Universities to be rated by subject quality

The Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), which awards universities with an overall rating of gold, silver and bronze, will be extended to subject level

This will allow prospective students to compare the different courses on offer across institutions.

It will focus on course quality, revealing which universities are providing excellent teaching, and which are coasting or relying on their research reputation.

The Department for Education has launched a 10-week public consultation, seeking views on the design of the new framework. This will run alongside a pilot of the scheme, which has 50 universities and colleges taking part, including the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), De Montfort University and the Open University.

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Prospective students deserve to know which courses deliver great teaching and great outcomes – and which ones are lagging behind.

“In the age of the student, universities will no longer be able to hide if their teaching quality is not up to the world-class standard that we expect.”

The new subject-level TEF will give students more information than ever before, allowing them to drill down and compare universities by subject. This will level the international playing field to help applicants make better choices, and ensure that more students get the value for money they deserve from higher education.

This new framework recognises that outcomes and teaching quality differ not just by university but also by course, and will allow students to look behind provider-level ratings and access information about teaching quality for a specific subject.

Those universities and colleges taking part in the pilot scheme for subject-level TEF are working with the sector in academic years 2017/18 and 2018/19, with the intention that the first full year of subject-level TEF will take place in 2019/20.

The new framework will take into account student feedback, drop-out rates and graduate outcomes to help deliver the objectives of the review of post-18 education launched by the Prime Minister last month, ensuring that students get the value for money they deserve from higher education.

Read more