UEA upgraded to gold in teaching excellence framework on appeal

But Hefce rejects all other appeals, including from Durham, Liverpool, Southampton

August 15, 2017
UEA

The University of East Anglia has been upgraded to a gold rating in the teaching excellence framework, following an appeal against its original silver, but the other 17 appeals from institutions against their ratings have been rejected.

UEA was successful in an appeal to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the university announced on 15 August.

The review "focused on misinterpretation of information relating to part-time students", a UEA spokeswoman said.

But, in Hefce’s subsequent announcement on appeal outcomes, it emerged that UEA was the sole success among the 18 institutions to have appealed against a TEF rating.

Beyond UEA, the only other change listed by Hefce is that Durham University’s statement of findings has been revised. But the Russell Group institution’s silver rating remains in place.

That means all other appeals, including those by Russell Group members the universities of Liverpool (bronze), Southampton (bronze) and York (silver), were rejected by Hefce.

The outcomes of the appeals were announced just two days before many UK school-leavers get their exam results and confirm their university choice.

Neil Ward, pro vice-chancellor (academic) at UEA, welcomed the ruling on his institution.

“We are delighted our appeal has been successful as we believe UEA meets the gold standard for teaching excellence," he said. "We’ve always maintained a strong focus on teaching, because that’s what really matters to students.”

In its statement on the appeal outcome, UEA highlighted its results in the National Student Survey, one element of the TEF’s metrics.

UEA "is the only mainstream English university to have been ranked in the top five for student satisfaction since the survey began in 2005", the institution said.

Prior to the UEA ruling, a third of the 137 higher education institutions and alternative providers with university status assessed in the TEF received gold awards. Nearly half (49 per cent) got silver, with just under one in five (18 per cent) getting bronze.

Mary Leishman, UEA Students’ Union sabbatical officer for undergraduate education, said: "Great teaching is what the TEF was supposed to be all about and, given what students say about teaching at UEA, we’re thrilled that this has now been reflected in our gold grading.”

Hefce also said that four providers lodged appeals regarding their eligibility for a provisional award.

Three were successful, including for-profit St Patrick’s College, owned by the Global University Systems group that also includes the University of Law.

St Patrick’s previously undertook explosive growth in its numbers of students with public Student Loans Company funding on sub-degree Higher National qualifications awarded by Pearson.

St Patrick’s had been given a “requires improvement to meet UK expectations” judgement in two out of four areas in a Quality Assurance Agency Higher Education Review. But, following a partial re-review, it was given “meets UK expectations” judgements in all areas in October 2016.

john.morgan@timeshighereducation.com

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