Teaching excellence framework (TEF) results 2017

The results of the 2017 teaching excellence framework in full. Find out which universities were awarded gold, silver or bronze

June 22, 2017
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See the full results of the 2018 TEF

The results of the 2017 teaching excellence framework (TEF) have been released, with more than 130 UK universities and other higher education institutions being awarded gold, silver or bronze ratings for the quality of their teaching.

The TEF is a government-backed assessment of undergraduate teaching quality across all higher education institutions in England, which also includes some institutions in Scotland and Wales (with others opting not to take part). The results in full are published below, along with each institution’s position in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017 and its research excellence framework grade point average. The THE world ranking and REF scores are for information purposes only, and do not inform the TEF results. 

Visit our TEF page for the latest analysis and reaction

Our TEF results table features 134 higher education institutions, plus three alternative providers with university title. About one in three of these colleges and universities (45) received the top rating: gold. The silver rating was given to 67 institutions, with 25 receiving the lowest rating, bronze.

Among those in the top category are the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, along with six other institutions from the Russell Group (the University of Birmingham; the University of ExeterImperial College London; the University of Leeds; Newcastle University; and the University of Nottingham). 

At the other end of the scale, a number of world-renowned universities received a bronze award. These include the London School of Economics, the University of Southampton, and the University of Liverpool – all members of the Russell Group. 

To find out which universities got gold, which universities got silver, and which universities got bronze, view the table below. 

University  TEF Result THE World University Ranking 2016-17 REF GPA
Arts University Bournemouth Gold NR 2.30
Aston University Gold 351-400 3.05
Bangor University Gold 301-350 2.99
University of Bath Gold 251-300 3.17
University of Birmingham Gold 130 3.07
Bishop Grosseteste University Gold NR 1.96
University of Buckingham Gold NR -
University of Cambridge Gold 4 3.33
Conservatoire for Dance and Drama Gold NR -
Coventry University Gold 601-800 2.67
De Montfort University Gold 601-800 2.67
University of Derby Gold NR 2.07
University of Dundee Gold =180 3.03
University of East Anglia Gold =165 3.11
Edge Hill University Gold NR 2.22
University of Essex Gold 301-350 3.05
University of Exeter Gold =126 3.08
Falmouth University Gold NR 2.04
Harper Adams University Gold NR 2.66
University of Huddersfield Gold 601-800 2.65
Imperial College London Gold 8 3.36
Keele University Gold 401-500 2.88
University of Kent Gold 301-350 2.95
Lancaster University Gold =137 3.15
University of Law Gold NR -
University of Leeds Gold 133 3.13
University of Lincoln Gold 601-800 2.54
Liverpool Hope University Gold NR 2.21
Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts Gold NR -
Loughborough University Gold 301-350 2.95
Newcastle University Gold =190 3.09
University of Northampton Gold NR 2.09
Norwich University of the Arts Gold NR 2.69
University of Nottingham Gold 147 3.09
Nottingham Trent University Gold 601-800 2.59
University of Oxford Gold 1 3.34
University of Portsmouth Gold 401-500 2.75
Robert Gordon University Gold > 800 2.35
Rose Bruford College Gold NR 2.29
Royal Academy of Music Gold NR 2.75
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London Gold NR 3.03
Royal College of Music Gold NR 3.01
Royal Northern College of Music Gold NR 3.08
Royal Veterinary College Gold 301-350 3.11
University of St Andrews Gold =110 3.13
University of Surrey Gold 251-300 2.98
Abertay University Silver NR 2.16
Anglia Ruskin University Silver 301-350 2.37
Anglo-European College of Chiropractic Silver NR -
University of the Arts London Silver NR 3.12
Bath Spa University Silver NR 2.52
University of Bedfordshire Silver 601-800 2.52
Birkbeck, University of London Silver 201-250 2.97
Birmingham City University Silver NR 2.64
University of Bolton Silver NR 2.04
Bournemouth University Silver 601-800 2.72
University of Bradford Silver 601-800 2.95
University of Brighton Silver 601-800 2.84
University of Bristol Silver 71 3.18
Brunel University London Silver 301-350 2.67
Canterbury Christ Church University Silver NR 2.38
Cardiff Metropolitan University Silver NR 3.00
Cardiff University Silver =182 3.27
University of Central Lancashire Silver 601-800 2.51
University of Chester Silver NR 2.08
University of Chichester Silver NR 2.50
City, University of London Silver 351-400 2.95
Courtauld Institute of Art Silver NR 3.49
Durham University Silver =96 3.14
University of Gloucestershire Silver NR 2.38
University of Greenwich Silver 601-800 2.33
Guildhall School of Music and Drama Silver NR 2.44
Heriot-Watt University Silver 401-500 3.06
University of Hertfordshire Silver 501-600 2.61
University of Hull Silver 501-600 2.70
King’s College London Silver =36 3.23
Leeds Beckett University Silver 601-800 2.16
Leeds College of Art Silver NR -
Leeds Trinity University Silver NR 2.01
University of Leicester Silver 172 2.93
Liverpool John Moores University Silver 501-600 2.79
London South Bank University Silver > 800 2.52
University of Manchester Silver 55 3.16
Manchester Metropolitan University Silver 601-800 2.74
Middlesex University Silver 501-600 2.58
Newman  University Silver NR 2.13
Northumbria University Silver 601-800 2.71
Oxford Brookes University Silver 401-500 2.66
Queen Mary University of London Silver =113 3.18
Ravensbourne Silver NR -
University of Reading Silver =192 3.03
Royal Agricultural University Silver NR 1.40
Royal Holloway, University of London Silver =173 3.09
University of Sheffield Silver 109 3.17
Sheffield Hallam University Silver > 800 2.76
University of St Mark and St John Silver NR -
St Mary’s University, Twickenham Silver NR 1.98
Staffordshire University Silver NR 2.20
University of Sunderland Silver NR 2.12
University of Sussex Silver 149 3.01
Swansea University Silver 301-350 3.09
Teesside University Silver 601-800 2.58
University College Birmingham Silver NR -
University College London Silver 15 3.22
University for the Creative Arts Silver NR 2.72
University of Warwick Silver =82 3.22
University of West London Silver NR 1.92
University of the West of England Silver 601-800 2.70
University of Winchester Silver NR 2.32
University of Worcester Silver NR 2.08
Wrexham Glyndŵr University Silver NR 2.15
University of York Silver 129 3.17
BPP University Bronze NR -
British School of Osteopathy Bronze NR -
Bucks New University Bronze NR 2.19
University of Cumbria Bronze NR 2.13
University of East London Bronze 601-800 2.71
Goldsmiths, University of London Bronze 301-350 2.90
Kingston University Bronze 601-800 2.70
University of Liverpool Bronze 158 3.06
London Metropolitan University Bronze 601-800 2.44
London School of Economics and Political Science Bronze =25 3.35
Plymouth College of Art Bronze NR -
Plymouth University Bronze 351-400 2.74
University of Roehampton Bronze 601-800 2.83
University of Salford Bronze 601-800 2.54
Soas, University of London Bronze 401-500 2.82
University of Southampton Bronze =121 3.15
Southampton Solent University Bronze NR 1.63
St George’s, University of London Bronze 201-250 2.99
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Bronze NR 2.78
University of Suffolk Bronze NR -
University of Wales Trinity Saint David Bronze NR 2.39
University of Westminster Bronze 601-800 2.74
University of Wolverhampton Bronze NR 2.31
Writtle University College Bronze NR 1.29
York St John University Bronze NR 2.04

