Press Release: TEF empowers student choice with new perspective on higher education sector

Independent Higher Education (IHE) welcomes the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) as an important new source of information for prospective students which provides an alternative to research-focused league tables. One third of independent higher education providers eligible for full awards were rated Gold.

Students today will have access for the first time to an authoritative, centralised assessment of teaching, learning and the student experience in which the majority of higher education providers can participate. For independent providers TEF is an opportunity to showcase their focus on teaching and learning, their attention to the individual student experience, and their industry links which provide graduates with meaningful careers in their chosen fields.

55 independent providers of higher education took part and received gold, silver, bronze and provisional awards. As access to the common higher education metrics is still being phased in for independent providers, 49 of these received a Provisional Award, confirming that they meet rigorous national quality requirements. Of the six independent providers eligible for a full award, two received Gold, three received Silver and one received Bronze.

University of Buckingham
University of Law

Kaplan Open Learning
London Studio Centre
The Chicken Shed Theatre Trust

BPP University

IHE will support the TEF as it develops into a trusted and comprehensive review of the student experience across UK higher education. For independent providers this will take a few years as the core metrics required are phased in and become more sensitive to the different student population and provision found in the independent sector. The TEF may by this point look quite different from the institutional level assessment released today.

Ultimately the TEF focuses attention on what matters most to students: their experience of and outcomes from higher education. While the TEF’s design will evolve, its impact begins today by contributing to a more balanced picture of excellence in higher education. An historic reliance on research-dependent ranking systems has long disadvantaged innovative, specialist and teaching-focused institutions and sometimes misled students on what to expect from their university experience.

Alex Proudfoot, IHE’s Chief Executive, said:

“In the 21st century young people need more than the right piece of paper from the ‘right’ university to succeed in life, and with so many paths to choose from they need to understand the value that higher education can add. The TEF offers prospective students a real insight into this value and a powerful new tool to inform their decision.

“This first year of the assessment provides a fascinating new perspective on familiar institutions and a recognition of where truly excellent work takes place to help students from all backgrounds make the most of their abilities.

“Independent providers are used to putting their students first in everything they do, and will be eager for the opportunity the TEF represents to demonstrate this dedication in the years ahead.”

Notes to Editors

  • Independent Higher Education is the UK membership organisation and national representative body for independent providers of higher education, professional training and pathways. We are one of only three representative bodies of higher education in the UK. Further information can be found at our website – We can also be found on Twitter @independent_HE.
  • TEF results and the metrics, statements of findings and the submissions used in the assessment can be found at
  • TEF metrics to measure retention were only collected for most independent providers from 2015/16 which has restricted access to the TEF.
  • TEF Provisional is awarded to providers that meet rigorous national quality requirements but which do not yet have sufficient data to be fully assessed.
  • TEF metrics are attributed to the teaching institution. Where the teaching institution is different from the awarding institution in a franchise agreement, data for students at the teaching institution is not attributed to the awarding institution.
  • TEF awards will be published on Unistats and the UCAS websites.

For more information, please contact Joy Elliott-Bowman, our Policy and Public Affairs Manager, at or on 020 7608 8453 (DD).


  • On 22nd June 2017