Posted Thursday 28 September 2023
Kingston University's commitment to high quality teaching, providing an outstanding student experience and supporting its students to achieve successful degree outcomes has been recognised with a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
The University has not only received an overall rating of Gold – a significant rise from its previous Bronze status – but has also secured a Gold award in the framework's two new student experience and student outcomes categories.
The announcement sees Kingston join an elite line up of 26 universities and colleges across the United Kingdom who have been awarded TEF Gold in all three categories, alongside Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter and Warwick. It is one of 46 higher and further education providers across the country to receive the overall TEF Gold rating and the only provider in the country to rise from TEF Bronze to TEF Gold.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Spier said recording such a major improvement in its performance, rising directly from TEF Bronze to Gold, made the University's outcome all the more impressive. "Coming a year after the launch of our visionary Town House Strategy, the accolade signifies our enduring commitment to ensuring students receive the very best education and campus experience during the course of their degree studies, emerging ready to embark on successful careers as graduates sought after for their skills, knowledge and innovation," he said.
The TEF Gold award comes in the wake of a detailed submission outlining the work the University has been undertaking to enhance all aspects of learning and teaching. Academic experience and assessment, resources, support and student engagement, positive outcomes and educational gains were all scrutinised by a panel of sector experts ahead of the result being finalised.
Provost Professor Helen Laville paid tribute to the many colleagues from across the University who had contributed to its TEF Gold success. "The strength of our submission reflected the journey we have been on as an institution, growing in confidence and ambition since the previous ratings in 2017," she said.
Features of the University's submission included its commitment to student success, exemplified by the work of the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Centre (LTEC), which supports students through such measures as developing a truly inclusive curriculum and reducing the degree awarding gap. The University also showcased the support it offers care leavers, young adult carers and students from a diverse range of backgrounds through its KU Cares and ELEVATE programmes and Graduate Success Centre. Kingston's work with first generation students, whose families have no previous experience of higher education, was also a key focus.
"Our students are our biggest asset and we don't impose any ceilings on what they can achieve," Professor Laville said. "We're determined to provide them with a campus and learning experience that genuinely encourages them to thrive."
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education Professor John Craig, who was responsible for overseeing the compilation of the TEF submission, said Kingston's Gold rating showed it was an exemplar in delivering high quality teaching for its students. "Securing TEF Gold demonstrates how we have met the needs of our students in terms of outcomes and support over a sustained period," he said.
"This is testament to both our academic and Professional Services staff, whose commitment to ensuring our students are able to make the most of all the opportunities that degree level learning has to offer is second to none. Our rating will give applicants choosing where to complete their degrees the confidence that, at Kingston University, they will receive an outstanding education and emerge as graduates ready to make an important contribution in both the workforce and wider society."
Overseen by the Office for Students (OfS), the Teaching Excellence Framework encourages universities to embrace continuous improvement and deliver to the highest standards in the areas students most care about – teaching, learning and achieving positive results through a range of opportunities during their studies. The ratings reflect the extent to which universities and colleges consistently deliver to the best of their ability for their undergraduate students across all subject areas, also shining a light on how universities support their students irrespective of their backgrounds or start in life.
The TEF outcomes will last for four years. OfS Director of Quality Jean Arnold said the TEF was an important part of the way it regulated quality and standards. "TEF provides a key mechanism to help incentivise excellence, putting a spotlight on courses, informing student choice and influencing the reputation of universities and colleges," she added.
The University's TEF Gold success coincides with the roll out of its sector-leading Future Skills programme across all first-year undergraduate degrees this autumn. The innovative model of education, which forms a central component of the University's Town House Strategy, is being introduced to equip students with the future-proofed skills needed for career success. The development comes as part of the University's drive to ensure every student acquires the graduate attributes most valued by employers, including problem solving, critical thinking, communication and creativity by the time they complete their degrees.