The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) has ranked both the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton as silver. The TEF ranks universities according to the quality of education that they provide. Both of Brighton’s universities have been awarded as silver, meaning that they deliver “high quality teaching, learning and outcomes for [their] students” as well as “consistently exceed[ing] rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education.”
In addition to the silver award, universities can obtain gold, bronze or a provisional if there’s not enough evidence to finalise an award.
In recent months there have been campaigns that local university students may be aware of, such as the ‘boycott the NSS (National Student Survey’. Student unions across the UK ran campaigns in an effort to boycott the survey and at an NUS conference it was claimed that the NSS could be used to support TEF rankings. The NUS has said on the matter, “The government is creating a forced market of institutions charging higher different prices for degrees”.
There had been some controversy as the university offered incentives for students who completed the NSS, which Sussex students’ union was not happy with.
Universities are not obligated to participate in the TEF however 295 higher education institutions took part, with 26 per cent gaining gold awards, 50 per cent achieving silver and 24 per cent getting bronze.
The award is given based on three key criterion, before being judged by a panel. Teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes are all assessed when considering which award should be given. The government has confirmed that tuition fees could be changed accordingly based on which award a university receives, (hence students hoping to boycott the scheme).
The TEF award is valid for three years, after that universities have the option to apply again.
So, does this make the Brighton VS Sussex rivalry redundant?