Several leading universities have failed to score highly in a new ranking of degree teaching standards.
The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) has rated 295 institutions bronze, silver or gold according to their standard of undergraduate teaching.
Gold went to 59 and silver to 116.
The lowest score of bronze was awarded to 56 – including the London School of Economics (LSE), Southampton, Liverpool, Goldsmiths and the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas).
The new teaching rankings aim to help students make informed choices about degree courses, but many universities rated as bronze have criticised the system as unfair and unreliable.
The TEF, which was introduced by the previous government, is being administered by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce).
Degree providers – a mixture of universities, colleges offering degree courses and alternative providers – could choose whether or not to take part.
However, those awarded a bronze or higher – all institutions that took part, besides 64 who were given a provisional rating – are now set to be able to raise tuition fees, which currently stand at about £9,000, in line with inflation in 2018-19.
Higher education providers are assessed on a range of measures, including facilities, student satisfaction, drop-out rates and whether students go on to employment or further study after graduating.
It is based on data and not actual inspections of lectures or other teaching.
Fourteen further education colleges that offer degrees received the top ranking of gold, alongside some elite universities.
Differences between institutions, such as entry qualifications and subjects studied, were taken into account by an independent panel – made up of 27 academics, students, employers and experts in widening participation – which made the final awards.
A gold award means a university is of the highest quality found in the UK, providing "consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students", while the silver award was given for consistently exceeding "rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education" and bronze was awarded to those that met these national requirements.
The ranking of provisional is given to those institutions that do not yet have sufficient data to be fully assessed.
Hefce said the rankings measured the issues that students cared about:
- high-quality, engaged teaching
- a supportive, stimulating learning environment
- having the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their potential
- the opportunity to progress to a good job or further study
Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of Hefce, said students invested significant amounts of time and money in their higher education and "rightly expected a high-quality learning experience and outcomes".
Prof Chris Husbands, who chairs the TEF assessment panel, said he hoped the TEF "provided clear and easily understandable ratings to be used alongside other information".
He stressed that within individual awards, universities may have elements of others – for example a university awarded bronze could have elements of gold or silver.
Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said the fact that some of the results "seemed surprising" suggested the TEF was working.
"The TEF would have comprehensively failed if it had simply replicated existing hierarchies," he said.
"It was always designed to do something different to other league tables and rankings – namely, to show where there are pockets of excellence that have been ignored and to encourage improvements elsewhere."
But he added that students should remember the TEF did not "accurately reflects precisely what goes on in lecture halls".
"I hope university applicants will use the results in their decision-making – but they should do so with caution, not least because the ratings are for whole universities rather than individual courses," he said.
Sir Christopher Snowden, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton, which received a bronze award, said it was "hard to have confidence in a TEF which appears devoid of any meaningful assessment of teaching".
"I know I am not alone in having deep concerns about its subjective assessment, its lack of transparency, and with different benchmarks for each institution removing any sense of equity and equality of assessment," he said.
"Our own student satisfaction metrics, including satisfaction with teaching, are better than some of those universities who have been awarded silver and gold today."
Southampton intends to appeal against its rating.
Dr Deborah Johnston, pro-director of Soas, said she was concerned that the TEF did not "accurately reflect what we do".
"There is clearly also a London effect, with one in three London institutions achieving bronze, compared to just one in eight outside London.
"The metrics were not benchmarked for London, when we believe there was a significant difference for London institutions, for example in relation to retention rates due to costs of living."
In a statement, the University of Liverpool said it was disappointing to receive a bronze rating, but added that the TEF was "not an absolute measure of quality".
"By other widely recognised rankings, the University of Liverpool is consistently named in the top 200 universities globally," it said.
"Nonetheless, we're committed to improving against the measures used in the TEF."
Patrick Loughrey, warden of Goldsmiths said the TEF rating showed "we must improve in a number of areas to ensure our students have the best possible experience during their time here".
"We are already working hard to do this, and look forward to meeting these challenges together over the coming months and years" he said.
