further & higher education
voluntary sector

TEF 2019: Next Steps for the Teaching Excellence Framework

further & higher education

voluntary sector

8:45 - 16:00

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Events @N. 6, Central London

This Forum provides an opportunity for participants to understand how to successfully interact with the Teaching Excellence Framework and raise teaching standards and outcomes across the sector. Attendees will examine how the landscape has changed since the first TEF results were published in 2017 and recent funding announcements by the Department for Education. Delegates will also explore best practice case studies that demonstrate success in achieving gold status and key examples of notable progress, such as the importance of peer-review at the University of Bristol or the strategic investment in careers and employability at the University of Nottingham.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Higher Education Sector. Typical job titles will include:

  • Directors of Teaching and Learning
  • Directors of Education
  • Associate Deans
  • Associate Professors
  • Heads of School
  • Heads of Academic Development
  • Heads of Department and Faculties
  • Heads of Student Development
  • Pro-Vice Chancellors
  • Principal Teaching Fellows
  • Learning and Development Advisors
  • Senior Lecturers

This Forum is open to the Further Education, Private, and Voluntary Sectors to encourage debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Graeme Rosenberg, Head of TEF, Office for Students
  • Sam Meakin, Senior Advisor to Dame Shirley Pearce, Independent Review of TEF 
  • Professor Michael Young, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), University of Sunderland and TEF Panel Member, Office for Students 
  • Dr. Geoff Stoakes, Special Adviser, Degree Standards, Advance HE
  • Professor Nick Lieven, Professor of Aircraft Dynamics, University of Bristol, Chair, Engineering and Technology TEF Subject Panel
  • Dr Nalayini Thambar, Director of Careers and Employability, University of Nottingham, and Quality Director, Association of Graduate Careers Advisory 
  • Professor Norbert Pachler, Pro-Director, Teaching, Quality and Learning Innovation, Institute of Education, University College London
  • John Hill, Head of Digital Learning, University of Derby
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Professor Norbert Pachler, Pro-Director, Teaching, Quality and Learning Innovation, Institute of Education, University College London (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Understanding the Impact of the TEF on Higher Education Institutions

  • Outlining how TEF has impacted the Higher Education sector and created a culture whereby HE institutions are judged by their teaching and research quality in order to improve student outcomes
  • Evaluating the implications of the TEF for HE providers, since its inception in 2017, such as that on fee-charging and funding
  • Understanding the Office for Students achievements in the TEF, and analysing if its been a vehicle for students and other key stakeholders to have guaranteed consultation on the present system and any future additions and/or amendments, which was the basis of its founding
  • Addressing the concerns of Students about the implementation of the TEF, in the wake of some level of resistance from these groups upon the publishing of the first set of TEF results in Year 2 (2016/17 academic year)

Graeme Rosenberg, Head of Teaching Excellence Framework, Office for Students (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: The Progress and Outcomes of the Subject-Specific TEF Pilots

  • Observations on STEM submissions and best practice
  • Looking at how the TEF has been recognising that education is a joint process of discovery, in which students are supported to become effective, motivated and resilient learners
  • Exploring the progress made in the second year of the pilot and how it’s being used to refine the subject level TEF process, working with the HE community further to recognise and enhance excellence across UK higher education
  • Assessing how the subject-level pilot has worked in the engineering space and outlining the impact it has had on students, HEI’s and wider engagement with STEM initiatives

Professor Nick Lieven, Professor of Aircraft Dynamics, University of Bristol, Chair, Engineering and Technology TEF Subject Panel (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Reviewing the Effectiveness of TEF

  • Reviewing the progress of the independent review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF)
  • Reviewing the establishing of an advisory group, comprising relevant experts, to support the review
  • Discussing trends, patterns, challenges and possible solutions surrounding TEF

Sam Meakin, Senior Advisor to Dame Shirley Pearce, Independent Review of TEF (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Initial Analysis and Reflections of the Metrics Used in TEF

  • Looking at De Montfort’s results from the Teaching Excellence Framework (2017-18), which were made publicly available in June 2017, achieving a gold award
  • Offering initial analysis and commentary, looking at the primary reasons for providers being awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold, and looking at how De Montfort was able to break through the borderlines and achieve the higher-level award
  • Demonstrating that De Montfort’s submissions strategy, a narrative document prepared to accompany the submission, would have had a significant effect upon the award bestowed
  • Evaluating trends and patterns seen since TEF’s inceptions and conclusions to be drawn from them

