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Building blocks

A three-stage teaching evaluation framework will evolve gradually and retain link with fees, says minister.

Jo Johnson, the universities and science minister, has defended his decision to link the results of the teaching excellence framework with fees, after vice-chancellors last week called for the two to be uncoupled.

Giving evidence to the Commons committee on business, innovation and skills on 8 December, Johnson said there had been “a variety of messages” on the link with tuiiton fees, reflecting a mix of views. In his opinion, it provides a “framework for how we want to provide underpinning support to universities”. He told MPs: “Teaching quality, as an organising principle in how we arrange our financing of universities, seems to be a very sensible one.” It would incentivise institutions that fail to secure extra resources through the exerise to refocus efforts on teaching, and allow those that do well to be able to expand provision, he said. He hopes that eventually the framework will be granular, operating on a course-by-course basis, but in the meantime there is “also merit in taking an institutional approach”.

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