Student-Led Teaching Awards

Student-led teaching awards (SLTAs) are a great means by which to engage all students in the education quality debate in a positive way. SLTAs allow students to have their say in what good teaching looks like and to reward members of staff that have gone the extra mile. These awards involve students nominating their tutors and lecturers in various categories such as 'outstanding teacher', 'innovative teacher' and 'teaching in an international context'.

The results have helped to ensure that good teaching practices and policies are shared across institutions and the awards data has provided valuable information to support education policy campaigns.

What are the Student-Led Teaching Awards (SLTAs)?

The HEA and NUS provide start-up funding, development support, and networking opportunities for the schemes which are student-owned, designed and operated, within an agreed institution-union partnership. With such few constraints on participation schemes have grown organically to reflect each institution’s profile. Students' unions design and develop their own awards, deciding on categories and criteria suitable for their institution. They then invite the student body to nominate staff they feel have made a real difference.

 SLTAs were envisioned as a new approach to raising the profile of teaching and identifying good practice, helping students to consider and positively influence their learning, and developing stronger partnerships between students and staff. The SLTAs began as an HEA and NUS Scotland pilot project in 2009/10 with eight participating schemes. The 11,000 nominating statements received across the pilot schemes in 2010-11 revealed a rich body of data, that could be used to disseminategood practice at an institutional level and across the sector, and to raise the profile of teaching in general. Findings from the data gathered through the initiative in Scotland have formed the basis for a report "Lessons from the Student-Led Awards" launched in early 2012. The report highlights student perceptions of learning and themes emerging from the initiative.

SLTA Project 2011-12

In 2011-2012, the Higher Education Academy and NUS built on the work of the Scottish pilot and collaborated to extend theinitiative to students' unions from all over the UK. In total, 21 SUs were selected from a competitive call to run their own SLTA projects, aiming to raise the profile of learning and teaching at their institution in a positive way thourgh rewarding best practice.

Please see the NUS website for further information.

SLTA Project 2012-2013

The HEA/NUS initiative supported 2 groups of projects. The first focused on institutions who had not run SLTAs before or who were starting to develop them and the call encouraged applications from small, specialist and College-Based Higher Education institutions.

The second group of students’ unions were funded to make their existing awards sustainable, embedded and effective in improving teaching and learning. These unions have found innovative ways to influence, inform and strengthen the work of the project in enhancing educational provision at their institutions. This group of students’ unions have unpacked what SLTAs mean for them and through doing so, have demonstrated the impact that this project can have.

Please see the NUS website for further information.

SLTA Project 2013-14

HEA and NUS are continuing their work together in the current year to ensure that the findings from the UK-wide project will continue to help inform the sector on what students value most in teaching. For 2013-14, the focus is on supporting student unions in using and linking their SLTAs to other areas of the union's education work in order to enhance the student experience.

How to get involved

For 2013-14, NUS and the Higher Education Academy are looking to fund up to 25 students’ unions to take part in the SLTA project. If you are a Higher Education or HE in FE students’ union in the UK, request your application pack by emailing from Monday 7th October or visit the Student-led Teaching Award website. The final submission deadline is Friday 8th November.


For more information

Unions interested in being part of the 2013-14 SLTA scheme, or who would like more information should contact Jen Swain who will be happy to help with your enquiries

Please also visit the SLTA website at