Skip to main content

Office for Students (OfS): Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2023 Outcomes

Under changes to the TEF following Dame Shirley Pearce’s review, institutions are now given a rating of either Gold, Silver, Bronze or “requires Improvement” by the independent TEF panel, made up of students and academics. Each higher education provider has also been awarded a rating for each “aspect” of the TEF: the student experience and student outcomes, giving students more information about where the panel found excellent performance. A total of 228 universities, colleges and other higher education providers took part in the 2023 TEF exercise. This included 186 mandatory participants, that have 500 or more undergraduate students, and 42 voluntary participants. Providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were able to take part in TEF 2023 on a voluntary basis, but decided not to participate.

View the TEF 2023 results here

Read the blog by Graeme Rosenberg, OfS head of student outcomes

Read the blog by Dr Charles Knight, Assistant Director for Knowledge and Innovation at Advance HE


  • 46 universities and colleges have been awarded overall Gold ratings – 20 per cent of entries. In 2019 the number was 76 – 35 per cent of participating providers
  • 73 universities and colleges were awarded Gold for at least one aspect of the TEF (32 per cent)
  • In the group awarded an overall Gold rating, 10 institutions are low tariff, seven are medium tariff, 10 are higher tariff, nine are specialist providers in creative arts subjects, three are specialist providers in other subjects and seven are providers that teach mainly Level 4 or 5 qualifications (mostly further education colleges)
  • 100 universities and colleges have been awarded overall Silver ratings, compared to 132 in 2019
  • Of those awarded a Silver, 13 institutions received a Gold rating for student outcomes and 14 received a Gold rating for student experience
  • 29 institutions have been awarded overall Bronze ratings. The number in 2019 was 60
  • No university or college so far has received an overall “requires improvement” rating
  • Four institutions received a “requires improvement” rating on the student outcomes aspect of the TEF. Two received this rating for student experience
  • 53 universities and colleges are still being considered by the TEF panel and their ratings will be awarded in due course. These providers have contested their provisional outcomes of Silver, Bronze, or “requires improvement”
  • Ratings will remain in place for the next four years

Implications for governance

The 2023 TEF results show that a large majority of the 228 higher education providers that took part are performing “well above the OfS’s regulatory baseline for high quality”. 

Gold and Silver awards are so far less ubiquitous that in the 2019 version. The new “requires improvement” rating has been given to six institutions in one of the aspects of the TEF and only features in the college/alternative provider group. However, 53 institutions are still awaiting their awards, so numbers will change.

The OfS says that direct comparisons with the previous TEF are not very meaningful because of the significant changes to the methodology and to the group of providers taking part.

The TEF awards will be of significant interest to governors. Ratings, which will remain in place for the next four years, have reputational implications and feed into various performance tables. A number of universities were quick off the mark to publicise their Gold ratings, issuing press releases on results day, some which quoted directly from the TEF panel statements.

The ratings will soon be accessible to prospective students on the UCAS and DiscoverUni websites. To help universities with the promotion of their ratings, the OfS has published communication and branding guidance.

Governors will want to gauge how their institution has faired compared to 2019 and to other institutions.  The richer information provided by the aspect ratings of the 2023 TEF highlights where institutions need to improve their performance and where governors might want to seek more assurances. Professor Sir Chris Husbands, chair of the TEF panel and vice-chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University, said the results “will serve as an important driver for future improvement”.

In a blog on TEF 2023, Graeme Rosenberg, OfS head of student outcomes, makes the point that students from all backgrounds are accessing outstanding teaching, but not in the same proportions. For example, looking at the proportion of 2021-22 undergraduate entrants at providers rated Gold so far, they include 30 per cent of students from the least deprived areas, compared to 23 per cent of students from the most deprived areas.

The TEF is part of the OfS’s overall approach to regulating quality and standards. To be eligible to participate in the TEF, and to retain a rating, a provider “must satisfy the minimum quality and standards requirements” laid out in the B3 Conditions. Given this, governors may be interested to note that the University of Bolton, where an OfS quality assurance investigation into business and management courses found areas for concern, was awarded a Silver rating overall, with a Gold in the student experience aspect and a Bronze in the student outcomes aspect.

Nearly a quarter of institutions taking part have results still pending because they have made representations about their provisional ratings.

The OfS has indicated that when all the assessments have concluded, it will evaluate the TEF before the next exercise in four years time.

In November, further information to support improvement work will be published, including the provider and student submissions and summaries of the TEF panel’s statements setting out the reasons for the ratings awarded to each institution. The regulator also plans to work with providers to produce case studies of their experiences of TEF 2023.

Keep up to date – sign up to Advance HE communications

Our monthly newsletter contains the latest news from Advance HE, updates from around the sector, links to articles sharing knowledge and best practice and information on our services and upcoming events. Don't miss out, sign up to our newsletter now.

Sign up to our communications
Resource type:
Advance HE