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New Timetabling Policy and Code of Practice

08 Nov 2022

As part of the ongoing work to provide the University with a better method of timetabling to benefit our students and colleagues, the University Timetabling Policy has been revised, and a new Timetabling Code of Practice issued.

A new approach to timetabling 

Led by the University’s Timetable Project, the University is launching a new, revised version of our Timetabling Policy and accompanying Timetabling Code of Practice. Thank you to all colleagues who took part in either consultations with your School and Faculty, Senate reviews, or responded directly to the Project team; your engagement has helped shape our finalised policy and code of practice. The updated policy supports the main purpose of the project: to enable the creation of a high-quality timetable that supports the delivery of excellent teaching, contributes to an excellent student experience, and makes optimal use of our teaching spaces.

Both documents will be fundamental to delivering our new approach to timetabling for the 2023-2024 academic year: faculty-led, collaborative timetabling. We've put together a useful overview: “I’m an academic, what changes can I expect to see?”; it highlights the different way we will be constructing timetables and includes a top-level timeline of when changes come into effect and deadlines for the new process.

Who does the policy apply to?

This policy and code of practice applies to all PS and academic colleagues involved in teaching and learning activity. It does not relate to examination timetabling. Unless explicitly excluded in the Timetabling Code of Practice, the Policy applies to everyone. We strongly encourage all T&L colleagues to read and familiarise themselves with the new policy and code of practice.

Key takeaways: what you need to know

Short on time? We’ve summarised some of the key policy and code of practice revisions below…

  • Timeslots allocated to classes or individuals in the previous year’s schedule will not be automatically rolled forward from one year to the next. This is so we can optimise the timetable and make it fairer for everyone.  
  • Flexible Working Arrangements (see the Flexible Working Arrangements Policy) will be factored into the construction of the timetable as a “hard constraint” (an immovable requirement).
  • The Teaching Availability Arrangement (TAA) process provides a mechanism for a member of staff to request not to be timetabled to teach at certain times. TAAs will be factored into construction of the timetable for the forthcoming academic year as a “soft constraint” (a preference, to be prioritised if possible) as outlined in the Timetabling Code of Practice.
  • Vice Deans for Teaching, Learning and Students will have key responsibilities to minimise any avoidable changes to student timetables once published, and to oversee their faculty’s demands upon the timetable. Vice Deans will help support provision of accurate and up to date programme information, enabling competent delivery of a stable timetable.
  • All faculties will follow a common timeline, specified by the University Scheduling Team, for producing the annual timetable. See the data capture and scheduling timeline here. 
  • Course Unit Leads will be responsible for providing accurate information to their School’s Programme and Curriculum Team or PGR Services colleagues about the structure and pedagogy of their course(s) by the published deadline.
  • Faculty Scheduling teams will now schedule the timetable for Schools within their Faculty, in line with their requirements (“hard constraints”) and, where possible, preferences (“soft constraints”), communicated by the Programme and Curriculum Teams and PGR Services.

What’s next?

Taking part in our Timetabling Priorities survey is the chance to have your say on the order in which “soft constraints” are prioritised. This order is still to be determined and you’ll see we’ve left space to add it into the Code of Practice.

We’ll be preparing colleagues for the new collaborative timetabling process, sharing the timeline they need to follow to accurately capture their requirements. Look out for your local Faculty and School-level engagement sessions, led by the project, planned to take place during the 2022-23 academic year.

If you have any queries in the meantime about the new policy and code of practice, or about the project – please first read our FAQs, then get in touch with our team: