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76% of students plan to oppose the TEF

Friday 9 December 2016

Survey resulted released today from Save the Student have uncovered that 80 per cent of higher education students are clueless about the Teaching Excellence Framework, with a staggering 87 per cent unaware that the TEF is being used by the government to justify tuition fee increases from 2017.

The TEF is a rating system sorting universities into Gold, Silver and Bronze institutions based on how they score on a number of key metrics. Yet not one of those metrics actually assess the quality of teaching.

One of the metrics intended for use are the institutions National Student Survey scores. The NSS is a survey for final year students to measure their overall course satisfaction, not the quality of teaching. NUS are concerned that the government are manipulating data so institutions can justify raising tuition fees; creating a market in higher education where elitism is valued over access.

NUS and students’ unions have been lobbying government against this flawed plan, yet the government has not listened. This is why we are coordinating a national boycott of the NSS, making the data irrelevant and sending a strong message saying that students will not be complicit in damaging the reputation of our institutions, devaluing our degrees and raising fees.

This is why we are delighted to see that 76 per cent of students plan to oppose the scheme, including boycotting the NSS.

We encourage students to sign up to our pledge site and that students’ unions get involved with the campaign.

Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice President Higher Education, said:

“It is clear that students care about quality education both for themselves and for future students. But the TEF does nothing to ensure quality, it’s just marketization through the back door, indebting a further generations of students.

“Over three quarters of students plan to oppose the scheme. Jo Johnson must now see that as a clear indication that the TEF is flawed and scrap this wholly problematic policy.”


Notes to editors:

1. For more information please contact the NUS Press Office on 07866 695010 or

2. The Save the Student TEF Survey gathered 2,038 responses between November 30th and December 8th 2016