NR indicates a university is not ranked by Times Higher Education 
This table includes 134 higher education institutions plus three alternative providers with university title
These results were updated on 15 August 2017 to reflect a successful appeal by the University  of East Anglia

For a more detailed table, view the THE TEF metrics table

The following institutions did not take part in the teaching excellence framework 2017: 

Aberystwyth University; Brighton and Sussex Medical School; Cranfield University; Edinburgh Napier University; Glasgow Caledonian University; Glasgow School of Art; Heythrop College; Hull York Medical School; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; London Business School; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Medway School of Pharmacy; Queen Margaret University; Royal College of Art; Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; SRUC; St Mary's University College; Stranmillis University College; Institute of Cancer Research; National Film and Television School; Open University; Queen's University Belfast; Regent's University LondonUniversity of Aberdeen; University of Edinburgh; University of Glasgow; University of Stirling; University of Strathclyde; University of the West of Scotland; University of Wales (central); University of London (institutes and activities); University of South Wales; University of the Highlands and Islands; and Ulster University.

TEF results 2017: alternative providers

Institution TEF result
University of Buckingham Gold
University of Law Gold
Chicken Shed Theatre Trust Silver
Kaplan Open Learning Silver
London Studio Centre Silver
BPP University Bronze

View the results for further education colleges

The following alternative providers received a provisional TEF award because there was not enough data available for a full assessment: ABI College Limited; The Academy of Contemporary Music Limited; Access to Music Limited; ALRA; Architectural Association (Incorporated); Assemblies of God Incorporated; BIMM Limited; Bristol Baptist College; Brit College Limited; City and Guilds of London Art School Limited; CWR; East End Computing & Business College Limited; The Edward James Foundation Limited; University College of Estate Management; Fairfield School of Business Ltd; Futureworks Training Limited; Grafton College Limited; Hy Education Limited; ICMP Management Limited; Kensington Education Foundation Limited; The Kingham Hill Trust; KLC Limited; London Bridge Business Academy Limited; London College of Creative Media Limited; The London Institute of Banking & Finance; London School of Business and Management Limited; London School of Management Education Limited; London School of Science & Technology Limited; London School of Theology; Luther King House Educational Trust; Met Film School Limited; Moorlands College; Nazarene Theological College; Nelson College London Limited; Norland College Limited; Northern College of Acupuncture; Oxford Business College UK Limited; Pearson College Limited; Point Blank Limited; The Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education; RTC Education Ltd; SAE Education Limited; The Salvation Army; Spurgeon's College; Stratford College London Limited; Tertiary Education Services Limited; Trinity College (Bristol) Limited; UCK Limited; UK College of Business and Computing Ltd.

