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Subject-level TEF pilot delayed by pandemic

Image: Office for Students

Office for Students confirms there is no date for the next Teaching Excellence Framework

The Office for Students has confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the publication of the subject-level Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework pilot results.

In a letter to universities on 14 April, OfS chief executive Nicola Dandridge (pictured) said that in addition to the pilot results being put on hold, plans to “develop and consult on a new framework for the TEF during the first half of 2020” were also up in the air.

“The impact of the coronavirus crisis means that we do not currently have a date for the next TEF exercise,” Dandridge said in the letter, which was sent to all institutions registered with the regulator.

“We will provide further information as soon as we can,” she added. “We intend to consult on the future TEF scheme after the government has published the independent review and its response to the review’s recommendations.”

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said the decision to delay was understandable “now that the world has been turned upside down” by the pandemic.

“One of the admittedly more minor impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on higher education is that it exposes the full problems that stem from the government’s seemingly perpetual failure to publish and respond to the Pearce review of the TEF, and also to respond to the Augar report,” he added.

Dame Shirley Pearce’s review of the TEF was a requirement of the 2017 Higher Education and Research Act and its recommendations were expected to be published last year but are yet to be released.

Elsewhere in her letter, which is published online, Dandridge updated institutions on available coronavirus financial support.

“The OfS is acutely aware of the impressive work being done across the higher education sector to mitigate its impact on students and to support the national and global effort to control the virus,” she wrote.

Research Professional News has contacted the Department for Education for comment.