Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) FAQs

What is the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)?

The Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) was introduced by the UK government in England to assess excellence in teaching at universities and colleges, and the outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study. To be eligible to receive a TEF award, UK universities and colleges must first meet the existing quality standards of their home nation (see Quality & Standards FAQs). The first assessment took place in 2016 and the results were published in June 2017. 


Managed by the Office for Students (OfS), it considers performance such as dropout rates, student satisfaction and graduate employment rates, calling on data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa), National Student Survey (NSS) and Destination of  Levers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. 


Ratings of gold, silver, bronze or provisional are judged by an independent panel of students, academics and other experts:

  • Gold: "provision is consistently outstanding and of the highest quality found in the UK Higher Education sector"
  • Silver: "provision is of high quality, and significantly and consistently exceeds the baseline quality threshold expected of UK Higher Education"
  • Bronze: "provision is of satisfactory quality"
  • Provisional: This rating is given to institutions that do not enter the TEF , do not meet the minimum quality threshold or have insufficient data for a full assessment.

Where can I find out what rating a business school has?

Most universities and business schools publicise their individual TEF rating on their website, but you can find a full list of all outcomes of rated institutions on the OfS website. So far, about 300 colleges and universities have take part in the TEF, but participation remains voluntary. The exercise was first launched in England and later extended to institutions in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland. All English universities, except for the Open University, and around half of Scottish and Welsh institutions, participated voluntarily. The process is currently under an independent government review

Why doesn't my business school have a TEF rating?

TEF is a voluntary exercise, so business schools are not required to have a TEF rating. The Open University and some universities in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have chosen not to take part, instead relying on their own existing assessment processes.