University lecturers aren’t good enough at teaching, sixth form heads say

Higher education institutions should ‘seek help’ from schools, survey finds

Nearly nine out of 10 (89 per cent) heads of sixth forms believe that universities should “seek help” from schools on teaching methods, the results of a new survey suggest.

More than two-thirds (70 per cent) said that teaching needed to be taken more seriously in the higher education sector.

The research was completed by Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, as part of a paper for the Social Market Foundation. The news comes as the government has announced new legislation to raise teaching standards in universities.

The Higher Education and Research Bill will lead to a Teaching Excellence Framework to improve the quality of teaching in universities.

Universities minister Jo Johnson has said that he wants to link the standard of teaching to university funding.

‘No interest’ in school curriculum

The move is likely to be supported by teachers, since the poll of 100 heads of sixth forms finds that two-thirds (66 per cent) believe universities have no interest in school curricula or teaching and learning methods.

Four out of 10 (42 per cent) feel that teaching at the prestigious Russell Group of universities is no better than anywhere else.

Humanities and the arts are seen to be the worst courses for teaching quality, with just 3 per cent of respondents saying this area was the best.

Sir Anthony said: “It is abundantly clear in too many universities today that the leadership and the academics care far more about their research than about the quality of the learning experience of their students.

“While much teaching is excellent, much could be improved. The academics I know mostly share a passion to teach their students as well as they can. Many are frustrated by the lack of priority given to teaching.”

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