Teaching and curriculum reform


This branch objects to the imposition of significant changes to teaching duties and research time that arise from the Framework for Education Resilience. We note that this has been implemented without the agreement of BUCU, the recognised representative of all teaching staff at the University of Birmingham, and therefore has the potential to amount to a breach of contract. We call on BUCU committee to continue to insist that full meaningful consultation continues on this matter; including especially on the question of planned teaching arrangements planned teaching and overall workload (including research time) for the academic year 2021-22.

Resolution adopted 16 September 2020.


Aim: We seek a commitment that the Workload Allocation Model used to calculate workload under the “Resilience plans” will be negotiated with, and agreed to by, BUCU before it is implemented.

University management response: This demand has so far been rejected. Instead we have been told to discuss our workloads in our annual Performance and Development Review (PDR) meetings.

BUCU verdict: This is very disappointing. Surely the purpose of the workload model is to standardise workload. Why would it exist if we are now told to deal with all workload issues through the PDR meeting?

Aim: We seek a commitment that, for all 3-legged academic staff, any reduction in research time below 33% of the workload, and any cancellation of study leave, will be compensated for in future years.

University management response: There is a hope that we will revert back to normal research time soon.

BUCU verdict: This does not respond to the concern that we will now have missed research time. We seek more than reverting back to normal. We seek a compensation for lost research time.

Aim: We seek a commitment that all modules put ‘in abeyance’ for academic year 2019-20 will be re-introduced into the curriculum for academic year 2020-21.

University management response: This has been rejected on the grounds that some staff might like the changes that have been made.

BUCU verdict: Regardless of whether some academic staff like the changes introduced, when they were introduced we were reassured multiple times that they were emergency measures that would only last for one year. Now that they have been introduced this reassurance has been removed. This poses a serious threat to academic freedom within the University.