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What is the TEF? Results of the Teaching Excellence Framework 2023

The results of the Teaching Excellence Framework 2023 (TEF) and what they mean for students

    Grace McCabe


    Seeta Bhardwa

    December 18 2023
    Bronze, silver and gold medals


    What is the TEF?

    The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a system that assesses the quality of teaching in universities in England. It also includes some universities from Scotland and Wales.

    The framework was introduced by the government in 2017 to provide a resource for students to judge teaching quality in universities and to increase the importance of teaching excellence (and bring it into line with research excellence) when rating institutions. It is important to note that, currently, the TEF analyses only undergraduate teaching.

    Universities are classified as gold, silver or bronze. These ratings are determined by core metrics based on teaching, academic support and progression to employment. Universities also submitted a 15-page document to a panel of higher education experts and students, which was used alongside the metrics to determine a rating.

    How was the TEF calculated?

    This year all universities in England with more than 500 undergraduate students were required to submit data, while participation from universities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was voluntary. 

    An independent group of academics, students and employers assessed the universities. This assessment was based on core metrics and a submission from each university. Students were also able to submit their views on their educational experience at their institutions. Universities were then given a gold, silver or bronze award. 

    This year, for the first time, universities were given two ratings that make up their overall award: one for the student experience and another for student outcomes. 

    A rating of gold means that a university has demonstrated the highest-quality teaching standards and is consistently outstanding. The institution provides outstanding outcomes for students from all backgrounds, particularly in terms of retention and progression. The university also offers students outstanding physical and digital resources.

    A silver rating means that the university is of high quality and regularly exceeds the baseline quality expected of higher education institutions in the same categories listed above.

    A bronze rating means that the provision of the university is of satisfactory quality. Most students will achieve good outcomes, but the provider is performing significantly below the benchmark in one or more areas.

    This year a “requires improvement” category was introduced. If a university is in this category, it means that an improvement is required in order to achieve a TEF rating. 

    What do the TEF results show?

    The Office for Students (OfS) has published the results of the 2023 TEF, in September 2023 which is the first time universities have been rated on their teaching quality since 2019. 

    This year’s TEF includes 128 higher education institutions, the majority with university status. Some 37 received a gold rating, 79 got silver  and 11 institutions received a bronze rating.

    When the results were first published in September 25 institutions were “pending” a result. These included Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Sussex and the University of Leicester. These 25 institutions challenged the provisional results they received over the summer.

    Almost all of these institutions were then given their ratings in December 2023, with five more institutions receiving a gold rating including Manchester Metropolitan University, Nottingham Trent University, and the University of Leicester. Arden University is still awaiting its rating as of December 2023. 

    Of the published ratings, Goldsmiths, University of London  and BPP University received a “requires improvement” rating. They received this rating for student experience. This rating is given when the OfS determines an “absence of excellence”.

    Many universities maintained their ratings from 2019, including the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, which kept their gold ratings.

    The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) achieved a silver rating, which was an improvement on the bronze rating it received in 2019. 

    The University of Liverpool also moved from silver to gold. 

    Durham University and Newcastle University saw shifts from gold to silver ratings, while the University of Birmingham also transitioned to silver.

    The results of the TEF will be valid for four years until August 2027. 

    Can students use the TEF?

    The TEF is a government-stamped resource that helps students, both domestic and international, decide where to go to university in England.

    The TEF offers students a resource to see which institutions excel in teaching quality and which universities are good for graduate prospects and student satisfaction. However, it’s important to note that these ratings may be subject to challenges and revisions by universities.

    In addition to the TEF, there are other resources that students can use, such as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which rank universities in the UK alongside universities throughout the world.

    Below are the overall 2023 TEF results for universities and alternative providers with university status.