Read next: more TEF news and analysis


Methodology: how is the TEF calculated?  

Six core metrics lie behind each university’s final award in the teaching excellence framework. Three of these come from the National Student Survey and relate to students’ views on the quality of teaching, assessment and academic support received. A fourth metric is based on a university’s dropout rates, while the final two relate to what graduates did after leaving.

On each metric, universities received a positive or negative flag if they were above or below a benchmark based on the profile of their student cohort, or a double flag if they did particularly badly or well. The overall number of flags gave the initial rating: gold for those with three or more positive flags (either single or double) but no negative flags; bronze for those with two or more negative flags (regardless of other results) and silver for the rest. The assessors then adjusted this initial rating depending on an institution’s performance in “split metrics”, the same measures but split among different groups of students according to characteristics like gender, ethnicity and social background.

Assessors then reviewed the metrics result against individual written submissions given by each university. Depending on the contextual evidence provided, universities may have had their award adjusted up or down. The assessors finally considered their rating “holistically” against a “descriptor” of gold, silver or bronze teaching provision, further going back and revising their decision if they feel it did not match this description. 


Making sense of the teaching excellence framework (TEF) results

A Centre for Global Higher Education policy briefing by Paul Ashwin, professor of higher education, Lancaster University

This article outlines the purpose of the TEF, how it works, and discusses the extent to which the results provide valuable information about the quality of undergraduate degree programmes. 

Why was the TEF introduced? 

In 2012, tuition fees for UK and European Union students in England were increased to a maximum of £9,000. All English universities now charge this maximum but the government is concerned that these flat fees mask large differences in the quality of degree programmes. The government has introduced the TEF with the intended purpose of providing students with better information about the quality of degree programmes so that they can make more informed choices about where to study. The government’s intention is also to raise the profile of teaching and ensure that it is better recognised and rewarded by universities. Currently, to raise fees in line with inflation, institutions need to make a TEF submission. In the future, increases in fees may be tied to TEF outcomes. 

How does the TEF work? 

Institutions that opted into the TEF this year were examined on three sets of metrics: students’ views of teaching, assessment and academic support from the National Student Survey (NSS); student dropout rates; and rates of employment. It is notable that none of these metrics directly measure the quality of teaching, although the NSS does give an insight into students’ perceptions of teaching. Instead, the metrics focus on examining the assumed effects of teaching. 

Each submitting institution’s performance on these metrics was benchmarked against the demographic characteristics of its students, and its performance was flagged when it was statistically significantly better or worse than its benchmark. Assessors made an initial assessment of an institution’s performance based on its number of positive and negative flags and then examined contextual information and a 15-page institutional submission outlining the institution’s case for the excellence of its teaching. Based on this, institutions have been awarded a gold, silver or bronze TEF award. 

Does the level of TEF award provide valuable information about the quality of a university’s teaching? 

The TEF will provide students with better information about the quality of degree programmes than is currently offered by commercial higher education rankings. This is because the outcomes of higher education are shaped by the demographic characteristics of students, which have nothing to do with the quality of teaching in universities. The TEF attempts to control for these differences in student intake while university rankings do not. 

While the TEF metrics do not directly measure the quality of teaching, there is a logic to them. The quality of a degree can reasonably be expected to be related to student perceptions of teaching, support and assessment, and to the proportion of students staying on their degree programmes and gaining employment or a place on a postgraduate course. While some have criticised the use of NSS results because teaching evaluations can discriminate against female and minority ethnic lecturers, this is based on a misunderstanding of the NSS. The NSS is focused on teaching across a whole degree programme and so does not differentiate between individual lecturers. 

Does a gold TEF award mean that prospective students know that they are applying to an excellent degree programme? 

A gold TEF award is based on an institutional level assessment. The same university can offer programmes that differ significantly in quality, which means that the TEF award does not tell prospective students about the quality of individual degree programmes. This means that it is highly likely that there are excellent degree programmes in universities with bronze awards and less good degree programmes in universities with gold awards. In addition, any student who uses the TEF to inform their choice of university will not graduate until at least four years after the metrics were taken and, as the TEF award is for three years, students on four-year degree programmes could be relying on data that is eight years old. By this time, it is entirely possible that the quality of teaching at that university will have fallen.

