Marking & Assessment Boycott: Student Update

Please see our update on what we're doing to support students who are impacted by the marking & assessment boycott and how you can get help if you need it.

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We are extremely disappointed that many students will not receive all their marks as expected this week, this particularly affects schools in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. In the School of English & Drama this will also mean that some final year students will not be able to graduate as planned this summer.  

We understand how frustrating and impactful this news has been for those students affected and we will do all we can to support all those affected by the disruption.

Please note: the University have now contacted all students who have been affected by the marking and assessment boycott via email. If you have not received an email update from the University, you should have received your results as normal. 

This update provides further information on what we’re working on and what support is available to anyone affected;  

What’s actually going on? 

Queen Mary is currently experiencing industrial action in the form of a marking and assessment boycott, this is part of national action short of a strike (ASOS) by UCU that began on 20 April 2023. The School of English and Drama has been significantly affected by the dispute and the lack of resolution to date. This has meant many students in the school will not receive their results or be able to celebrate their graduation as planned.   

Meanwhile, we have further concerns about the impact of the dispute to students in their first and second year across several other schools. Many students will not receive all of their marks as expected this week, this is resulting in a lack of clarity for students on how they have performed this year, whether they will be able to progress, whether they need to take summer resits or if they have the grades required to join particular modules or study abroad programmes.  

What is the Students’ Union doing? 

The Executive Officers are continuing to lobby the University to resolve these issues for students, including ensuring schools send out timely information to all individuals affected and that marks are made available and completed as soon as possible. We have stressed the importance of all students receiving clarity on their progression and individual circumstances as soon as possible.  

We have been in regular contact with the university regarding the impact on final year students in English & Drama and ensuring they receive adequate compensation and support. The University have confirmed that these students will receive some compensation and will be offered practical support such as help contacting future employers and higher education institutions. For clarity, students who were successful in applying to the Students’ Union’s Graduation Fund will still be able to access the support grant they have been awarded.  

We continue to log all enquiries we receive from students affected and are ensuring these are passed on to the correct people who can help in the Queen Mary support team (support@qmul.ac.uk). We are ensuring they get back to students with a timely response as soon as possible. 

We are also seeking assurances from the University that the current dispute and use of external markers is not compromising the integrity of educational standards and quality assurance at Queen Mary.  

More generally, we will continue to lobby the University and Senior Executive Team to seek to resolve the current dispute by working pro-actively and positively with staff locally and by calling on the national negotiating body UCEA to re-open and settle the national negotiations. We also continue to meet with QM UCU to discuss how we can support them and Queen Mary staff in achieving a resolution to the ongoing industrial action as soon as possible.  

What support is available to me? 

The University have created a series of FAQs on the industrial dispute. All students affected by the marking & assessment boycott should now have received communications from the university to their email inbox explaining their individual situation. The University have also released a statement on the situation in the School of English & Drama affecting final year students:  https://my.qmul.ac.uk/news-and-events/industrial-action/.  

The Students’ Union’s Academic Advice Service is also available to support students. It offers free, independent and confidential advice to all Queen Mary students. It can help on a range of academic issues including but not limited to; 

  • Appealing your marks and grades  
  • Applications for extenuating circumstances 
  • Requests for a review of an exam board decision 
  • Appeals against de-registration from a module or course 
  • Complaints regarding course delivery 

We also know many students may be distressed, anxious and worried about the situation and general uncertainty. If you need any support, please do reach out for help. The Advice & Counselling service is available throughout the summer and can support you. Further details on the service and how to get in touch with them can be found here 

Clearly, many students will also be worried about their future career prospects, job opportunities and further study. Most employers and higher education institutions will not penalise you for the impacts of this dispute. The University have also offered practical support, such as contacting future employers or higher education institutions, so please do reach out to your school or Careers & Enterprise if you need any support.  

Further support for International Students 

If you are an international student with concerns about your visa status, please use the contact form for Advice and Counselling available here: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/welfare/about-us/contact-us/contact-us-form/. 

What can students do to help settle the dispute? 

You can voice your concern about the strikes by signing the UCU Open letter calling on the University’s Senior Executive Team to put deducted wages into the student hardship fund here. There is also an open letter calling the Senior Executive Team to help settle the dispute for the sake of staff and students, not undermine it, view here.  

You can also let us know your feedback and ideas by contacting su-representation@qmul.ac.uk.

 

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