Welcome to Bronzesmiths: TEF Results Published


This week (22nd June), the results of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) were released and, as we predicted, Goldsmiths has received a Bronze classification, the lowest of the three available rankings. According to Times Higher Education, this places Goldsmiths at 132nd out of 138 ranked institutions.

The TEF has been introduced by the government with the aim of recognising excellence in teaching and learning, ranking institutions gold, silver or bronze, using a range of metrics, including the National Student Survey (NSS), Graduate Destinations survey and retention rates.

We recognise the need to meaningfully evaluate teaching and learning here at Goldsmiths, to identify what we do well and what needs to be improved.

However, we strongly believe that the TEF is not the tool to do this as it does not effectively measure teaching excellence.

The one size fits all metrics used to calculate our rating discriminate against an arts and humanities institution like Goldsmiths and disproportionately affects London universities. Throughout this academic year, we’ve been campaigning to boycott the National Student Survey, a methodically flawed instrument that provides an incomplete picture of the student experience.

We believe in empowering students by involving them as partners in their education, not simply as passive consumers occasionally asked to fill out a survey that will ultimately contribute to a rise in tuition fees, creating further barriers to higher education.

As a Students’ Union, we will continue to grow our Departmental Student Coordinator (DSC) programme, focusing on student-led consultation and research, to try and make life better for students that study here, ensuring that everyone leaves with a positive experience of Goldsmiths. As a staff union, UCU will continue to fight for the resources and structures needed to underpin a high quality and critically-minded education.

We urge management not to concede to the flawed logic of the TEF but to address the real issues that need to be dealt with in terms of student support and the overall learning experience. Students clearly have concerns about the Goldsmiths experience and we call on the College to work to address these issues, especially in the areas of assessment, feedback and mental health. We are glad to hear they are already taking some proactive steps in these areas. However, we will not stop lobbying them to do more.