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UCU CCCU Update Workload Planning 20/21

The current situation has put into sharp focus the centrality of Workload Planning (WLP).

The Pre Covid WLP structure was problematic and UCU CCCU believe not fit for purpose for managers and staff. This was the rationale for setting up, at the start of this academic year in collaboration with HR, a working group to review WLP.

Currently the situation regarding Planning for 20/21 and consideration of Short Time Working (STW) is complex and problematic

The Covid19 emergency has added an extra dimension to existing difficulties.

UCU CCCU continue to negotiate – within the Guidelines that will be attached to the Temporary Agreement (TA) and that will form the package members will vote on in the eballot – a workable structure for WLP under STW.

UCU CCCU have commented recent documentation on Blended Learning and LTEU documentation

Additionally below are some negotiation points being developed by UCU CCCU in relation to Project 20/21 and LTEU.

LTEU emphasise keeping it simple and this is vital and challenging – complexity needs to be resolved by CCCU leadership and not merely passed down.

LTEU and Blended Learning documentation should be live an flexible

WLP in the context of Covid and STW must be addressed realistically and directly.

In relation to individual staff

staff must feel that WLP is a valid process defining limits of workloads and protecting staff WLP cannot be  a fantasy” activity un-related to real workloads and work experiences

staff must have agency and involvement in the structuring of their WLP

staff must feel  supported by the WLP process so contact or engagement hours are real, reviewed and functioning boundaries marking limits of workload

staff must be aware of and understand a  process by which schools and programmes address WLP and which are open to review

staff must be aware of a meaningful process by which problems arising in phases of WLP (school, programme individual) can be listened to and addressed

In relation to Current UCU CCCU Negotiations, Documentation, LTEU and Blended Learning

Defining Terms is Important

The Document is a live document presenting developing guidelines for implementation of teaching in 20/21

Contact hours are in recent QAA documentation reframed as ‘engagement hours’. UCU CCCU believes this offers CCCU an opportunity to creatively re-frame and re-consider teaching workloads for 20/21. 


UCU CCCU believe engagement hours should include and limit:

Face to face on site teaching (this will not be an option for many staff and students)

Synchronous live on-screen teaching

Asynchronous teaching activities within a defined time period not synchronous.

Preparation / feedback time.



The situation is complex but CCCU leadership must mediate the complexity not isolate managers and staff within wicked problems that produce an impossible task


Keeping it simple suggests to UCU CCCU:

Mediating the complexity of issues not passing complexity down

Structuring terms and principles as key elements of documentation and allowing academics agency in curriculum construction and design

Empowering pedagogy – technology follows pedagogy not vice versa

Not overloading documentation – recognising resources and additional information as such and as additions/supplements to documentation



This applies to managers and staff and is dependent upon:

Identifying key areas for implementation of teaching and learning – before complex developments

Keeping technology do-able

Not adding to workload technology should decrease workload wherever possible

Recognising learning demands on staff

Weakest technological link (staff and students) will define efficacy

Recognising STW impacts as a vital component of planning


Key elements of Negotiations

CCCU Documents and communications must be user friendly distinguishing key definitions of terms and principles from additional materials (resources etc) and should communicate light touch and accessible materials  in live documents – e.g. “ways of starting’ ‘some ideas’ ‘resources and help”

Resources and Support must be available to staff (hardware and software support) 


WLP and Blended Learning must empower not overwhelm staff


Complexity needs to be mediated


WLP and Blended Learning must allow academics to have autonomy over delivery and implementation of Principles


Planning for 20/21 must facilitate a learning and developmental approach– with built in review


CCCU must avoid ‘technologism’ – the over-valuing of levels of technological aptitude as performed by staff – at all levels


Staff must feel able to prioritise pedagogy over technology


We welcome your comments on the above.


Best Wishes,


Bryan Hawkins



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