?

“Let’s face it,” said Mr Chippings, “those of us on the inside know that there is no necessary connection between having a good teacher at university and obtaining a good job after graduation.”

(“I was taught by the useless prattling Professor Lapping, but now I’m a successful hedge fund manager.”)

But didn’t this mean, suggested Ponting, that even extra weight would need to be placed on the third and final pillar of the TEF: the non-continuation rate for students? Was this a reliable indicator?

“Let’s face it,” said Mr Chippings, “those of us on the inside know that there is no evidence that students abandon their course simply because of bad teaching.”

(“I decided to pack my bags and go back home after listening to Professor Lapping’s useless prattle.”)

But didn’t this mean, suggested Ponting, that we were embarking on a new higher education policy that had huge implications for individual academics but lacked any empirical grounding whatsoever?

“Let’s face it,” said Mr Chippings, “those of us on the inside know that we’re not allowed to answer that question.”

David Willetts celebrating football/soccer victory
9,000 reasons to celebrate

Debt is coming home!

“Ingerland! Ingerland! Ingerland!”

That was the triumphant cry from Derek Tapstock, our Director of Creative Finance, as he surveyed the following Sutton Trust league table of student debt in the English-speaking world:

  • England: £44,500
  • US (private universities): £29,100
  • New Zealand: £23,300
  • Australia: £20,900
  • US (public universities): £19,100
  • Wales: £19,000
  • Canada: £15,000
  • Scotland: £9,400

“Frankly,” said Mr Tapstock, “my chest swells with good old English pride when I look at that table. What a transformation! A few years ago, no one would have given England a chance in that league. It languished at the very bottom.”

So what brought about the dramatic change of fortune?

“It was all down to the signing of two-footed tearaway striker Dave Willetts. You might have thought that he’d have been content with £3,000 a year fees. But not at all. In his very first season he showed an astonishing burst of speed and whacked them up to £9,000 before slipping a neat inside pass to silky midfielder Jo Johnson, who promptly rounded off the game by booting the maintenance grant into touch. What a player! What a team!”

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Dave 'Two Left Feet' Willetts - brilliant

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