Regulatory framework

Securing student success: Regulatory framework for higher education in England

Last updated: 24 November 2022

Condition B6: Teaching Excellence Framework participation

Condition B6: The provider must participate in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)


Applies to: all registered providers with at least 500 undergraduate students on higher education courses and at least two TEF indicators based on a denominator of at least 500 students.

Initial or general ongoing condition: ongoing condition.

Legal basis: Section 5 of HERA.



  The ‘Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)’ means the scheme that the OfS has adopted under section 25 of HERA to give ratings to the quality of, and the standards applied to, higher education.


‘Participate’ means that a provider must make a submission in the next TEF exercise by the submission deadline published by the OfS.


Participation in the TEF is mandatory for all registered providers that fulfil the ‘eligibility requirements’ set out at paragraph 6 below and have:


At least 500 undergraduate students on higher education courses (the ‘headcount threshold’); and


At least two TEF indicators based on a denominator of at least 500 students (the ‘indicator threshold’).


A provider meets the headcount threshold if it has 500 undergraduate students or more on higher education courses. Student numbers for this headcount threshold will be calculated using data collected by the DDB or in the Individualised Learner Record. The calculation will be based on intensity of study where a full-time student will typically count as one, and a part-time student will be treated as a proportion of a full-time student. The calculation will only take into account students who are registered with the provider, rather than students registered with another provider but taught by the provider under a subcontractual arrangement. The OfS has published a technical specification of the way it will perform this calculation.20


A provider meets the indicator threshold if it has at least two TEF indicators based on a denominator of at least 500 students. For the purposes of this calculation, the OfS will refer to the denominators of TEF indicators which combine the four most recent years of study, rather than those which report on individual years. Both indicators must be in the same mode of study, and either in full time or part time modes. Indicators in the apprenticeships mode of study will not be considered for this purpose.


The eligibility requirements are that (i) a provider must meet the quality and standards requirements of its own nation and; (ii) must deliver courses that are within the scope of assessment. These requirements will be set out in full in the published TEF guidance. To retain a TEF rating once it is awarded, a provider must continue to meet the eligibility requirements.


If a provider is not eligible to take part in the TEF, or is not eligible to retain a TEF rating once awarded, it is not in breach of this condition of registration. Where the OfS has made a decision that a provider is ineligible to participate in the TEF or retain a TEF rating, this period of ineligibility will, as a minimum, normally last until the next TEF submission window opens. At that point, the OfS would normally expect to consider whether there has been a material change in circumstances which means that a provider should now be required to participate in the TEF.


A registered provider for which participation in the TEF is not mandatory (because it does not meet the student headcount threshold or the indicator threshold) but otherwise meets the eligibility requirements may participate in the TEF if it chooses to do so.


A provider from the devolved administrations that meets the eligibility requirements may choose to participate in the TEF if its government has given the appropriate consent for it to do so. Such a provider is not able to register with the OfS and is therefore not subject to this condition of registration.

20 The technical specification is set out in the student numbers technical document which can be found on the web page The first specification to include this calculation relates to 2020-21 student data collections.

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