The cumulative tale ‘the house that Jack built’ is used as an analogy for flawed theories. This paper considers how the marketisation of higher education in neoliberal countries like England is affecting teaching and learning in Higher Education Institutions. Neoliberal policy approaches resulting in the marketisation of higher education may also be considered as a ‘house that Jack built’. The policies are cumulative and they can be interpreted as being flawed due to their contradictory nature. The paper presents research findings revealing the impact of neoliberal agendas on teaching and learning in higher education in the UK. The content of the paper is relevant to other neoliberal contexts including the USA and Australia. The commodification of higher education has implications for the teaching relationship between academics and students as ‘student satisfaction’, ‘value for money’ and ‘critical pedagogy’ form part of the interplaying discourse in higher education.