Professor Andy Collop, Interim Vice-Chancellor, De Montfort University (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Investing in Careers and Employability Expertise and achieving TEF Gold

  • Understanding how a strategic institutional commitment to providing students with expert careers guidance and preparing them for high value employment in their chosen field has enabled Nottingham to put careers and employability at the heart of its TEF Gold application
  • Considering how a significant investment in an expert Careers and Employability Service and increasing the opportunities for work experience has contributed to a year-on-year increase in graduate-level employment and further study six months after graduation
  • Reflecting on recent developments to surface and ensuring that professional competencies are embedded into the curriculum to prepare students for a career in the modern workplace
  • Confirming the value of strong, meaningful partnerships between academics and careers professionals to support student success and fulfilment beyond their university experience

Dr Nalayini Thambar, Director of Careers and Employability, University of Nottingham, and Quality Director, Association of Graduate Careers Advisory (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Special Keynote: Understanding the Role of the TEF Panel

  • Detailing how the assessment process works, according to the published TEF guidance
  • Outlining the challenges presented by the metrics adopted by TEF and the relationship between those metrics and institutional submissions
  • Reflecting on the implications on quality assurance in light of TEF

Professor Michael Young, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), University of Sunderland and TEF Panel Member, Offce for Students (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Widening Participation Through A Strategic Programme to Significantly Reduce Gaps Between Minority Groups of Students

  • Outlining how the University of Brighton has formed the Widening Participation Achievement Team (WIPAT) to develop and lead on initiatives and interventions to improve retention, success and progression for minority students
  • Considering the biggest challenges faced so far in implementing change across the university and discussing methods to overcome
  • Discussing how the WIPAT has produced a 6% point reduction in the BME attainment gap and an 7.6% points in the black attainment gap so far
  • Reflecting on how the University’s work to improve the university experience and attainment of minority students contributed to the awarding of a Silver TEF award in 2017

Joanna MacDonnell, Director of Education – Arts and Humanities, University of Brighton and Member, TEF Subject Level Pilot Panel (Arts), Office for Students (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Emphasising the Importance of Student Engagement in the Assessment of Teaching Excellence

  • Discussing the importance of student engagement with teaching, learning and quality assurance as key indicating mark for teaching excellence
  • Exploring the involvement of students in generating the institutional (and subject-level) submission documents required for the TEF
  • Assessing the role of the UK Engagement Survey in assessing teaching excellence
  • Evaluating the current use of the National Student Survey (NSS) in TEF assessment and outlining possible future relationships between the two and the role of unsolicited student feedback

Dr. Geoff Stoakes, Special Adviser, Degree Standards, Advance HE (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Integrating Technology Enhanced Outcomes to Positively Affect Teaching Excellence

  • Outlining how the University of Bournemouth created a Centre of Excellence for Learning and a Technology Enhanced Learning [TEL] Strategy Forum to effectively facilitate university-wide involvement in the creation and implementation of TEL-related schemes
  • Discussing the impact of the Changing the Learning Landscape project and following TEL initiatives, including ‘Try Something Different’, the TEL Toolkit and a digital skills self-assessment test
  • Sharing reflections on the challenges and difficulties faced in implementing a comprehensive cultural shift towards TEL to improve student outcomes and improve the teaching experience
  • Evaluating how this has positively impacted Bournemouth’s TEF outcomes and heightened the level of satisfaction and education for students

Professor Debbie Holley, Professor of Learning Innovation, Head of the Centre of Excellence for Learning, Bournemouth University (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Driving Digital Change: Impacting Teaching Excellence Through Digital Capability and Digital Practice

  • Discussing how the University of Derby’s approach to digital capability development and digital practice contributed to the achievement of a Gold TEF award in June 2017
  • Outlining the Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) Strategy launched in April 2017 and how it contributed to creation of what the TEF panel called ‘outstanding digital resources’
  • Sharing insights into key lessons learned and initiatives created in response to challenges faced when embedding university-wide TEL into the curriculum
  • Exploring the future of digital learning and how the University of Derby plans to continue to positively improve digital capabilities and practices

John Hill, Head of Digital Learning, University of Derby (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*Programme is subject to change

As the number of people attending Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) continues to increase, the need for a detailed, accessible, and accountable measure of the quality of teaching offered by universities has also grown. The introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in June 2017 has sought to bring about this drastic change.

