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University makes submission to the Teaching Excellence Framework

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The University made its submission to the national trial of the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) on Thursday 26 January 2017.

The TEF is the government’s new rating system for universities’ teaching quality, proposed in the higher education white paper in May 2016, Success As A Knowledge Economy.

The assessment is based on:

  • Data relating to undergraduate student satisfaction, retention rates and employment outcomes, averaged over the last three years and compared to a benchmark that is weighted according to the student characteristics of the HE provider; and
  • A 15-page narrative statement from the provider setting out evidence of their excellence in teaching and learning.

Independent assessment panels will comprise teaching and learning experts, student and employer representatives, and widening participation specialists. The outcomes of the TEF trial are expected to be published in the spring.

The Vice-Chancellor wrote to the RUSU President in November 2016 saying that the TEF model being trialled is “not perfect” but that it is “sensible and constructive” to work with the government, other universities and the NUS to improve it. The University will make decisions on entering future TEF exercises from 2018 onwards following the government's review of this trial.

The preparation of the University’s submission has been overseen by a steering group led by Pro-Vice-Chancellor (T&L) Professor Gavin Brooks, with extensive input from staff working in T&L and related professional areas. Reading University Students Union (RUSU) had two representatives on the steering group who have made an important contribution to the submission; however, the submission also makes clear that RUSU is strongly opposed to the linkage between the TEF and tuition fees.

The University has confirmed that the tuition fee for all UK and EU undergraduates (apart from deferrals) starting in September 2017 will be £9,250. The University will only make decisions on undergraduate tuition fee levels from 2018/19 onwards after completion of the TEF trial exercise and a careful assessment of the new framework’s strengths and weaknesses.

For more information, please see:

HEFCE’s information on the TEF:

Our own Q&A on the Teaching Excellence Framework:

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