We have been notified by the union that represents many of our staff (UCU) that its members are being asked to participate in action short of a strike which includes a marking and assessment boycott. This means that some members of staff may not undertake their contractual duties to mark and assess work.


This action will start from 23 May.


Under UK law, staff do not have to tell us in advance if they are planning to take industrial action, so it is not possible to provide details about the impact on individual courses and modules. However, we are working closely with your Department or School to ensure plans are in place to minimise the impact on marking and the publication of your results.


We are aware that news of further industrial action may cause alarm to some students, but I want to reassure you that Essex is doing everything we can to ensure any disruption is minimised and we remain in an ongoing dialogue with local UCU representatives.


For most students, the marking and assessment boycott is unlikely to affect you, but it is important for us to provide assurance as you start the summer assessment period. Not all staff are likely to take part in the boycott and, where they do, many will take steps to minimise the impact where they can.


Many of you will be thinking about receiving feedback on your work, passing your exams, progressing to the next academic year, or graduating. I want to reassure you that the University is doing everything we can to ensure that none of these aspects of your studies at Essex are disrupted.


Our focus is on ensuring that your results will be available to you as expected and, where you meet the requirements of your course, you are able to progress to the next stage of study or to graduate as expected.


If for whatever reason you feel you need additional support, our Student Services Hubs are operating in-person, phone, email and live chat facilities and can provide information on our range of mental health and emotional support services. Our Students’ Union Advice service is also available for you.


The most important thing you can do now is to focus on your exams and to prepare properly for them. We have created a Q&A on the student directory but if you have any question not answered, please contact your Department or School in the first instance, who will continue to update you. You can also contact our Student Information Team on askthehub@essex.ac.uk.


We will continue to update you via your Essex email account. We will also include further information in our student newsletter, Essex Spirit, and will keep the Student Directory Strike page updated.


I hope I have been able to provide assurance that we are committed to supporting you and to ensuring you have fair assessment outcomes. I wish you all the best with your exams and thank you for your continued Essex Spirit.