Gold for Leeds in the Teaching Excellence Framework

The University of Leeds has achieved a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the highest award possible.

The independent TEF panel judged that the University delivers “consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students, of the highest quality found in the UK.” 

The assessment cited that “students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes” and that independent learning is supported by “outstanding physical and digital resources.”

Outstanding student education and experience

In its pilot year, the TEF has been developed by the Department for Education to assess teaching in higher education at undergraduate level. 

It uses evidence from a set of measures that focus on student satisfaction, retention rates and graduate employment, as well as a written submission from the University to decide on the level of award.

Leeds achieves excellent student education and an outstanding all-round experience.


Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “Leeds achieves excellent student education and an outstanding all-round experience, which is reflected across a raft of measures, including a 90% satisfaction rate in the National Student Survey and a top five position in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2017. 

“The Times and The Sunday Times also singled us out for prioritising students’ needs first to last when they named us this year’s University of the Year in the Good University Guide.

“We welcome the TEF’s focus on teaching excellence, graduate employability and widening access and are pleased to have received a Gold rating, although we will always strive to improve further.”

We can all be proud of this result, which is testament to the hard work, commitment and talents of not only our staff, but also students across the University.


“We can all be proud of this result," said Professor Tom Ward, Deputy-Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, "which is testament to the hard work, commitment and talents of not only our staff, but also students across the University.

"Indeed, the panel cited our 'embedded ethos of the Leeds partnership with students' as one of our strengths. I’d like to thank Leeds University Union which contributed to the submission and everyone who has played a part in earning us this recognition.

“Importantly, our participation in the TEF enables us to contribute to future reviews of the process so that we can be sure it is as useful as possible for students and staff.”

Student support and graduate prospects

In its assessment of the University, the TEF panel highlighted the high levels of satisfaction, retention and progression to employment or further study. 

It also noted the “creative approach to supporting students in their independent learning” and that students are “active contributors to their education”, through initiatives such as Leeds for Life. 

The feedback cited that “students take charge of their experiences with academic and co-curricular opportunities that can enhance their learning while preparing them for the world beyond the University.”

Professor Tom Ward added: “Our initiatives in student education are based on robust research, with the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence leading the way in providing evidence for what is needed to help students learn effectively.” 

The TEF panel also praised the Access to Leeds scheme, one of the largest initiatives in the sector, aimed at widening participation and encouraging applicants to apply to University regardless of their background. 

Research-based learning 

The award also reflects the University’s strengths in its research-based learning, where Gold-rated universities ensure students are “consistently and frequently engaged with developments from the forefront of research, scholarship or practice”. 

Leeds is ranked in the top 100 universities for academic reputation in the QS World University Rankings 2018, and also secured a top 10 position in the UK for its research power and impact in the most recent Research Excellence Framework

This strength was also recognised by the University of the Year judges when they described the final year research-based project as the “centrepiece of students’ academic activities”.


The announcement follows the launch of a new online campaign, #ToBeLeeds, which celebrates the exceptional student experience and what it means to staff, students and alumni to be part of the Leeds experience. 

The campaign highlights the University’s commitment to research-based learningfinancial support and its £520m investment in campus facilities. It also features its approach to personal and academic student support, as well as how the University helps students prepare for life after graduation. 

To find out more about the campaign, visit and share your stories about what it means #ToBeLeeds on Facebook and Twitter.

Further information

For more information about the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), visit The Statement of Findings for Leeds can be found here.

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