Let’s Talk about TEF and Stern


This event has now been cancelled

Organisations such as the Campaign for the Public University, Council for the Defence of British Universities, National Union of Students and the University and College Union, amongst many others, are deeply opposed to current developments in HE in the UK which are intended to:

  • deregulate HE and intensify competitivity among providers and disciplines
  • privatise colleges and introduce ‘for profit’ universities
  • reduce overseas student numbers
  • censor the professoriate and inhibit academic freedom and knowledge exchange across society at large.

In a forum hosted by the HE SIG at the BERA annual conference, 2016, participants told us that the Teaching Excellence Framework, which is the primary strategy of central government, offers no consensus on ‘excellent teaching’ in H.E, and is thus a ‘stalking horse’ for Ofsted. In both the TEF and revised REF (‘Stern Report’), arbitrary measures of quality will be imposed, with departments that score badly being merged or sold off. Participants expressed concerns about the ‘fracturing’ of academic life, whereby less than 50% of academics are now on traditional contracts, and where ‘teaching only’ contracts are rapidly being normalised. This, it was argued, is a Fordist approach to employment that has already failed in the US and Australia.

On this view, all academics are affected by these developments, as are our students. This BERA event will provide opportunities to consider further the issues at stake and propose ways in which academics, students and policy makers may contribute towards protecting and promoting higher education and its importance within our social fabric.

12.30 Registration and lunch
13.15 Introduction
Amanda French & Colin McCaig
13.30 TEF and what it means to us
Amanda French and  Matt O’Leary
14.15 Stern Review: we are all REF-able now?  
Colin McCaig and Victoria Perselli
15.00 Workshops
15.30 TEF, REF and the market context
Plenary panel (all speakers)
15.55 Completion of evaluation forms
16.00 Close of meeting


BERA offer a limited amount of bursaries for BERA Student Members only.

  • Bursaries are available for BERA Student Members to the value of £50 towards travel, and complimentary registration for the event.

To apply for one of these bursaries, please email events@bera.ac.uk with a 200 word statement on why you want to attend this event. Bursaries are offered on a first come, first served basis. Once approved you will be sent details of how to register online. Travel expenses will be reimbursed after the event in accordance with our travel policies. You must not have previously received bursary funding from BERA.


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