Marking turnarounds and the ‘4 week’ deadline

We want to give an update for all staff affected by heavy marking and assessment loads and the ‘4 week’ marking turnaround. We know that assessment workloads across the University can and do cause serious health and mental health issues, with large numbers of staff taking sick leave every year for this reason.

Roehampton UCU have been very clear with the University that marking deadlines should be reasonable and should not involve forcing staff to work consistently in excess of the 48 hour working time directive limit, without their consent. When challenged previously about this, the University clarified that the ‘4 week’ marking turnaround period should not include bank holidays, University closure days or agreed annual leave days. Marking deadlines, together with under staffing, are a major resource issue and need to be properly managed. The final responsibility for this has to rest with the University and with management not with the staff delivering the feedback.

If you feel that your marking loads is extreme and unmanageable, we encourage you to ask for an extension in writing to your line manager so that your request is recorded. If you feel you need to get in touch with us for further support please contact us.

This is potentially an extremely serious issue. We note the tragic death of an academic and colleague in Cardiff Business School last year who sadly took their own life after citing extreme marking pressures over the winter period. We call on all staff to look after their mental health throughout the academic year and want to assure you that we will do everything we can as a union to support you in turning down work that you cannot reasonably manage.

The 4 week marking turnaround period as it stands is not a policy that has been properly consulted on nor agreed with the trade union and we are all within our rights to push back on this where it cannot be reasonably managed.