    UniversityOverall TEF ResultStudent experienceStudent outcomesTHE World University Ranking 2024
    Anglia Ruskin University GoldGoldSilver501-600
    Arden University PendingPendingPendingNR
    Arts University Bournemouth SilverSilverSilverNR
    Arts University Plymouth SilverSilverSilverNR
    Aston University GoldGold Gold401-500
    Bath Spa University SilverSilverSilverNR
    Birkbeck, University of London BronzeBronzeBronzeNR
    Birmingham City University SilverGoldSilver601-800
    Newman University SilverSilverSilverNR
    Bishop Grosseteste University SilverSilver SilverNR
    Bournemouth University SilverBronzeSilver401-500
    BPP University BronzeRequires improvementSilverNR
    Brunel University London  BronzeBronzeBronze351-400
    Buckinghamshire New University  SilverSilverSilverNR
    Canterbury Christ Church University SilverSilverSilver1001-1200
    City, University of London  SilverBronzeGold351-400
    Coventry University GoldGoldSilver601-800
    De Montfort University SilverBronzeSilver601-800
    Durham University SilverSilverGold174
    Edge Hill University  SilverGoldSilver1001-1200
    Falmouth University SilverSilverSilverNR
    Goldsmiths, University of London  BronzeRequires improvementBronze401-500
    Guildhall School of Music and Drama GoldGoldGold NR
    Harper Adams University GoldSilverGoldNR
    Hartpury University GoldGoldGoldNR
    Imperial College London GoldSilverGold8
    Keele University GoldGoldSilver501-600
    King’s College London  SilverSilverGold=38
    Kingston University GoldGoldGold801-1000
    Lancaster University GoldSilverGold=155
    Leeds Arts University SilverSilverSilverNR
    Leeds Beckett University BronzeSilverBronze801-1000
    Leeds Conservatoire SilverSilverSilverNR
    Leeds Trinity University SilverSilverSilverNR
    Liverpool Hope University SilverSilverSilverNR
    Liverpool John Moores University SilverSilverGold501-600
    London Metropolitan University SilverGoldBronzeNR
    London School of Economics and Political Science  SilverSilverGold46
    London South Bank University  SilverBronzeSilver601-800
    Loughborough University GoldGoldGold251-300
    Manchester Metropolitan University  GoldGoldSilver501-600
    Middlesex University  SilverBronzeSilver501-600
    Newcastle University SilverBronzeSilver=168
    Northeastern University London BronzeBronzeBronzeNR
    Northumbria University  SilverSilverGold501-600
    Norwich University of the Arts GoldGoldGoldNR
    Nottingham Trent University  GoldGoldSilver501-600
    Oxford Brookes University SilverBronzeSilver601-800
    Plymouth Marjon University GoldGoldSilverNR
    Queen Mary University of London SilverBronzeSilver135
    Regent’s University London SilverSilverSilverNR
    Richmond, the American International University in London  BronzeBronzeBronzeNR
    University of RoehamptonSilverSilverSilver801-1000
    Rose Bruford College SilverSilverSilverNR
    Royal Academy of Music GoldGoldGoldNR
    Royal Agricultural University SilverSilverSilverNR
    Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London  SilverBronzeGoldNR
    Royal College of Music GoldGoldGoldNR
    Royal Holloway, University of London SilverSilverSilver301-350
    Royal Northern College of Music GoldGoldGoldNR
    Royal Veterinary College  SilverSilverGold401-500
    Sheffield Hallam University GoldSilverGold801-1000
    SOAS University of London SilverBronzeSilver401-500
    Solent University, SouthamptonGoldGoldGoldNR
    St George’s, University of London SilverGoldSilver301-350
    St Mary’s University, Twickenham SilverGoldSilverNR
    Staffordshire University  SilverSilverSilver1001-1200
    Teesside University GoldGoldGold1001-1200
    The Open University GoldSilverGoldNR
    Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance  BronzeBronzeSilver601-800
    UCL  SilverSilverSilver22
    University College Birmingham SilverSilverSilverNR
    University for the Creative Arts  SilverSilverSilverNR
    University of Bath GoldGoldGold251-300
    University of Bedfordshire  BronzeSilverBronze1001-1200
    University of Birmingham SilverBronzeGold101
    University of Bolton  SilverGoldBronzeNR
    University of Bradford SilverSilverSilver501-600
    University of Brighton SilverBronzeSilver801-1000
    University of Bristol SilverSilverGold81
    University of Buckingham SilverSilverSilverNR
    University of Cambridge GoldGoldGold5
    University of Central Lancashire SilverBronzeSilver1001-1200
    University of Chester SilverSilverSilver1201-1500
    University of Chichester  GoldGoldSilverNR
    University of Cumbria SilverBronzeSilverNR
    University of Derby  GoldSilverGold601-800
    University of East Anglia SilverSilverSilver251-300
    University of East London SilverBronzeSilver1001-1200
    University of Essex SilverSilverSilver301-350
    University of Exeter GoldGoldGold=177
    University of Gloucestershire SilverSilverSilver801-1000
    University of Greenwich  GoldGoldSilver501-600
    University of Hertfordshire  SilverSilverSilver601-800
    University of Huddersfield GoldGoldGold501-600
    University of Hull  GoldGoldSilver401-500
    University of Kent SilverSilverSilver401-500
    University of Law SilverGoldSilverNR
    University of Leeds SilverBronzeSilver129
    University of Leicester  GoldSilverGold201-250
    University of Lincoln  GoldGoldGold501-600
    University of Liverpool GoldSilverSilver=168
    University of Manchester SilverSilverGold51
    University of Northampton SilverSilverSilverNR
    University of Nottingham  SilverSilverGold=130
    University of Oxford GoldGoldGold1
    University of Plymouth GoldGoldGold401-500
    University of Portsmouth GoldGoldSilver401-500
    University of Reading SilverSilverSilver201-250
    University of Salford SilverSilverSilver801-1000
    University of Sheffield  SilverSilverSilver105
    University of Southampton SilverSilverSilver=97
    University of Suffolk SilverSilverSilverNR
    University of Sunderland SilverSilverSilver1201-1500
    University of Surrey  SilverSilverSilver251-300
    University of Sussex  SilverBronzeSilver201-250
    University of the Arts London  BronzeBronzeSilverNR
    University of the West of England SilverSilverSilver501-600
    University of Warwick GoldGoldGold=106
    University of West London  SilverGoldBronze1001-1200
    University of Westminster SilverSilverSilver801-1000
    University of Winchester SilverSilverSilver1001-1200
    University of Wolverhampton  BronzeBronzeBronze601-800
    University of Worcester SilverSilverSilverNR
    University of York GoldGoldGold147
    Writtle University College SilverSilver SilverNR
    York St John University SilverGoldSilverNR

    This article was first published in October 2023. It has since been updated to reflect updated ratings in December 2023. 

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