Interim director of the LSE, Prof Julia Black, said there were limits to the measures the TEF used, but added: "We recognise that we have work to do, but we are confident that the education initiatives that we have under way will lead to improvements for our students."
|FULL LIST OF UNIVERSITIES|
|HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION||TEF RANKING|
|University of Abertay Dundee||Silver|
|ABI College Limited||Provisional|
|Abingdon and Witney College||Silver|
|The Academy of Contemporary Music Limited||Provisional|
|Access to Music Limited||Provisional|
|Accrington and Rossendale College||Bronze|
|Amersham & Wycombe College||Bronze|
|Anglia Ruskin University||Silver|
|Anglo-European College of Chiropractic||Silver|
|Architectural Association (Incorporated)||Provisional|
|The Arts University Bournemouth||Gold|
|University of the Arts, London||Silver|
|Askham Bryan College||Bronze|
|Assemblies of God Incorporated||Provisional|
|The University of Bath||Gold|
|Bath Spa University||Silver|
|University of Bedfordshire||Silver|
|The University of Birmingham||Gold|
|University College Birmingham||Silver|
|Birmingham City University||Silver|
|Bishop Burton College||Bronze|
|Bishop Grosseteste University||Gold|
|Blackpool and the Fylde College||Gold|
|BMC (Brooksby Melton College)||Bronze|
|The University of Bolton||Silver|
|BPP University Limited||Bronze|
|The University of Bradford||Silver|
|University of Brighton||Silver|
|University of Bristol||Silver|
|Bristol Baptist College||Provisional|
|Brit College Limited||Provisional|
|The British School of Osteopathy||Bronze|
|Brunel University London||Silver|
|The University of Buckingham||Gold|
|Buckinghamshire New University||Bronze|
|University of Cambridge||Gold|
|Cambridge Regional College||Bronze|
|Canterbury Christ Church University||Silver|
|Cardiff Metropolitan University||Silver|
|Cardinal Newman College||Provisional|
|University of Central Lancashire||Silver|
|University of Chester||Silver|
|The University of Chichester||Silver|
|The Chicken Shed Theatre Trust||Silver|
|City and Guilds of London Art School Limited||Provisional|
|City College Plymouth||Gold|
|City of Bristol College||Silver|
|The City of Liverpool College||Gold|
|City, University of London||Silver|
|Cleveland College of Art and Design||Gold|
|The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama||Gold|
|Courtauld Institute of Art||Silver|
|University for the Creative Arts||Silver|
|The University of Cumbria||Bronze|
|De Montfort University||Gold|
|University of Derby||Gold|
|University of Dundee||Gold|
|University of Durham||Silver|
|Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College||Provisional|
|The University of East Anglia||Silver|
|East Durham College||Silver|
|East End Computing & Business College Limited||Provisional|
|East Kent College||Provisional|
|University of East London||Bronze|
|East Riding College||Bronze|
|Edge Hill University||Gold|
|The Edward James Foundation Limited||Provisional|
|The University of Essex||Gold|
|University College of Estate Management||Provisional|
|University of Exeter||Gold|
|Fairfield School of Business Ltd||Provisional|
|Farnborough College of Technology||Bronze|
|Futureworks Training Limited||Provisional|
|University of Gloucestershire||Silver|
|Grafton College Limited||Provisional|
|Greater Brighton Metropolitan College||Silver|
|University of Greenwich||Silver|
|Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education||Bronze|
|Guildhall School of Music & Drama||Silver|
|Harper Adams University||Gold|
|Hartlepool College of Further Education||Silver|
|Heart of Worcestershire College||Silver|
|Hereford College of Arts||Silver|
|Hertford Regional College||Silver|
|University of Hertfordshire||Silver|
|Highbury College Portsmouth||Bronze|
|Holy Cross College||Provisional|
|Hopwood Hall College||Bronze|
|The University of Huddersfield||Gold|
|Hugh Baird College||Gold|
|The University of Hull||Silver|
|Hy Education Limited||Provisional|
|ICMP Management Limited||Provisional|
|Imperial College London||Gold|
|Kaplan Open Learning (Essex) Limited||Silver|
|University of Keele||Gold|
|Kensington Education Foundation Limited||Provisional|
|The University of Kent||Gold|
|The Kingham Hill Trust||Provisional|
|King's College London||Silver|
|Kingston Maurward College||Bronze|
|The University of Lancaster||Gold|
|The University of Law Limited||Gold|
|The University of Leeds||Gold|
|Leeds Beckett University||Silver|
|Leeds City College||Bronze|
|Leeds College of Art||Silver|
|Leeds Trinity University||Silver|
|The University of Leicester||Silver|
