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Information and FAQs for AL Recruitment

All those applying for and accepting an Associate Lecturer role should note that:

New and enhanced Associate Lecturer terms and conditions of employment (“New Terms”) were negotiated and agreed with the Trade Union in Autumn 2018. Associate Lecturer union members confirmed their acceptance of these New Terms when balloted in January 2019. Therefore all employed Associate Lecturers will move to the New Terms in August 2022

The new terms mean that ALs will be contracted as permanent employees rather than appointed on fixed term contracts as ALs have been previously contracted.  This change will provide AL colleagues with the job security and financial certainty and incorporates additional paid time for increased annual leave and increased time for staff development and maintaining academic currency.

Existing employees can see more about the new AL Contract online.

  • To view this information in Welsh click here
  • I weld y wybodaeth yn Gymraeg, cliciwch yma

External courses and further development

Associate lecturers can apply to the Development Fund that may provide financial support for attendance at events such as external conferences

Family Friendly Policies

As part of the University's family friendly policies, you will be entitled to maternity, adoption, and paternity and shared parental leave. For associate lecturers based outside of the UK and the Republic of Ireland the University will comply with local legislation on maternity, adoption and paternity leave.


Associate lecturers are eligible to join the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Full details are provided on appointment.


As a newly appointed AL you serve a two-year probation period.

From October 2021 your annual salary will be based on your total FTE value (full-time equivalent) multiplied by your salary spinal point value. E.g.:

  • An AL on salary spinal point 34 (£38017) working at 0.25 FTE would receive an annual salary of £9,504.25 (£38017 x 0.25).
  • The salary is paid in 12 equal instalments, so in this example the AL’s monthly salary would be £792.02.
  • The salary includes pro-rata pay for staff development, academic currency and annual leave.

Newly appointed ALs are appointed to scale point 30 on the AL salary scale, and progress automatically up the AL salary scale each year on 1st October until point 36 is reached, provided that you have been employed on or before 1st April in that year.

From October 2021 your annual workload will be expressed as a Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) value, rather than as a number of module appointments, or separate contracts. This is how the University indicates the workload level of all other staff groups. Your role and your working pattern are not changing. Your working pattern over the year will continue to vary to accommodate student support, tuition and assessment. If after October 2021 your workload falls below the level of your total FTE, the University will find you other work to maintain your FTE workload level. Your FTE value is made up of the following components:

  • Total delivery (calculated based on the sum of Every Presentation (EP) module and practice tuition appointments shown, and any relevant historic tuition related activities and large group sizes)
  • 5 days (pro-rata) allocated for staff development 
  • 6 days (pro-rata) allocated to academic currency  
  • 27 days (pro-rata) holiday (annual leave) 
  • Variable days (pro-rata) bank holiday depending on your nation of residence  
  • 1 day (for each AL) allocated for staff development 

Maximum FTE for ALs

From October 2021 the University is introducing a maximum FTE level for ALs (including colleagues with an AL role in addition to other OU work) of 1.3FTE. This is the equivalent of a 48-hour working week as set out in the 1998 Working Time Regulations. This step will help the University to prevent excessive workloads to ensure that the quality of our student experience and the health, well-being and safety of our employees is not compromised.

If an AL’s contracted FTE value is already at or over 1.3, or where an additional module appointment would take them over 1.3FTE, they will no longer be shortlisted and interviewed for current vacancies or appointed to new additional work from 21 June 2021 onwards.

Maximum number of groups per module presentation

No AL should be given more than two appointments on the same module in a presentation. In exceptional circumstances only, the maximum number of groups can be temporarily exceeded on a single presentation after the agreement between the AL and their line manager.

Q: Am I suitably qualified to apply?
A: You need to demonstrate on the application form how you meet the requirements of both the generic person specification and the module person specification.

Q: I live outside the UK or Republic of Ireland, can I apply to tutor with the OU?
A: The OU is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all backgrounds and nationalities, however, it is only able to accept applications from candidates who are resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Republic of Ireland.

Q: There is a vacancy in one part of the country but I live in another. Can I still apply for it?
A: Yes, you can apply for any vacancy advertised on our recruitment site providing that you live in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or the Republic of Ireland.  For modules taught entirely online all applications will be considered which are received by the published application close date. However, selection for modules with any face-to-face tuition may be defined by your proximity to the vacancy.

Q: How do I know if a vacancy is still open?
The close date for a vacancy is the final date that we will accept applications. We will not accept any late applications that are received after 12 noon on the close date.

Q: Can I send a CV instead of completing a form?
A: No, CVs will not be considered in the selection process. We will only accept completed AL application forms. A new version of the application form (ALAPP5) was introduced on 11th June 2021 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) employment legislation and the Welsh Language Standards 2018 (WLS 2018). (could add a link to the AL form here)

Q: I’m experiencing a problem submitting my form to the mail address.
A: Please e-mail us at if you have any problems submitting your form.

