TEF and REF: what are the effects?

I have been invited to speak as part of roundtable discussion about the effects of the Teaching Excellence Framework and the Research Excellence Framework on teachers, researchers, students and higher education. This discussion is part of a research conference hosted by the Cass School of Education and Communities, at the University of East London on the 26th of May.

You can see a full programme for this event below:

Cass School of Education and Communities

Research Conference, 26th May 2016 (1.15- 5pm)


1.15pm ED2.01

Welcome Address: Helen Masterton (Dean) & John Preston (Research Leader)

Individual panel sessions 1.30-3pm

Panel I: Teaching, learning & careers


Carrie Weston

Getting there by degrees: the HE motivations and aspirations of young east Londoners

Alison Baker

White working class trainee teachers’ early experiences of reading as children. To what extent has it informed their decision to train to teach?

Anthony Hudson

Just who is educating Rita? Exploring the learning careers and academic identity of Access HE tutors using the life-grid and qual interviews

Panel II: Participatory radio & at-risk youth


Andrew Ravenscroft:

Participatory Radio as an educational and psychosocial intervention with ‘at-risk youth’

Tom Gerken

Radio Active101 and Addiction: A pilot study investigating participatory radio as a tool to improve psychosocial dimensions of at-risk youth

Amanda Cooper

The Development of a Participatory Radio Drama Intervention to enhance Metacognitive themes in dialogue with At-Risk Youth

Panel III: Innovative methodologies


John Clark

“I don’t ‘believe’ it!”: Using elementary statistical methods, rather than ‘belief’, in understanding the results of quantitative research.

Anna Chapman

What role does distributed leadership play in supporting extended learning activities? A qualitative, interpretative investigation through the lens of activity theory.

Andrew Read

Making time to focus: how changing my relationship with email impacts on my capacity to concentrate on “deep work”

Panel IV: Life stories, biography & identity


Ximena Bonilla Medina

Education, globalisation and identities: teachers’ educational practices and their role in the configuration of racial identities in Colombia.

Chris Dalladay

Teacher biography and its impact on teaching practice. A study into music teacher biography; how its findings might apply to other subjects

David Bara

A teenagers story of living with cancer: The personal, social, emotional and educational challenges they faced



ED2.01  3-3.30pm


Roundtable Discussion

ED2.01 3.30-5pm

TEF and REF:

What are the Effects on Teachers, Researchers, Students and Higher Education?

The Teaching Excellence Framework, which follows in the footsteps of the Research Excellence Framework, may be the largest shift in the national framework for Higher Education in England for a generation. The Green Paper is about transforming a largely publicly funded system to one focused on students and teaching, and promoting competition. The Green Paper argues that the TEF will drive up teaching standards, increase productivity and transparency and raise standards, as well as boosting social mobility, creating a fairer field for suppliers, and reducing complexity in funding. Critics argue that all metrics, and these in particular, are open to manipulation, and furthermore that the TEF does not actually measure what it is supposed to. It is also argued that it is expensive, bureaucratised and top-down, and alienates teachers and learners from one another. It will lead to a concentration of funding at rich universities, and may be used as a premise to remove fee caps entirely. What is really important – teaching quality – may be displaced with metrics. This panel will explore arguments for and against the TEF, in the context of experience with the REF, and the effects of these metrics on those working in Higher Education, as well as the quality of the system itself.


Professor Miriam David (UCL Institute of Education)

Dr Heather Mendick (Freelance social researcher & Alternative Academia Network convenor)

Professor Mike Neary (University of Lincoln & The Social Science Centre co-operative)

Professor Sir Peter Scott (UCL Institute of Education)

Roundtable panel speakers’ bio notes:

Miriam E David is a professor emerita of sociology of education at the University College London Institute of Education. She has a world-class reputation for her scholarship on feminism, gender and education. Her classic study – The State, The Family and Education – originally published in 1980, was republished by Routledge/Taylor & Francis in 2015.  Her most recent book – Feminism, Gender & Universities: Politics, Passion and Pedagogies – was published by Ashgate in 2014, based upon a study of more than 100 international women academics. A Feminist Manifesto for Education will be published by Polity Press in the summer of 2016, based upon her EU-funded study about challenging sexual violence for children and young people. She is co-editor, with Dr Marilyn Amey, with associate editors Drs Terri Kim, Rebecca Ropers-Huilman and Pamela Eddy, of the Sage International Encyclopaedia of Higher Education scheduled for publication in 2017/8.

Heather Mendick works as a freelance academic, having previously been employed in Education at Brunel, Goldsmiths, London Metropolitan and Lancaster Universities, and as a mathematics teacher in secondary schools and post-16 colleges. She has published widely on mathematics education, science education, gender, social class, ethnicity, youth aspirations, celebrity and popular culture. Those publications include two books: Masculinities in Mathematics and Urban Youth and Schooling (with Louise Archer and Sumi Hollingworth). Her most recent major research project was an ESRC-funded study of the role of celebrity in young people’s classed and gendered aspirations (www.celebyouth.org) and she continues to blog irregularly for that website. She also coordinates meetings of the ‘Alternative Academia Network’ and is co-organiser for Momentum Hackney. She tweets from @helensclegel about education, politics, academia, darts, popular culture, sociology, and veganism. Most of her publications are available at: https://independent.academia.edu/HeatherMendick.

Mike Neary is Professor of Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Lincoln. Before coming to Lincoln in 2007 he was a Reader in Sociology at the University of Warwick, 1994 – 2007. His main areas of research are academic labour and student life with a particular focus on the relationship between teaching and research. Mike was the Dean of Teaching and Learning at Lincoln from 2007 – 2014, during which time he was the director of the Centre for Education Research and Development (CERD) and Director of the Graduate School. Mike was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy in 2007. In 2014 he was made an honorary life member of Lincoln Students’ Union for his work with students. Mike is currently completing a book ‘Student as Producer, How Do Revolutionary Teachers Teach?’ He is a founder member in 2011 of the Social Science Centre, Lincoln, a worker-student cooperative providing no-fee higher education.

Sir Peter Scott is Professor of Higher Education Studies at the UCL Institute of Education. Previously he was Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University. Before going to Kingston he was Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Education at the University of Leeds and between 1976 and 1992 Editor of ‘The Times Higher Education Supplement’. He is a trustee of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA), and Treasurer of the Academia Europaea. From 2011 until 2015 he was Chair of the Council of the University of Gloucestershire. His major research interests are the social, cultural and intellectual impacts of mass higher education; governance, leadership and management; and the internationalisation of higher education (and the development of European higher education). He is a member of the management committee of the newly established UCL IOE’s Centre for Global Higher Education co-founded by the ESRC and HEFCE.


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