Building on the inception of the TEF, in 2017, year two of TEF results were published, in 2018, with some universities showing signs of progress. Since then, in late-2018 and early-2019 there has been an increase of HE providers subscribing for the first time. In January 2019, a research paper was released by the Office for Students evaluating the first ever TEF results in from 2017-2018, ranking HEIs with a Gold, Silver or Bronze rating. The paper highlighted 36 indicators of impact that would suggest whether the TEF was having a negative, neutral or positive impact. It was determined that the majority of providers were indeed showing signs of positive impact, according to the identified indicators. Of participants questioned 50% claimed that their insitution offered either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ teaching and the sector as a whole was deemed to have a net positive percentage of 58%. This research paper shows hard, analytical data that the TEF is having the intended impact on providers, offering optimal student outcomes.

In June 2019, a 78 new TEF results were released with several institutions improving their rating from Bronze to Silver or Silver to Gold. Previous ratings have been valid for three years, but this fourth round of results will only last two years, as the government plans to introduce subject-level assessments, in line with an evaluation being conducted over 2019-20 and 2020-21, which will produce provider and subject-level ratings.

Yet, amongst the progress being made, there is a question on how effective the TEF is. The Pearce Review, conducted in 2019 and due for release during the summer months, has implicitly suggested that the framework does work for institutions but is lacking in its ability to inform students, which was its objective when established. This forum will delve into the updates on the Pearce review and ask the frank questions on the viability of TEF, alongside presenting key case studies that look to prove its viability.

The TEF is changing the outlook of university league tables and the broader HE sector. As a consequence, it is fundamental that HEIs, including the 282 institutions holding awards and those still waiting with provisional results, now come together to further their understanding of the TEF and learn from each other. This will ensure that the HE sector sufficiently adapts to this changing environment and continues to improve the quality of teaching it provides.

John Hill, Head of Digital Learning, University of Derby

John is the University of Derby’s Head of Digital Learning, working across the University in partnership with staff and students to embed and support the development of digital learning.

John leads and develops University-wide strategies and policies that ensure students have the highest quality digital-learning experience while studying with the University.

John is currently leading the implementation of an ambitious institutional Technology-Enhanced Learning Strategy (2017-2021) to deliver excellence across four key areas: Digital Practice, Digital Capability, Digital Infrastructure, and a Data and Research-informed approach.  

John has experience of teaching on the subject of digital learning, including ‘effective online learning’ and ‘learning in a digital age’.

Professor Andy Collop, Interim Vice-Chancellor, De Montfort University

Professor Andy Collop was appointed Interim Vice-Chancellor at De Montfort University (DMU) in February 2019 where, as the chief executive and principal academic officer, he is responsible for its organisation, direction and reputation.  Prior to this, Professor Collop served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation and PVC/Dean of the Faculty of Technology.  Before joining DMU in September 2011, Professor Collop spent 15 years at the University of Nottingham where he progressed through the academic ranks to a personal chair and held a number of senior leadership and managerial roles within the Faculty of Engineering.

Dr Nalayini Thambar, Director of Careers and Employability, University of Nottingham, and Quality Director, Association of Graduate Careers Advisory

Dr Nalayini Thambar is the Director of Careers and Employability at The University of Nottingham.  A Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a qualified careers adviser, her work has involved teaching, professional practice and leadership across all areas of student employability.  Her doctoral thesis, an exploration of the professional identity of university careers advisers in the new employability climate, was completed through Bradford School of Management. As Quality Director for AGCAS, Nalayini has developed professional standards, codes of conduct and quality assurance processes for careers and employability activity across UK higher education.

Joanna MacDonnell, Director of Education – Arts and Humanities, University of Brighton and Member, TEF Subject Level Pilot Panel (Arts), Office for Students

Joanna is the Director of Education for Student Success and Widening Participation at the University of Brighton and also the Widening Participation Liaison panel member for the Office for Students TEF Arts and Humanities Subject Pilot Panel. At Brighton Joanna leads on the cross institutional areas of Widening Participation student experience, student retention, success and progression, strategies to narrow the BME attainment gap and preparation for the TEF provider and subject level submissions. Joanna is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) and a Fellow of SEDA (Staff Educational Development Association) and also holds an MA in Education.

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