Q: I didn’t get an acknowledgment to my e-mail, should I be concerned
A: If you do not receive an automated acknowledgement soon after sending us an e-mail then it means that we have not received it. Check your Spam folder for error messages before trying again. If you are an existing Associate Lecturer use your University mail account. If you still do not get an acknowledgement then please contact us at

Q: I applied for a vacancy last month. I now need to change my qualifications/name/referee. How can I do this?
A: Please amend your form and resubmit it to with a message of explanation.

Q: I want to speak to someone to get feedback on my application. Who should I contact?
A: You should e-mail your request to the appropriate AL Services team, you can find contact details here.

Q: I’ve not heard anything since I applied.
A: We do not contact unsuccessful applicants. If you have not heard anything by a month before the module is due to start and wish to have some feedback on your application please contact the relevant details here.

Q: How do I know if I am an Internal or External Member of staff?
A: You are an external applicant if you do not hold a contract of employment with the OU or if the only work you are carrying out for the OU (i.e. where you hold no other work with the University) is short-term work, such as residential school work, scriptmarking, external examiner duties or are working as a self-employed contractor. Collaborative tutors and Research Students are also classed as external for these purposes.

Q: What is a module code?
A: The OU's module codes are made up of letters and numbers. The letter identifies the faculty or school that the module belongs to and the numbers identify the specific module. The first number in the module code indicates the particular module level. Some modules relate to more than one academic area and have more than one letter in the module code (e.g. DB123, You and your money is owned by the Faculty of Social Sciences and by the OU Business School).

Q: Do I have to apply for modules I currently tutor on?
A: You do not need to apply for modules on which you are already teaching from October 2021 onwards. All ALs already tutoring on a module have been given an ‘appointable’ status on CIRCE. If you wish to take on an additional group or additional presentation for modules you already tutor on, you will need to complete the relevant section in the Tutoring Plans and Preferences form or email both your Staff Tutor/Student Experience Manager and Faculty AL Services team to express an interest.

Q: What is the Tutoring Plans and Preferences form and do I need to complete it?
A: Tutoring Plans and Preferences form was previously known as AL Intentions Form and is sent to ALs ahead of a presentation on which they tutor. Completing this form will allow you to express an interest in increasing your FTE by taking on another group on a module you already tutor on, if required, and your preferences relating to SiSE students, U18s and large groups.

Q: I would like to take on an additional group/additional presentation for module I already tutor. What do I need to do?
A: You will need to complete the relevant section in the Tutoring Plans and Preferences form (mentioned above) or email both your Staff Tutor/Student Experience Manager and Faculty AL Services team to express an interest. Please note that a maximum of two groups on any module on the same presentation has been introduced to prevent future excessive workloads.

Q: Are PC & MOLD status really coming to an end?
A: PC and MOLD status will no longer be used as AL appointments are managed within the context of FTEs and the focus shifts to ‘FTE maintenance’ for all ALs. Instead, priority in the appointment process will be given to ALs who have/are losing work.

Q: What will be the priority order for appointments going forward?
A: The priority order for appointments is broadly as below:

Prioritisation group 1:

  • All ALs who held single presentation (SP) appointments as at 22 March 2021 (and who wish to have these included in their permanent FTE), except where:
    1. The SP to EP conversion takes an AL over 1.3FTE
    2. The SP appointment was issued as temporary cover for less than 90 days.
  • ALs who have lost work and require replacement work to maintain their FTE values.

Prioritisation group 2*:

  • Internal candidates (with an FTE at or below 1.0 FTE (based on CIRCE data from the June 30 FTE refresh and subject to maximum number of groups rules)
  • External candidate
  • Other internal candidates above 1FTE but below 1.3FTE.

*Please note, if your module is in a clear area of student growth and therefore there is high demand, there is no priority difference for any groups included in prioritisation group 2 and appointments can start to be made in parallel.

Q:  I live in the location where the vacancy is based. Why are you appointing ALs out of location over me?
A: Existing rules relating to geography still apply for face-to-face modules, however from October 2021 ALs are offered appointments in the priority order explained in the previous question, where they are able to teach in the vacancy location due to proximity or regular travel due to work, leisure or family reasons.

Q: Can I apply for additional work that would take my FTE over 1.3?
A: A maximum total FTE of 1.3 has been introduced to prevent workloads from becoming excessive. Therefore, if your FTE is at 1.3 or the additional work would take you over 1.3FTE, you will no longer be shortlisted or interviewed for current vacancies or appointed to new additional work from 21 June 2021 onwards.

Contact us

If you have any queries or questions about the recruitment process, or regarding your application, please contact:

Feedback on recruitment process

Any comments or concerns about any stage of the recruitment process should be sent to