BCU clinches Gold for Student Experience in latest TEF ratings


Birmingham City University (BCU) has been awarded the highest possible rating of Gold for Student Experience in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). 

An independent panel of assessors singled out aspects of BCU’s provision as outstanding, including its teaching, assessment and feedback, course content and delivery, and learning environment and academic support.  

The panel had high praise for the way that the university “both inspires and stretches students to develop knowledge and skills”, as well as the “real-life opportunities” provided to gain valuable industrial experience through links and partnerships with local and national employers, which include the NHS, GlaxoSmithKline, Warwickshire County Cricket Club and Cure Leukaemia. 

Professor Philip Plowden, Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “Achieving a Gold rating for our Student Experience is testament to the commitment of our staff to give all students a transformational experience. 

“This success is built on a foundation of working alongside our students, listening to and acting on their feedback, so this rating is as much for them as it is for the rest of us. I’d like to thank every person who contributed to the work recognised in the submission. 

“Our task now is to build on this success by continuing to listen to what students tell us, making improvements to what we do wherever possible.” 

TEF assesses the quality of teaching in England’s universities every four years and uses three ratings - Bronze, Silver and Gold – to signify increasing degrees of excellence above the minimum quality requirements. 

BCU received an overall mark of Silver when combining its Gold rating for Student Experience with its Silver for Student Outcomes. 

BCU Students' Union (BCUSU) President Jay Dave said: We’re absolutely delighted by this result, which emphasises BCUSU’s collaboration with the University and the value of having an active students’ union to positively impact the university experience. 

It's important that all students, whatever their background, are given the right environment from their university and students' union to thrive in all aspects of their student life. 

Students helped shape the TEF rating, with their submission noting that BCU’s support helps graduates to become more employable and stand out from the crowd. 

The submission also said BCU was “always committed to fulfilling students’ aspirations not only during their time at the university but after their graduation” and “focused on developing confidence, knowledge, and competence in both professional and personal learning settings”. 

BCU was also applauded for its approach to research and innovation, which enables students “to develop collaborative, academic and professional skills through opportunities tailored to their needs”, as well as the university’s iconic STEAMhouse which promotes student-business engagement through mentoring, inter-disciplinary projects and internships. 

Importantly, the TEF rating recognised the holistic support that BCU offers its students, from welcome and orientation sessions at the start of a new academic year to all-year-round support for those with a disability or a mental health challenge. 

According to TEF, it is important that all students, whatever their background, can have confidence that they will receive a high-quality higher education and positive outcomes, so it encourages students to use its ratings when deciding what and where to study.

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