Industrial Action – Advice for Schools – March 2023

This should be read in conjunction with the advice on FAQs provided for students – see: Further information and updates will also be provided on the University Industrial Action web page, at:

Following a ballot of members, the University & College Union (UCU) has informed the University that it intends to take industrial action on the following dates:

Wednesday 1 February.
Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February.
Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 February.
Wednesday 15, Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March.
Monday 20, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March.

On Friday 17 February the UCU announced that the national industrial action affecting universities across the UK has been paused for two weeks. This means that strike days previously planned for 21 to 23 February and 27 February to 2 March did not go ahead.

The following advice relates to the proposed industrial action.

Basic principles underlying the advice

  • Ensure all students are treated fairly.
  • Ensure that no student is disadvantaged by any amended arrangements.
  • Ensure that students are not assessed on any subject area for which they have not been adequately prepared.

Classes and other L&T events

Staff are not obliged to confirm in advance an intention to strike, but it is permissible to ask in advance if they plan to take action. Where it is known that a teaching event will not take place, if possible, advance notice of this should be given to students. Staff who are taking industrial action should be encouraged to inform students of their intentions even if they do not wish to notify their Head of School in advance. Heads of School who participate in industrial action are encouraged to discuss appropriate arrangements with College management. Students should be reminded to monitor communications from Schools closely. While a range of media are used to communicate with students, please note that the GU student email address is the official channel of communication for students.

Particular circumstances to bear in mind, with regard to teaching arrangements, include:

  • Part-time PGT student groups where there are concentrated periods of teaching that coincide with strike days.[1]
  • Sessions due to be provided by guest lecturers or extracurricular events involving external speakers – it would be helpful to provide advance notice to such colleagues where possible that a session is not going ahead. (Where relevant, an external speaker could also be asked whether they are intending to take industrial action.)
  • Online courses that include live teaching or key preparatory work on strike days, where students can be advised to make use of other course materials where those are available.
  • Impact on TNE courses: please liaise with the relevant TNE Dean for advice.
  • Crises – Chief Advisers are being asked to ensure that alternative sources of support are made known to students. Further information on supporting students in crisis is available at:

As they progress in their studies, students are expected to take increasing responsibility for their learning, and where possible, should be directed to alternative learning they can undertake - e.g. reading, Moodle materials where available, etc.


[1] In the event that there is an approach by an employer, it should be confirmed that some staff are taking industrial action, and that students who are affected by cancellation of classes are being encouraged to undertake self-directed study. If an employer asks, they should also be advised that the University does not believe that any student will be prevented from meeting the ILOs on time and that consequently there are no plans to refund tuition fees.

Rescheduling of classes

While other staff may make arrangements in practice, overall responsibility for arranging the rescheduling of classes rests with the HoS. Consideration should be given to rescheduling classes cancelled due to the industrial action if there is an opportunity to do so before the scheduled end of course assessment. Reasonable efforts should be taken to ensure that any rescheduled classes do not clash with any other scheduled teaching that students may have. Where possible, it may also be useful to make available to students recording of re-scheduled lectures.

Priority should be given to rescheduling:

  • Classes in which in-class summative assessments should have been carried out, such as student presentations, class tests, quizzes etc.
  • Supervision sessions for UG/PGT dissertations, or classes where student presentation sessions for dissertations were planned.
  • Classes which involve intensive/block teaching sessions, such as part-time PGT courses.

It is acknowledged, however, that rescheduling classes may be difficult and not possible in all cases. In circumstances where cancelled classes can be rescheduled, Schools may adopt a range of different approaches to how course material is covered - including (but not necessarily limited to):

  • Making available recordings of lectures and other classes.
  • Permitting students to join alternative sessions of e.g. tutorials (where these are being offered to multiple groups and only some group meetings are cancelled).
  • Sharing of directed study materials and/or reading lists on Moodle.

Schools should make clear to students by which alternative means course materials will be covered, and should also make clear to students any course material that will not be assessed (see also 'Examination Preparation'). Schools should also ensure that any alternative course materials made available are fully accessible to all students, in accordance with the University's Accessible and Inclusive Learning Policy.

