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Academic year changes – UCU calls for workloads check

The University is considering a move back from semesters to terms. Currently there is a seven week gap between the end of teaching in semester 1 to the start of teaching in semester 2. The move would cut this gap to four weeks. UCU is open to ideas for change, but insists that this is not done by increasing workloads. We have asked for further information on the implications of the proposed changes for workloads.

For academic staff who currently do a lot of marking in this period, this raises questions about workload. Would we be expected to do the same amount of marking in 4 weeks rather than 7 ? The consultation document does not reveal much. It suggests that coursework from term 1 might be marked within a longer winter vacation period without intruding on Christmas and New Year holidays. Some summative assessment from Term 1 might become formative assessment with ‘diagnostic, supportive feedback’. However, this does not necessarily take any less time than feedback on summative assessment.

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