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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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In total, 126 providers have applied to take part in the third year of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF). The exercise was introduced by the Government to recognise excellent teaching and inform applicants’ choices about where to study.

Last year over 230 providers gained a full TEF award (Note 1), which they may hold for up to three years. Some providers have chosen to reapply this year in the light of new evidence about their teaching excellence.

Altogether 92 providers have applied for a full TEF assessment this year, of which 23 are higher education institutions, 40 are further education colleges, and 29 are alternative providers of higher education. A further 34 providers have opted in for a provisional TEF award, as they do not yet have sufficient data to be assessed.

Of the 92 providers that applied for a full assessment, around a third are participating in TEF for the first time; a third held a TEF Year Two award due to expire this year; and a third are reapplying.

The assessments will be carried out by an expert panel made up of students, leading academics and widening participation experts, supported by a pool of assessors. Panel members and assessors have now been appointed for TEF Year Three (Note 2).

Professor Chris Husbands, Chair of the TEF assessment panel and Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said:

‘With such a high calibre of assessors and panel members I am confident that we will continue to reach robust judgements through the Year Three assessment as TEF evolves in the interests of students.’

Providers applying for an assessment will be awarded a Bronze, Silver or a Gold rating, reflecting excellence across their teaching, learning environment and student outcomes.

The ratings will be published in early June 2018 to inform people applying to study about where they can expect to receive the best teaching and outcomes. Detailed information about institutional performance will be published alongside the ratings to enable students to continue to work with their providers to improve teaching and outcomes for all students.

Piloting the TEF at subject level

Separately, 50 providers are taking part in a pilot exercise to test methods of undertaking TEF assessments at subject level in the future (Note 3). Awarding ratings at subject level as well as institutional level would give applicants more detailed information to inform their choices of where to study.

The main panel overseeing the subject pilot assessments, led by Professor Janice Kay, has also been appointed (Note 4). This includes the Chairs and Deputy Chairs of seven subject panels, the members of which will be appointed shortly.

The subject pilot is developmental and ratings for the providers taking part will not be published. A second round of pilots will take place next year.


  1. The list of last year’s TEF awards can be found at
  2. The list of panel members and assessors for TEF Year Three can be found at
  3. The list of providers involved in the subject-level pilot exercise can be found at
  4. The list of main panel members for the subject-level pilot assessments is available at
  5. For general information about TEF, see
  6. The TEF specification (October 2017) can be found at
  7. The TEF subject-level pilot specification (July 2017) can be found at