|University of Lincoln||Gold|
|The University of Liverpool||Bronze|
|Liverpool Hope University||Gold|
|The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts||Gold|
|Liverpool John Moores University||Silver|
|University College London||Silver|
|London Bridge Business Academy Limited||Provisional|
|London College of Creative Media Limited||Provisional|
|The London Institute of Banking & Finance||Provisional|
|London Metropolitan University||Bronze|
|London School of Business and Management Limited||Provisional|
|The London School of Economics and Political Science||Bronze|
|London School of Management Education Limited||Provisional|
|London School of Science & Technology Limited||Provisional|
|London School of Theology||Provisional|
|London South Bank University||Silver|
|London Studio Centre Limited||Silver|
|Luther King House Educational Trust||Provisional|
|The University of Manchester||Silver|
|Manchester Metropolitan University||Silver|
|Met Film School Limited||Provisional|
|Milton Keynes College||Bronze|
|Nazarene Theological College||Provisional|
|Neath Port Talbot College||Silver|
|Nelson College London Limited||Provisional|
|New College Durham||Bronze|
|New College Stamford||Silver|
|University of Newcastle upon Tyne||Gold|
|Newham College of Further Education||Provisional|
|Norland College Limited||Provisional|
|North East Surrey College of Technology||Bronze|
|North Hertfordshire College||Silver|
|North Lindsey College||Silver|
|North West Regional College||Provisional|
|The University of Northampton||Gold|
|Northern College of Acupuncture||Provisional|
|University of Northumbria at Newcastle||Silver|
|Norwich University of the Arts||Gold|
|The University of Nottingham||Gold|
|Nottingham Trent University||Gold|
|The School of Oriental and African Studies||Bronze|
|University of Oxford||Gold|
|Oxford Brookes University||Silver|
|Oxford Business College UK Limited||Provisional|
|Pearson College Limited||Provisional|
|University of Plymouth||Bronze|
|Plymouth College of Art||Bronze|
|Point Blank Limited||Provisional|
|University of Portsmouth||Gold|
|Queen Mary University of London||Silver|
|The Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education||Provisional|
|The University of Reading||Silver|
|Redcar & Cleveland College||Silver|
|The Robert Gordon University||Gold|
|Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance||Gold|
|The Royal Academy of Music||Gold|
|The Royal Agricultural University||Silver|
|The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama||Gold|
|Royal College of Music||Gold|
|Royal Holloway, University of London||Silver|
|Royal Northern College of Music||Gold|
|The Royal Veterinary College||Gold|
|RTC Education Ltd||Provisional|
|SAE Education Limited||Provisional|
|The University of Salford||Bronze|
|Salford City College||Bronze|
|The Salvation Army||Provisional|
|The University of Sheffield||Silver|
|Sheffield Hallam University||Silver|
|Solihull College and University Centre||Gold|
|South & City College Birmingham||Silver|
|South Devon College||Gold|
|South Tyneside College||Silver|
|South West College||Provisional|
|University of Southampton||Bronze|
|Southampton Solent University||Bronze|
|University of St Andrews||Gold|
|University of St Mark & St John||Silver|
|St Mary's University, Twickenham||Silver|
|St. George's, University of London||Bronze|
|Stockton Riverside College||Silver|
|Stratford College London Limited||Provisional|
|University of Suffolk||Bronze|
|University of Sunderland||Silver|
|The University of Surrey||Gold|
|University of Sussex||Silver|
|Sussex Coast College Hastings||Provisional|
|Sussex Downs College||Silver|
|Tertiary Education Services Limited||Provisional|
|Tresham College of Further and Higher Education||Provisional|
|Trinity College (Bristol) Limited||Provisional|
|Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance||Bronze|
|Truro and Penwith College||Gold|
|Tyne Metropolitan College||Bronze|
|UK College of Business and Computing Ltd||Provisional|
|University of Wales Trinity Saint David||Bronze|
|The University of Warwick||Silver|
|West Herts College||Gold|
|West Kent and Ashford College||Silver|
|The University of West London||Silver|
|University of the West of England, Bristol||Silver|
|The University of Westminster||Bronze|
|Weston College of Further and Higher Education||Gold|
|Wigan and Leigh College||Silver|
|University of Winchester||Silver|
|University of Wolverhampton||Bronze|
|University of Worcester||Silver|
|Wrexham Glyndwr University||Silver|
|Writtle University College||Bronze|
|University of York||Silver|
|York St John University||Bronze|