This article is more than 7 years old

EXCLUSIVE – Wonkhe introduces the Outstanding Excellence Framework (OEF)

If we really need to measure excellence in the higher education sector, then we really should start with TEF Gold universities' varied and bizarre ways of celebrating their achievements. We present the Wonkhe Outstanding Excellence Framework.
This article is more than 7 years old

Nona worked as a Policy Assistant at Wonkhe.

Is there any better marketing opportunity than being awarded TEF Gold?

Marketing teams across the country appear to have been playing Spandau Ballet on repeat, whilst donning golden balloons, dodgy photoshops, and covering their campuses in golden tin foil. From the ‘Golden Six’ to some more political messaging, we’ve found some of the best (and most cringeworthy) attempts to seize the day and reign victorious.

Wonkhe believes that these efforts should not go unnoticed, and after-all, noone likes a sore winner. So without further ado, we introduce the Wonkhe Outstanding Excellence Framework for blowing your golden trumpet. No questions about the metrics please.


Loughborough University has used TEF as an opportunity to just create its own mission group! With the demise of the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’, a new elite is apparently in town – the ‘Golden Six’, according to Loughborough’s press release. It has also released a celebratory video, which thankfully isn’t reminiscent of its students’ union video which went viral in 2013.

Gold carpet, gold stars, and gold balloons. We’re not sure if it’s slight overkill, but the University of Derby has gone all out with a celebration party, complete with golden carpet.

Keele University Communications team has been busy buying balloons to celebrate.

And it’s wrapping its campus in ribbons


The University of Portsmouth makes it into its local press

Nottingham Trent has set itself up with a glamorous billboard

Arts University Bournemouth has wrapped a giant cube in gold paper. Because of course they have.

Low on cheap gimmicks, high on substance. Coventry University has a message for the sector

De Montfort University’s degree show has been roped into celebrating TEF. However, we feel that VC Dominic Shellard has performed less well against the benchmark here, he has form after all.

Meets expectations

Royal Veterinary College has gone for GIFs

And there are some others who have gone for a more muted approach

University of Lincoln

The University of Lancaster has some peculiar gold pathways

Aston appears to have planned its rebrand for a while

Imperial College London, the only non-specialist university in London to receive a Gold, opts for a floral image

Bangor University throws shade on fellow Welsh universities

Edge Hill University have a less elaborate balloon arrangement 

And Newcastle University has picked out some of the novel phrases used to describe the university in the TEF panel submission, and created this rather corporate video.

Did not meet quality threshold

Have you garnished yourself in Gold like the University of Essex Campus Cat? We sincerely hope not. With a campus photoshoot, distribution of chocolate gold coins, and this snapchat filter for people to use, it’s been a busy day for the marketing team at Essex.

And some heartwarming camaraderie

With a highly competitive sector rarely making public overtures to one another, it’s pleasing to see that today has been a day of solidarity for some.

OEF Provisional award

#humblebrag Sheffield?

Oscar Wilde did suggest that “the only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about”.

Leave a Reply