Sunderland College has been recognised for the quality teaching experience it gives to its higher education students.
The college has been awarded a silver rating in the newly-launched Teaching and Excellence Framework (TEF), which has been introduced by the Government to build evidence about the performance of the UK’s higher education sector.
Decided by an independent panel of experts, the TEF measures excellence in three areas: teaching quality, the learning environment and the educational and professional outcomes achieved by students.
Universities, colleges and alternative providers of higher education voluntarily took part in the TEF. Each provider was rated gold, silver, or bronze, or received a provisional award where there was not enough data for a full assessment.
Sally Dixon, director of higher education, participation and skills at Sunderland College, said: “We are delighted to receive a silver rating in the TEF which ranks us alongside prestigious universities including Durham, York, Bristol and University College of London.
“This TEF result is a clear indicator of the high levels of teaching and learning within Sunderland College and reflects the positive experience our students have when they come here to study higher education.”
The results highlight a number of key areas where Sunderland College surpasses rigorous TEF benchmarks, including ‘excellent personalised support to secure high levels of engagement’, ‘an embedded culture which facilitates and recognises excellence in teaching’, ‘strategic investment’ in physical and digital resources, and ‘well developed student engagement activities which inform the curriculum and its development’.
The panel also recognised the ‘outstanding progression’ of full-time students into highly skilled employment or further study that is ‘notably above benchmark’.
Sally added: “The results really do speak for themselves. Our personalised approach to teaching, where tutors are able to offer one-to-one guidance and feedback, as well as our small class sizes, enable our students to reach their full potential. We are very proud that 95 per cent of our students progress into further study or employment within six months of leaving the college, and a high proportion of those go into high-quality graduate roles.
“The college is very much geared towards engaging with widening participation students and we pride ourselves on the support, teaching and facilities we have on offer which allows people of all backgrounds to study here. We’re committed to making our students work ready and giving them the skills they need to progress in their chosen career, so they have a comprehensive higher education experience here which gives them a head start when they leave the college.”
Professor Chris Husbands, chair of the TEF assessment panel and vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: “The Teaching Excellence Framework results offer – for the first time – an overview of teaching excellence across the entire UK higher education sector. It has been a privilege to chair this ambitious and ground-breaking assessment.”
Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said: “Students invest significant amounts of time and money in their higher education. They rightly expect a high-quality learning experience and outcomes that reflect their potential. The UK already has a high bar for quality and standards, which all universities and colleges must meet. But the TEF judges excellence above and beyond this, clearly showing the highest levels across the sector.
“The TEF measures the things that students themselves say they care about: high-quality, engaged teaching and a supportive, stimulating learning environment which equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their potential, and then to progress to a good job or further study.”
Sunderland College has more than 600 higher education students and offers 35 foundation and higher national courses in a range of subjects including engineering, construction, travel and tourism, sport, performing arts, art and design, photography, counselling, health and social care, education, teacher education, early years and IT.
The college is expanding its higher education provision with the launch of an HND in policing in September which will be delivered at Bede Campus.