ULaw among gold-rated universities in government’s first teaching rankings

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By Katie King on

While some Russell Group universities scored bronze

The University of Law (ULaw) is one of 59 universities and further education colleges to score gold in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) published today, while a number of extremely well-respected universities languish at the bottom with bronze.

Pioneered by Jo Johnson — MP, Universities and Science Minister and BoJo’s brother — the new TEF rankings focus on the quality of a university’s teaching rather than its research. The 295 universities involved have been given gold, silver or bronze ratings which are supposed to correlate with higher education courses’ value for money (at least from a student’s point of view.)

The rankings are based on what have been highly controversial metrics and which include the National Student Survey, dropout rates, graduate employability and a written assessment from the university.

The other universities to be given the gold rating are a mix of traditionally well-performing universities (such as Birmingham, Exeter and St Andrews) and other smaller institutions (such as Aston, Edge Hill, South Devon College and Weston College of Further and Higher Education). And before you ask, yes both Oxford and Cambridge scored gold too.

Other extremely well-regarded universities have not fared so well.

Languishing in the bronze table alongside a number of virtually unknown local colleges are three Russell Groupers: LSE, Liverpool and Southampton. Readers may be particularly interested to know that BPP University, which includes BPP Law School, scored bronze too.

Half of universities were somewhere in the middle. Scoring silver were the likes of Bristol, Cardiff, City, Durham, King’s and York, alongside Canterbury College, Gloucestershire, Darlington College, London Southbank and Winchester.

ULaw is pretty chuffed by the result. Professor Andrea Nollent, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of ULaw, said:

Our students are smart and ambitious and rightly demand the highest standard of teaching, so we are delighted to receive the TEF gold standard.

The TEF does not indicate how good specific departments within a university are, so it’s unclear how much use the government-sponsored rankings will be.

However, the TEF may well impact on tuition fees in the future. A University of Reading explainer addresses this:

The government had previously announced an intention to allow institutions to increase tuition fees in line with inflation depending on their TEF rating. In April 2017 the Higher Education and Research Act postponed these plans, pending an independent review of the TEF national trial. The government is expected to allow tuition fees to rise annually in line with inflation until 2020/21 for institutions participating in the TEF and who meet minimum requirements. Whether tuition fees are then linked to TEF ratings will depend on the outcome of the independent review and subsequent government decisions.

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