About 80% of UK universities sign up for TEF

Hefce figures show 134 HE institutions have applied to participate, including all English members of the Russell Group

January 27, 2017
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More than 130 universities across the UK have applied to take part in year two of the teaching excellence framework (TEF), the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) has revealed.

Of the 299 institutions overall that applied, 234 universities, colleges and alternative providers of higher education have the suitable metrics for a full TEF assessment, while 65 others that do not have opted in for a provisional TEF award.

Within the overall figure, 134 higher education institutions have signed up – including all English members of the Russell Group – which would count for about 80 per cent of the 167 UK HE providers listed by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa).

The news follows comments from the universities minister, Jo Johnson, earlier this week, reported by Times Higher Education, that “almost all” of England’s universities would take part.

Mr Johnson said that Hefce’s figures show that the sector has “bought into the concept” of the policy.

“I am delighted that so many providers have decided to participate,” he said. “The teaching excellence framework will drive up the standard of teaching and give students clear, understandable information about where they are likely to receive the best teaching and outcomes. Such strong participation demonstrates that the sector has bought into the concept of the TEF, and I look forward to seeing the results of the assessments.”

Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of Hefce, said that she was pleased by such a “high level of engagement” with the TEF at this “early stage of its development”.

“The high proportion of eligible providers submitting this week builds on the strong demand we received to serve as assessors during the summer,” she said. “We look forward now to supporting the TEF panel and the academic and student assessors to reach their judgements on the applications we have received.”

Chris Husbands, TEF chair and vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said that he was looking forward to “engaging with the detailed applications” from institutions.

“The TEF offers us a real opportunity to focus on the quality of teaching and student outcomes across higher education,” he said. “I’m delighted that so many institutions have responded to the TEF. 

“As chair of the panel, I’m now looking forward to engaging with the detailed applications from universities and colleges across the United Kingdom. The TEF panel draws on exceptional expertise, and we will be able to draw together a comprehensive sense of teaching excellence across the nation’s higher education provision.”

Providers will now be assessed by an independent, expert group of academics, students and employers, looking at areas such as dropout rates and progression to highly skilled employment, as well as additional provider submissions. Those eligible for full assessment will receive a rating of either gold, silver or bronze and are due to receive their ratings in May 2017.

Applications for a TEF assessment  
By provider type:  
Higher education institutions 134
Further education colleges 94
Alternative providers 6
Total 234
By provider country:  
England 222
Northern Ireland 0
Scotland 5
Wales 7
Total 234
Source: Higher Education Funding Council for England

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