Victory: Bristol successfully boycott National Student Survey

Finally, no more annoying emails

The University of Bristol has not been included in the results of this year’s National Student Survey for the first time.

Eleven other institutions, including Oxford, Manchester, Sheffield, UCL, KCL, Liverpool and Cambridge, have also been omitted from the final table.

This follows a boycott organised by the National Union of Students across 25 universities, on the grounds that the findings on student satisfaction will be used, alongside other factors, to calculate the Teaching Excellence Framework.

Those awarded a gold, silver or bronze TEF rating will be permitted to raise tuition fees above the current £9,000 per year cap.

The rate of response dropped this year by four per cent, down from 312,000 student responses in 2016, to 300,000 in 2017. This is in spite of attempts to widen student participation in the survey this year – 446,000 were targeted in 2017, in comparison to 431,000 in 2016.

Guess we’ll never know how they rack up with other unis

Nonetheless, the extent to which the boycott will meaningfully obstruct rises in tuition fees is disputed. The results of the National Student Survey will be used alongside various other measures, including graduate employment rates, to calculate the Teaching Excellence Framework.

Chris Husbands, chairman of the TEF, has affirmed that the findings of the NSS are not an “accurate proxy for teaching quality”, and consequently will have a minor role in determining TEF scores. The Department of Education has also insisted that the TEF will be formulated by an analysis of the results of National Student Surveys from previous years.

The DofE has stated that it will make sure that “no provider suffers disadvantage as a result of the boycott.”

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