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By Jim Onyemenam, Postgraduate Students' Officer

I have some great news for you. After three years of campaigning, we have been able to convince UCL to instil a new code of practice for PGTA's ensuring fairer working conditions for Postgraduate Teaching Assistants. 

UCL have replaced the PGTA Scheme with a PGTA Code of Practice.  This is in response to the joint UCU/NUS Postgraduate Employment Charter. 

The key changes are:

  • Ensuring PGTA recruitment is fair, open and transparent.
  • Generic Grade 5 and Grade 6 Job Description / Person Specifications.
  • Professional development for PGTAs.
  • PGTAs being paid for attendance at mandatory training and meetings.
  • Information about the use of ratios to ensure PGTAs are paid for preparation/marking as appropriate.
  •  In support of the Doctoral Education Strategy, it is recommended that a PGTA sits on each Departmental Teaching Committee to represent the interests of PGTA staff. 
  • Staff should have access to the necessary facilities and resources required to carry out their role.
  • The expectation that PGTAs participate in the Peer Dialogue Scheme.

We have consulted widely and considered different opinions from various staff groups.   Our approach will be reviewed by HR, in partnership with departments, next year.  Departments are encouraged to review how they recruit PGTA staff, so we can explore ways to provide more certainty around working hours. 

The Code of Practice highlights that teaching is a valuable experience for our post-graduate students and PGTA staff are treasured members of our community.