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Heads of Department Message 25 May


A range of updates on thinks that I hope will be useful/relevant.

New GTA Contract

Although we are targeting significant savings on sessional teaching spend (at least 50% across ARC), we recognise that some expenditure will be required as business critical and that you may need to be putting some arrangements in place for sessional teaching. We have retained the commitment to the new GTA contract as part of our work to reduce casualization. This will apply for PG students who are teaching. For professional and practitioner roles, please continue to use the existing STP arrangements for anything that is business critical.

For the new GTA contract

  1. The website to support this process and to enable umbrella contracts and the associated assignments to be issued has now gone live.
  2. The GTA contract applies for a minimum of 20 hours work per term. In exceptional circumstances where someone needs to do less than this, then the old STP contract is available but we would not wish to encourage its use.
  3. You will be required to advertise internally and interview but the process is a light touch one and should be no more onerous than the process for engaging under STP
  4. Training for students appointed on a GTA contract will continue to be paid
  5. Queries can be directed to the usual STP team.

We appreciate that the extent to which GTAS are needed will depend upon student numbers and these are particularly uncertain this year and so the team understand that you might be making commitments later in the year than could be normal.

Probation Extensions – R&T Contracts

Following my message on 7 May about the 6 month extension periods for R&T focussed colleagues currently on probation, I can update on the process. To keep this simple, can you please let the Academic Processes team in HR ( know which members of staff in your Department would like the extension added to their probation periods (this could simply be everyone eligible). They will then confirm to you the new probation end date and the new review date for the Probation Review Group, which you should then pass on to each probationer. In the interests of efficiency, formal letters will not be sent in this regard, and the extension does not preclude an application for early completion of probation at the original timeline, should this be your recommendation.

And just as a reminder for colleagues on R-focused and T-focused probation (normally 6 months) any requests for extensions will be dealt with sympathetically on a case by case basis with the expectation that such requests will be approved as a matter of course.

Alumni Scholarships

A detailed communications plan has been prepared and this has started to go live, with messaging to both finalists and the broader alumni community. Just as a reminder, all alumni will get a 10% discount and there will be up to 200 scholarships of 50% for the high premium fee courses (£20k+ for home fees) and 30% for low premium fee and standard fee courses).

Discretionary accounts

As we approach the end of the financial year can we ask for caution around spend from discretionary accounts. The savings guidelines from Stuart last week cover these accounts and in the interests of protecting the cash position we need to avoid any non-essential spend as the year-end approaches. Could you just monitor any spending plans?

Other Cost Savings measures

As a brief update, details on the planned Voluntary Leavers Scheme (VLS) and other options for reducing hours should be announced in the first week of June. As part of the likely process for these schemes HoDs can expect to be asked for a short assessment of the impact of accepting an application. Further HR guidance will follow.


In a separate email, I’ll be sending you details of the revised University Safeguarding Policy which was approved a few weeks before we went into lockdown.

Virtual Open Weeks

In preparation for the next UG recruitment round, we’re moving open days into a virtual environment. Given the workloads that academic departments will have in the coming month, the current proposal is that we run two linked events:

  • Student led Virtual Open Week: Monday 29 June to Friday 5 July

Organised and led by Professional Services, this event will allow prospective students to engage with pre-recorded academic course content and be able to speak with their peers to get a real sense of what life is like at Warwick and what it is like to study their chosen course.

  • Academic led Virtual Open Week: Monday 13 July to Friday 17 July

This will be an academic-led event where students can ask detailed and academic questions to departments and find out more information regarding the course and department.

Details will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

As ever, any queries, please let me know.



Professor Christine Ennew OBE