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The Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs) programme represented HEFCE’s largest single funding initiative in learning and teaching to date, with a total of £315 million made available from 2005-06 to 2009-10. This initiative was part of a broader move to enhance the status of learning and teaching in higher education, recognising that esteem and reward systems within HEIs were often more likely to recognise excellence in research than teaching.

In December 2010, HEFCE and the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) in Northern Ireland commissioned SQW to undertake a summative evaluation of the CETLs.

This report on the evaluation notes that the CETLs were extraordinarily and intentionally diverse. While they represented a programme in the sense of common overall aims (and funding and broad activities), specific aims and activities varied widely. The report provides evidence of good examples of disciplinary and thematic collaboration, and raises a number of important questions for funders and institutions to consider in relation to further sustaining activity.

The report concludes that the legacy of the programme rests largely in individual staff and in those institutions which have embedded CETL developments, rather than in a general enhancement of teaching and learning across the entire higher education sector.