Essex awarded top Gold rating in Teaching Excellence Framework

  • Date

    Thu 22 Jun 17

The hard work of staff and students in contributing to the transformational education offered at the University of Essex has been recognised in today’s announcement that the University has been awarded the highest rating of Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

The UK Government introduced the TEF to recognise and reward excellent learning and teaching, and ensure that prospective students can make informed choices. Out of the 134 higher education institutions who took part in the review, 43 are Gold, 67 Silver and 24 Bronze.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Essex delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Awarding Essex the top Gold rating the TEF Panel stated that at Essex “students from all backgrounds achieve outstanding outcomes with regards to continuation and progression to highly skilled employment or further study, notably exceeding the University’s benchmark”.

The TEF Panel also highlighted that Essex had “outstanding levels of satisfaction with teaching, academic support, and assessment and feedback, markedly exceeding the University’s benchmark”.

University of Essex Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony Forster, said: “We are extremely proud to be rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework.

 “We admit students on their potential, not just on their prior achievement, and our staff are absolutely committed to providing a transformational education experience for all our students.

“With our top 20 ranking in the Research Excellence Framework in 2014*, today’s announcement highlights that the University of Essex is a leader in delivering excellence in education and research and is in a select group of universities that excel at both.”

The link between research and education is a vital part of the University’s mission to ensure students get the maximum benefit from studying at a research-intensive institution.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education Professor Aletta Norval said: “With our very close relationship with the Students’ Union and placing the student voice at the heart of our work, the award of Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework confirms that Essex consistently provides an outstanding education to our students.

“As well as supporting a wide range of innovations in teaching and learning - from our in-house Personal Tutor system to our Technology Enhanced Learning programme - we equip our students with the knowledge and skills to become critical thinking, independent learners and prepare them for the global world in which we live.”

The University is committed to high quality teaching and offering an amazing student experience beyond the lecture theatre, laboratory and seminar room. Our award-winning THINK seminar series, for example, creates a space to debate controversial and thought-provoking subjects, allowing students to broaden their views on the key topics of the today and the extra-curricular activities of sports and student societies and volunteering led by our Students’ Union ensure that at Essex students don’t just get a degree, but an education.

Our approach is borne out by our consistently strong performance in the National Student Survey, coming in the top 10 for mainstream institutions in the last four years.

Commenting on the Gold ranking, Josh Gulrajani, Essex Students’ Union VP for Education, added: “It is fantastic to see our University awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework, which is a true testament to the amazing education that is delivered everyday here at Essex. This is most definitely a result of the hard work of everyone at the University, and we as the Students’ Union are extremely grateful for the fantastic relationship we have built with the university.

“While we disagree with the linking of this framework to fees, we appreciate that this rating is a fantastic accolade for the university, and reinforces what we as a Students’ Union already know; the University of Essex is a world-class educational institution, that places students at the heart of everything it does to ensure they gain an amazing degree and secure the best employment.”

The TEF awards were decided by an independent panel of experts including academics, students and employer representatives. Drawing on national data and evidence submitted by each university or college, the TEF measures excellence in three areas: teaching quality, the learning environment and the educational and professional outcomes achieved by students.

Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said: “Students invest significant amounts of time and money in their higher education. They rightly expect a high-quality learning experience and outcomes that reflect their potential. The UK already has a high bar for quality and standards, which all universities and colleges must meet. But the TEF judges excellence above and beyond this, clearly showing the highest levels across the sector.

“The TEF measures the things that students themselves say they care about: high-quality, engaged teaching and a supportive, stimulating learning environment which equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their potential, and then to progress to a good job or further study.”

* (Ranked 19th in REF after excluding specialist research institutions the Institute of Cancer Research and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the University of the Highlands and Islands which submitted less than 70 full-time equivalent members of staff)