Following the 2012-13 higher education reforms, HEFCE was asked by the Government to support the publication of anonymised information for prospective and existing students about the teaching qualifications, fellowships and expertise of academic staff at all levels [Note 1]. The Competition and Markets Authority has also advised that institutions should provide information about the general level of experience or status of the academic staff involved in course delivery, to ensure compliance with consumer law.
HEFCE has been working with the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and other sector bodies to improve the availability of this information. HESA began collecting data through its staff record from 2012-13. This was supplemented in 2013 by guidance to institutions on publishing staff teaching qualifications from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.
The HESA teaching qualifications data indicates whether or not individuals hold a credit-bearing higher education teaching qualification or another relevant teaching qualification, or have been recognised in other ways for their teaching expertise, including accreditation against the UK Professional Standards Framework.
The data reported under each heading varies widely across the sector. This has been analysed by the Higher Education Academy and HESA in a report which seeks to explain these variations and to make recommendations for the future.
HEFCE’s Chief Executive, Madeleine Atkins, said:
‘Teaching qualifications are important to students and they are increasingly central to institutions’ strategies for improving learning and teaching. With this in mind, HEFCE has been working for several years to improve the data available on the qualifications and standing of academic staff across the higher education sector. This publication is the first to enable analysis of the data by institution. Together with the report from the Higher Education Academy and the Higher Education Statistics Agency on the collection of the data, it provides a platform for a further phase of work, through which we will consider with institutions, students and sector agencies how we can further improve the data and support its use.’
1. The 2011 White Paper proposed to ‘encourage higher education institutions to publish anonymised information for prospective and existing students about the teaching qualifications, fellowships and expertise of their teaching staff at all levels’ and to ask HEFCE to work with the sector to advise on how best this could be delivered. The 2013-14 grant letter asked HEFCE to pursue the White Paper proposals by working on publication of the ‘qualifications and expertise of teaching staff’. This was discharged in part through the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s guidance to institutions on publishing staff teaching qualifications in 2013, and in the publication of sector-level data in August 2015. The 2014-15 grant letter asked HEFCE to work to ‘maximise the impact’ of this guidance.
2. The Competition and Markets Authority Guidance to higher education providers can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-consumer-law-advice-for-providers.
3. This data is collected as part of the HESA staff record for higher education institutions. Details of the staff population included in the data collection are provided in the annex to the Circular Letter.
4. The UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education is a nationally recognised framework for benchmarking professional practice in higher education teaching and learning support.
5. The publications can be found at: