On October 6th our UCU reps met with members of Senior Management, Paul Baxter, and the Head of HR to voice concerns over the timescales for marking at the end of trimesters. UCU reps conveyed concerns that members are marking over Christmas with very tight deadlines to complete work, and this causes considerable stress and makes it very difficult to take sufficient leave . Given that the latest submission date for student work is on December 18th and the marksheet deadline will be in the week commencing January 18th, there will be cases where staff have only 10 working days to complete marking and internal moderation. Inevitably many staff are working over Christmas to ensure they can meet deadlines.
Senior Management agreed that staff should be able to take a complete break from all work over Christmas, while the university is closed (21st December to 1st January). UCU reps asked whether there was any possibility of shifting the marksheet deadline to allow for more marking time but Paul Baxter said it is extremely difficult to shift deadlines because of the knock-on effects this would have, and the time needed by administrative staff for creation of MAP paperwork. He will nevertheless look into this, in particular to see whether it is possible to hold MAPs for different disciplines over a shorter overall period, thereby enabling the marksheet deadline to shift a little later. Senior Management also suggested that they could contact all Heads of School to request they review marking allocations and redistribute work across staff and/or across trimesters if necessary, to ensure that no individuals are burdened with an unreasonably heavy marking load over a short period of time. When we receive any updates on these actions we will pass these on.