Timetable chaos leaves students in the dark


“CHAOS” in the timetable office has left students and staff in the dark, with just days to go before the start of term on Monday.

With only two days to go before the start of lectures, timetables on Student Record have a warning message above them, reading “Please note: This Timetable Data has not yet been confirmed. Until the start of term this data may be inaccurate and is subject to change.”

An email sent to students in the International Politics department described “some problems with the University teaching timetable”; the teaching staff union UCU described a “significant delay” to the timetabling process. Many lectures in the department have been relocated to the Main Hall, a space not usually used for teaching as it lacks desks and can not accommodate many of the larger courses.

The failure has also left societies who are planning auditions homeless, and has seen some facilities triple-booked over the last week, leading some users to occupy rooms as a means of guaranteeing that they can use them.

The website of the Academic Office, which is responsible for timetabling across the University, lists both positions in the Timetabling section as vacant. A statement on the UCU blog said “The acting timetable officer has made significant efforts to produce the timetable in time for the start of term and we extend our thanks to her.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the University said: “Inevitably with such a complex operation, over four hundred programmes and several thousand modules, problems can arise as the timetable goes live.  Every student has a timetable and some change is normal at this time of the year.   We have a team working over the weekend to ensure that term starts as smoothly as possible.  Our ambition is to increase contact hours in the year ahead and focus on the student experience.”

Despite our request, the University did not explain how the current situation arose, nor did they explain any steps they are taking to ensure that it would not occur again.