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Postgraduates Who Teach

New policy and options for postgraduates who teach

We are committed to providing opportunities to acquire transferable skills that will enhance your preparation for a variety of careers.  For some of you, experience of teaching is one of those valuable skills.

We are also committed to giving all of our students the best possible educational experience and outcomes, and we recognise the important contribution that postgraduates who teach play in providing that experience and as members of the university community.

With all this in mind - and in light of recent debate in the sector about employment of postgraduate students, as well as recent Newcastle survey and audit results highlighting inconsistencies in practice - in April 2022 we committed to undertaking a review of the existing policy for ‘Students Who Teach’.

Extensive consultation has taken place with internal stakeholders, including Heads of Academic Units, Academic and Professional Services colleagues, People Services, NUSU (Newcastle University Student Union), PGR (Postgraduate Research) student committees, Faculty Education Committees, and relevant Trade Unions.

The revised Revised PGWT Policy v2 20112023.pdf (0.3 MB) which was approved by Senate on 1st March 2023, seeks greater clarity and consistency for postgraduate students, supervisors, Academic Units, and students in receipt of teaching. It lays out the mutual responsibilities of Academic Units and postgraduate teachers. It also defines the contractual options available for employment/remuneration for those of you who wish to apply to undertake teaching.

Implementing the policy will encourage us to plan ahead for the teaching and teaching-related requirements in each of our Academic Units across the academic year, and thereby to offer more clearly defined opportunities to which postgraduate students can apply. A PGWT Approval and Implementation Timeline has been developed.

A set of PGWT Policy FAQs for PGR.pdf (0.3 MB) has been developed in consultation with academic units and these are available for your information and guidance. The FAQs will continue to evolve over time, based on feedback and queries received from students and colleagues.

In due course this will help in the University’s ongoing efforts to move away from ‘casualised’ employment. It is worth noting that increasing the amount of planned contracted activity will depend upon longer-term commitment from postgraduate teachers as well as from the University. Also, the spirit of this new policy is that paid teaching opportunities are based on the University’s needs and that appointment of postgraduate teachers to meet these needs may be competitive; the policy does not provide an ‘entitlement’ for individual postgraduate students to be provided with teaching experience or with a particular contract.

The revised policy will be effective from the start of the 23/24 academic year, Academic Units will begin to refer to the revised policy when considering their requirements for Postgraduate Teachers from the start of the 23/24 academic year and beyond. The Doctoral College and People Services will be working closely with Academic Units during the implementation phase to support a smooth transition to the revised policy, and we will be reviewing its impact thereafter.

The options for a Postgraduate Teacher are articulated in the revised policy.

The Principles and conditions for Contracted Postgraduate Teachers have been finalised.

Additional documents you may find helpful are the Conditions of Service for Postgraduate Teaching Assistant (0.2 MB) and the Conditions of Service for Contracted Post-Graduate Teachers (0.4 MB).

We hope these changes will be welcomed in our community and will improve the experience we provide for all our students.

Contact info

For any general queries please contact doctoralcollege@newcastle.ac.uk

For questions relating to Principles for Contracted Postgraduate Teachers please contact Natalie.Hugall@newcastle.ac.uk