‘Excellent outcomes’ praised in Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF.)

Posted on 21st June 2017

The University of Chester has been applauded for enabling its students to achieve ‘excellent outcomes’ in the Government’s first ever Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) released nationally today (Thursday, June 22).

The University has been awarded a Silver rating, declaring it a high quality provider. The results of the TEF provide a new picture of excellence in teaching and learning in UK higher education. 

The University was praised by the panel for its wide range of activities supporting the development of employability skills by students, with around two thirds taking part in a work-based learning module. 

The institution was found to have ‘an embedded culture of valuing, recognising and rewarding good teaching’ through the University’s appointment, development and promotion policies, with over two thirds of staff having achieved Higher Education Academy fellowships or senior fellowships. 

The Panel also acknowledged the investment made in ‘high quality physical resources and innovation and research using digital resources to aid students’ learning’. The University was also praised for its working partnership with student representatives. 

The TEF was introduced by the Government to build evidence about the performance of the UK’s world-class higher education sector, complementing the existing Research Excellence Framework with an analysis of teaching and learning outcomes. The results and the underlying evidence of the TEF will help students thinking about which university or college to apply to for autumn 2018, and encourage teaching and learning excellence across the UK. 

Universities, colleges and alternative providers of higher education voluntarily took part in the TEF. Each provider was rated Gold, Silver or Bronze, or received a Provisional award where there was not enough data for a full assessment. 

The TEF awards were decided by an independent panel of experts, including academics, students and employer representatives. Drawing on national data, and evidence submitted by each university or college, the TEF measures excellence in three areas: teaching quality; the learning environment;and the educational and professional outcomes achieved by students. 

Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said that he was delighted that the teaching and the performance of students was confirmed as high quality and that it exceeded rigorous national quality measures. He added: “We will not be resting on our laurels and working with staff and students in the University we will continue to enhance quality still further.” 

Dr Chris Haslam, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Development and the Student Experience), said: “I would like to thank everyone across the whole of the University who has worked so hard in enabling us to receive this pleasing result. We pride ourselves on our teaching quality and teaching excellence is at the heart of the institution’s 178 year history.” 

Cherelle Mitchell, President of Chester Students’ Union, added: “Chester Students’ Union is proud to be part of a University that has achieved such recognition within the Teaching Excellence Framework. We are pleased to have contributed to a student experience where students are always put at the heart of every decision within both organisations. This is obviously a great accolade for the University and a testament to the hard work that we see happening here every day; with this in mind we hope that the Teaching Excellence Framework reviews its stance on increasing tuition fees with inflation.  

“We, like many of our colleagues across the country and at NUS, have many concerns about the effect this new ranking may have on the Higher Education landscape in the future. We hope the TEF continues to expand, to include greater detail of the quality that we know is happening across our campuses but is not measured with the current metrics. This award will no doubt attract more students to Chester to see how the University of Chester invests in all its students and their futures.” 

Professor Chris Husbands, Chair of the TEF assessment panel and Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: “The Teaching Excellence Framework results offer – for the first time – an overview of teaching excellence across the entire UK higher education sector. It has been a privilege to chair this ambitious and ground-breaking assessment. 

“Alongside the headline results, we are publishing all the data and submissions, and statements of the assessors’ findings. Taken together, this is a set of material on teaching excellence which goes further than has been possible for any other university system in the world.” 

Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said: “Students invest significant amounts of time and money in their higher education. They rightly expect a high-quality learning experience and outcomes that reflect their potential. The UK already has a high bar for quality and standards, which all universities and colleges must meet. But the TEF judges excellence above and beyond this, clearly showing the highest levels across the sector. 

“The TEF measures the things that students themselves say they care about: high-quality, engaged teaching and a supportive, stimulating learning environment which equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their potential, and then to progress to a good job or further study.” 

The TEF results and the evidence used in the assessment can be found at www.hefce.ac.uk. The TEF awards will also be published on Unistats and the UCAS website, alongside other information, to help inform prospective students’ choices.