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Institutions Wary of New TEF University Rankings

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Universities are reportedly preparing themselves for less than favourable positions within the government's new "gold, silver and bronze" league table, due to be published next month.

The new rankings, to be dubbed the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), will award universities with an official ranking based on factors such as graduate employability and student satisfaction.

The new rankings could lead to some disgruntled universities, with reports suggesting institutions such as Bristol, the London School of Economics, King's College London, Liverpool, Soas University of London and Goldsmith at risk of being awarded a bronze.

Those sitting within the bronze category will be unable to raise their tuition fees in line with inflation until after 2020.

The risk is not just limited to fees, with reputation also at stake.

General secretary of the University and College Union, Sally Hunt, highlighted the problems associated with the TEF. She said: "We are expecting letters from universities saying that every single one is reorganising because of the TEF. They will call it prioritising successful departments, but it will mean narrowing the curriculum."

It's expected that many universities will treat the first results with a pinch of salt, although understandably those that do well will likely flaunt the good news.

Those at risk of lower awards include universities based in the capital, where student satisfaction and retention are generally lower. Prof Ed Byrne, vice-chancellor of King's College London suggested: "There is always room for improvement, but for the world-class institutions to be classed as bronze is ridiculous."

Advice from universities is for prospective students and their parents to not base their choice solely on the new medals.