Press release

MillionPlus responds to the Teaching Excellence Framework Technical Consultation

14 Jul 2016

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities has today published its response to the Teaching Excellence Framework Technical Consultation.

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“Ministers are right to delay the introduction of TEF Year Two but the BIS timetable outlined in the consultation is still much too ambitious. A six-month pilot will not deliver a Teaching Excellence Framework that is fit for purpose especially since the government is still wedded to the use of what it acknowledges are imperfect proxy measures to assess the quality of teaching.

“The suggestion that a graduate employment metric should be retained is particularly questionable given the HESA consultation on the destination of leavers survey, regional variations in pay and employment opportunities and different career patterns of graduates, especially those engaged in the arts and small creative businesses and start-ups.

“Analysis of HMRC data by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and other research confirm that family background remains highly influential in determining graduate destination and employment prospects. A longer pilot would assist with the more challenging task of working through an employment metric that, for example, reviews distance travelled in terms of socio-economic occupation.

“The consultation also indicates that Ministers want to add the potential for differentiation between providers both by the proposal that the TEF should rely on a 2% deviation from benchmarks, compared to 3% in HEFCE’s standard performance indicators and the proposal to introduce commendations. Much more evidence is needed to justify and evaluate these proposals, including how they might work in practice.

“We also make clear that guidance is needed to make clear how assessors will take into account the much more socially inclusive student cohorts of some universities and that the rating system for the TEF must be changed. ‘Meets expectations’ is a mealy mouthed way of describing an outcome of a quality review that actually demonstrates highly successful practice and management by an institution.

“A far more positive descriptor would be the word ‘good’ and we recommend the three ratings should be ‘good, excellent and outstanding’. This would still enable a hierarchy of ratings that the government wants but it would be more effective and useful for students and institutions. In other sectors where there is a ratings and assessment process, ‘good’ is held up to be a category that clearly marks successful practice. Ministers need to recognise that their proposals carry reputational risk at home and overseas and that language will make a difference to perceptions.”


Notes to editors

  1. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities. More information can be found at
  2. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email
  3. The full MillionPlus response is available online here