TEF judgements are based on assessment criteria that examine “teaching quality”, “learning environment” and “student outcomes”. For example, the assessment criteria for “teaching quality” focus on the extent to which an institution: encourages student engagement, values teaching, offers programmes that involve rigour and stretch, and offers effective feedback on student work. It is unclear how these criteria were selected and why others, such as teaching expertise, were excluded. This raises questions of how the criteria form a coherent whole indicating something important about the excellence of teaching. These questions undermine the claim that the TEF offers a valid measure of high-quality teaching.

Will the TEF lead to improvements in the quality of teaching in universities? 

If the TEF is to lead to improvements in the quality of teaching in universities, then improvements in performance on the metrics used must be possible only through improvements in the quality of teaching that students experience. The three sets of metrics used this year are reasonable although, as discussed, there are weaknesses around the focus on the institutional level, the dated evidence that informs the metrics, and the lack of a coherent view of excellent teaching that informs the TEF. 

In the future, the government wants to increase the number of metrics that are used and there are strong indications that this will include a metric related to the amount of contact hours on a programme. However, there is no evidence that contact hours are a valid measure of teaching quality. Conversely, factors that are known to be necessary elements of high-quality teaching, such as the expertise of those who teach, do not appear to be under consideration. If the TEF is based on measures that are unrelated to the quality of teaching, then it will end up measuring institutional game-playing rather than excellent teaching. If this happens, then the TEF will not lead to improvements in the quality of teaching in universities.

More TEF news and analysis on our dedicated hub

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Reader's comments (4)

I don't know how much money has been frittered away on this exercise but to present the reults for institutions as a whole is next to useless. From a lifetime of teaching in higher education I was fully aware of the variations in teaching and learning within departments let alone across departments within an institution. An average figure for a university as a whole is meaningless. It does a disservice to potential students and is another daft and counterproductive league table (not least as a major component of the methodology is the equally pointless NSS league table!). The very least one needs is TEF by subject area (preferably shorn of the NSS element). Anything aggregated beyond subject level is entirely pointless.
I couldn't agree more with Lee Harvey. The notion that a student ought to sign up to a university rather than a particular degree reflects the emphasis placed on the 'experience of being a student' as some form of organised consumption that is unrelated to any mark of intellectual development.
TEF complete utter stupidity. Coventry & Derby gold LSE bronze what a joke. Such a flawed exercise I would say it is just another bureacratic piece of nonsense. At some point students and academics should wake up and realise that the reason their fees are going up and pay being frozen or cut in real terms is to fund this kind of crap !
I appreciate The TEF league tables only provide information on the teaching quality of the university as a whole & not per subject, which controversially would incur more money anyway, so you cannot please everyone. As a student myself I think we have the sense to realise this is the case. Despite this I have found TEF information important as it informed part of my decision process. I feel it encourages the uni to take an interest in all its subject areas, not just the ones that are popular. Any neglected Faculty's could potentially bring the average crashing down. I have to say that Kingston Uni has some of the worst teaching results of any university. This has been spiralling down the league tables since I started & from my experiences there I can see why. I deeply regret going to this Uni as I agree with the TEF score, it deserves a bad reputation for its bad teaching quality. I am hoping this will be the motivation to make drastic changes it desperately needs across the whole university. Even though I am within Biosciences school many of my housemates/friends are study degrees across many Faculty's. Some of the teaching standards & stories you hear would make you demand your money back. Kingston is definitely not worth the fees. Despite the yearly falling standards at this University it deeply saddens me that lecturers do not see a problem with their teaching attitudes or standards. In fact, I have stood there opened mouthed while students have been blamed for the failings of this uni! The attitudes from many of the staff at Kingston has totally shocked me. They believe that students think they are entitled to their degrees or better marks because of the extortionate fees we are paying. I think these institutionalised attitudes within the Uni are ingrained in a lot of the lecturers arrogance. It is very simple, the teaching quality is crap & as we are paying a lot of money we are now demanding a better quality service. A prime example of poor teaching standards at Kingston are the finial year dissertation projects most science undergraduate & postgraduate students undertake. Although I have all this to come I have heard of nightmare situations from previous students undertaking for example microbiology projects. This is obviously a very important piece of work & worth a large part of the final marks, yet every year the extremely bad management & disorganisation surrounding these projects has left many students on the brink of a breakdown. This is not the students fault but the lecturers. It is no surprise that every year project titles & equipment need to be organised for these students, so why are the lecturers failing them time & again. My younger brother was going to come to Kingston next year & even though it would have been amazing having him around unfortunately I have recommended he attends another university. As is currently the case I would not recommend this university to anybody looking to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level.