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Opinion: Fees should be kept separate from Teaching Excellence Framework, says Professor David Phoenix

Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University comments on the Government's plan for the Teaching Excellence Framework
02 December 2015

Vice-Chancellor David Phoenix has said that it’s “absolutely clear” that fees should be kept separate from the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), addressing a sitting of the House of Commons' Business, Innovation and Skills Committee yesterday.

Professor Phoenix warned against the Government's proposal that institutions’ performance in the TEF should determine their permitted fee increase, as set out in its Green Paper. 

He said that if the Government's aim was to create a genuine market, based on quality and price, there needed to be a debate about how this could be achieved, not “artificial interventions” from ministers.
“I don’t see any basis for coupling the fees, and I don’t see as yet any clear advantages that [have] been put to me,” he said. “I think, if anything, if we could simplify what we are trying to achieve with the TEF, it’s more likely to deliver some real benefits to the sector and the students.”

Speaking on behalf of the Russell Group of highly selective universities, Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, agreed saying, “We do have to have a serious debate around funding over the next five years, otherwise year-on-year funding will reduce and the consequence of that will be an erosion of the quality of learning and teaching, so I welcome the fact the Green Paper has put that on the agenda.”

Professor Phoenix has previously commented on the Chancellor’s Spending Review and the Government's Higher Education Green Paper.