Examination preparation

In preparing for the forthcoming Spring 2023 examination diet, staff should adhere to the deadlines for exam paper submission issued by Registry

Students should be advised to prepare for examinations in the normal way.

Schools should try to ensure adequate learning opportunities have been provided for all course content (whether by means of taught classes or alternative learning opportunities, such as directed study, Moodle materials, use of annotated reading lists, etc). If, in exceptional circumstances, this is not possible, students should NOT be assessed on course content for which they have not been prepared. In such circumstances, Schools should make clear to students any course content that will not be assessed.

Summative coursework

After the end of the period of industrial action, all coursework submitted during the industrial action should be marked and this marking and associated feedback should be completed according to normal timescales applicable from the end of the period of industrial action.

Flexibility/leniency should be applied in cases where students have not adhered to submission dates that were set within the period of industrial action.

Submission dates for coursework assignments following the industrial action should be extended where learning opportunities have been disrupted, as it may be necessary to alter the content of the assignment, or to provide additional time to catch up on re-scheduled teaching or alternative learning opportunities.


Summative in-course assessment (where in-course assessments that have been missed count for 25% or less of the overall course assessment)

If, as a result of industrial action, any in-course assessments taking place during class time have been missed by the entire student cohort or part of the student cohort, and have not been re-scheduled at a later date, these should be removed from the calculation of the overall course grade, and the remaining components of assessment should be taken as representing 100% of the course assessment.

This action must apply to all students in the cohort, including any who have taken the affected assessment. In such cases assessments should still be marked and feedback to the student provided as normal, but the summative result will not be used in the calculation of the overall course grade.

Boards of Examiners must be advised of any courses where component grades have not been included due to missed in-course assessments.



Summative in-course assessment (where in-course assessments that have been missed count for more than 25% of the assessment)

Courses which include Honours students due to graduate in 2023:

Where possible, arrangements should be made to re-schedule the assessment opportunity as soon as is feasible. Priority should be given to re-scheduling any assessments or other activities which are mandatory for the award of credit, or the award of the degree.

Where re-scheduling has not been possible in the above timeframe, any assessments missed by the entire student cohort or part of the student cohort should be set aside and the course grade re-calculated on the basis of the remaining components of assessment reflecting the true weighting of these components (see example in Appendix 1).

Boards of Examiners must be advised of any assessments which have been set aside on the basis of disruption due to industrial action. Honours degrees may be awarded on the basis of completion of 75%, or more, of the total assessment for the Honours programme. Where students have not completed 75% of the Honours assessment, due either to industrial action, or a combination of industrial action and accepted personal mitigating circumstances (‘Good Cause’), arrangements should be made, where possible, for further assessment opportunities to be provided during the summer to allow graduation in winter 2023.

All other students, including PGT, non-Honours, Junior Honours:

Where possible, arrangements should be made to re-schedule the assessment opportunity before the end of Semester 2. If there are any courses where it will not be possible to offer students at least 75% of the course assessment, this should be reported to the Clerk of Senate as soon as possible by contacting

Boards of Examiners must be advised of any assessments which have been deferred on the basis of disruption due to industrial action.


Dissertations for Taught Degrees

In cases where students have Semester 2 deadlines for the submission of their dissertation, and do not receive scheduled dissertation supervision and/or access to specialist facilities such as laboratories, as a result of the industrial action, a one-week extension should be applied to the dissertation submission date for all students in the cohort. This is irrespective of whether the missed supervision/access to facilities was re-scheduled after the end of the industrial action, or whether all/only some students in the cohort missed some supervision.

PGR Students

Problems concerning PGR vivas or supervision should be reported to the Clerk of Senate:

Further advice and guidance

If colleagues require further advice or guidance on the above advice, please do not hesitate to contact me at or Helen Butcher (

Information on complaints handling is provided at Appendix 2.

Martin Hendry
Clerk of Senate and Vice Principal
January 2023