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Teaching Excellence Framework

We are proud to have achieved a Gold Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) award, demonstrating that we deliver consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students. Gold is the highest possible rating an institution can achieve.

The awards are decided by an independent TEF Panel of experts and the provider’s undergraduate teaching is assessed against ten criteria that cover the areas of teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes. The panel looks at evidence provided in the institution’s written submission as well as data about how many students continue into their second year at the university, student satisfaction levels (measured by the National Student Survey (NSS)) and graduate employment outcomes.

The Office for Students stated that the following were positive points when awarding Gold to York:

  • a most highly valued culture for rewarding teaching that supports excellence in provision across the provider
  • a research-strong environment that engages and provides the most outstanding levels of stretch for students in their learning
  • the impact of interventions to ensure that assessment and feedback are used effectively in supporting students’ development, progression and attainment
  • outstanding academic support that enables all students to progress and succeed in their studies
  • excellent provision of careers support and development of employability skills to ensure very good employment and further study outcomes.

Teaching of the highest standard, a challenging but supportive learning environment, and student discovery are the hallmarks of a York education, and the TEF Gold award recognises how valuable this is.

What TEF Gold means

What is the TEF?

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a scheme for recognising excellent teaching in universities, colleges and other higher education providers. It provides information to help prospective students choose where to study. TEF is for undergraduate study only.

Does every university take part?

The TEF is voluntary and each higher education provider decides whether or not to take part. The Government introduced the TEF in 2016 and the first results were published in June 2017. 

Which higher education providers have TEF awards?

Higher education providers decide whether or not to take part in the TEF. Participating providers and their TEF awards are listed on the Office for Students website.

What do the gold, silver and bronze awards mean?

A provider taking part in the TEF is awarded:

  • Gold for delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.
  • Silver for delivering high-quality teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It consistently exceeds rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education.
  • Bronze for delivering teaching, learning and outcomes for its students that meet rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education.

What do provisional awards mean?

Provisional awards are given to participating providers that meet national quality requirements, but do not yet have sufficient data to be fully assessed.

How are the TEF awards decided?

The awards are decided by an independent TEF Panel of experts, including academics, students and employer representatives. See the full list of panel members and assessors.

The provider’s undergraduate teaching is assessed against ten criteria that cover the areas of teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes.

The TEF Panel considers evidence from a set of metrics using national data as well as written evidence submitted by the provider. The metrics cover continuation rates (Higher Education Statistics Agency – HESA returns), student satisfaction (National Student Survey – NSS results from the previous three years) and employment outcomes (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey – DLHE).

The metrics for each provider are used as a benchmark to take account of differences in its students’ characteristics, entry qualifications and subjects studied. View the metrics and provider submissions on the Office for Students website.

Is there more information about a provider’s TEF award?

A short statement by the TEF Panel explains each provider’s award. Read the statements on the Office for Students website.

What if a higher education provider doesn’t have a TEF award?

All higher education providers in the UK must meet rigorous national quality requirements for higher education. The TEF measures excellence in addition to these requirements and is voluntary. 

If a provider has no TEF award, it may have decided not to take part.

Has the new York Approach been developed as a result of TEF?

The York Approach (our pedagogy) is not a result of the TEF; it has been developed as part of our ongoing vision of teaching excellence.

The York Approach was conceived and developed well before talk of TEF began. Now embedded into our undergraduate programmes, the pedagogy will enhance the teaching and learning experience at York and will make our future TEF submissions stronger.

Is there a separate TEF score for departments?

TEF only delivers an institutional score. Each provider who has taken part will receive an overall rating of Bronze, Silver or Gold.

Where will the TEF results appear?

The Office for Students will have the full list of awards and the information on submissions. Each provider is able to use their award status on their marketing materials and web pages.

UCAS has developed comprehensive information and advice for learners and advisers outlining what the TEF is and how ratings are determined. It will also explain the differing approaches to TEF across the UK, and why some providers may not have a TEF rating.

UCAS also displays TEF ratings in the search tool for undergraduate courses, which will link directly to the information and advice on ucas.com. Information about TEF ratings will be sourced from the Office for Students and allocated based on a provider’s UKPRN. UCAS will not display any TEF information for providers that do not have a TEF rating.

Will the TEF score for the University be looked at by employers?

TEF is now becoming established as a mark of teaching quality so the award given to a university will have an impact on the reputation of that university and therefore the perceived quality of its graduates.

York has achieved an excellent rating. This, together with the opportunities available to students at York to develop the skills and knowledge valued by employers, will improve outcomes for all our graduates.