The Tories’ new teaching rankings are bad news for some Russell Group universities

The league table gives your uni a gold, silver or bronze rating

A controversial new league table has ranked all universities for teaching quality, and it’s bad news for some who consider themselves in the elite Russell Group.

The first TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) rankings, which have been the subject of nationwide controversy and protest, were published today, rating no fewer than 295 university and college institutions. They’re the result of the incessant reminders to complete the National Student Survey.

Only eight Russell Group universities were graded gold, with 10 getting silver. Three Russell Group institutions – Liverpool, LSE and Southampton – were given the lowest bronze rating, alongside places like Accrington Rossendale College.

A number of top unis, like LSE, were given the lowest score

It’s good news for no fewer than 26 universities given a gold score. As well as usual suspects such as Oxbridge and Imperial College London, universities including both Nottingham and Nottingham Trent, Leeds, Aston, Birmingham, Derby, Keele and Surrey have been given a gold flag by the TEF.

Universities awarded a silver ranking vary in nature, speciality and reputation. These include Bristol, both Sheffield universities (Uni Of and Hallam), Durham, Leicester, Manchester, UCL, Warwick and York.

At the bottom of the pile with the lowest possible (bronze) score are Liverpool, the world famous LSE (London School of Economics), Plymouth, Southampton, Southampton Solent and St. George’s, University of London. See how your uni ranks in our table below.

The government describe the TEF as aiming to ensure that “all students receive an excellent teaching experience that encourages original thinking, drives up engagement and prepares them for the world of work.” It intends to stimulate a diverse Higher Education market and give special recognition to the institutions that do most to welcome students from a wide variety of backgrounds.

However, several Student Unions and the NUS are strongly opposed to the TEF, carrying out a boycott of the National Students’ Survey – which was used to collect data for the rankings.

Under the TEF, universities deemed to meet standards can raise fees by up to £250 a year in line with inflation. If the TEF considers universities to be underperforming, they lose the right to raise fees and also have to lower them back to £9,000.

Sheffield Students’ Union ran a successful boycott of the NSS

Aware that some of their members have not done so well in the table, the Russell Group have insisted: “This is a trial year and a review has already been announced. The TEF does not measure absolute quality…institutions with lower scores on things like the number of students who complete their course might find it easier to get a positive TEF flag. The TEF is one source of information among others.”

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