Guidance on University policy

Guidance on the policy for the recruitment, support and development of tutors and demonstrators.

Purpose of the guidance

The Guidance sets out the responsibilities that Schools have for the recruitment, support and development of tutors and demonstrators.

This guidance supplements the separate University policy in this area:

Policy for the recruitment, support and development of tutors and demonstrators


The Guidance provides further clarification of the range of responsibilities that Schools have for tutors and demonstrators including recruitment, support and development. 


The Guidance applies to all tutors and demonstrators at the University. 


Tutors and demonstrators (T&Ds) are an integral part of the team which guides student learning alongside lecturers, teaching fellows and technicians. T&Ds feature regularly in the student learning experience over several years and it is with them that the majority of students are likely to have their most direct contact during tutorials, practical work or field work. The potential impact of T&Ds on the quality of students’ learning is profound. It is therefore important that they are well-supported in providing excellent quality teaching.

The Policy makes clear that the recruitment, support and development of T&Ds is the responsibility of the Schools. Overall management of the T&Ds rests with the Head of School and they may delegate responsibility for day-to-day management to Course Organisers or other suitable members of staff. The Policy states that all T&D must receive a contract in advance of them undertaking any work for the University and that they should be paid for all contact hours as well as for formal induction and any School meeting that are deemed essential. This means that T&D must be employed on a contract and those who are also full time PG research students at the University must not undertake any more than an average of 9 hours of paid work per week across the academic year.

The work that T&D undertake is very varied.  They must be paid for all hours of work that the School specifies as necessary to fulfil their duties. The Course Organiser, or other comparable member of staff, is responsible for the management of the T&Ds. This might include allocating tasks, outlining the time required to compete these tasks and having oversight of the tasks subsequently undertaken. While the Head of School is responsible for appointing markers who contribute to the feedback it is the responsibility of the Course Organiser to allocate these duties and ensure that they are undertaken in accordance with the University’s Taught Assessment Regulations.

Training is the responsibility of the Schools. All T&Ds must receive formal induction on their roles before they begin their duties. Heads of School have the responsibility for recommending a necessary amount of training which considers the level at which T&Ds are teaching, and their experience. Further support may be offered and information on sources of support and guidance should be provided as part of the formal induction. All T&Ds should have a formal annual review of their development and progress.

T&Ds should be given the opportunity to undertake further developmental training. This might be courses or briefing meetings offered by the School or by the Institute for Academic Development. Each School must provide T&Ds with an induction plan.

Support from the Institute for Academic Development (IAD)

Workshops, resources and networks

As the Policy confirms the responsibility for T&Ds rests with the Schools. To complement School-based support, the IAD provides workshops on teaching for tutors and demonstrators across the University. These include Orientation courses (general guidance for tutors and demonstrators at all levels of experience) and Enhanced Development courses (for more experienced tutors and demonstrators).  In addition, the IAD has developed a set of resources specifically for T&D to support them to reflect upon, review, and develop their teaching. These are open to everyone in the University and can be accessed via a Sharepoint site. There is a dedicated mailing list for T&D.

Find out more about IAD provision for University of Edinburgh tutors and demonstrators

The IAD also welcomes T&Ds to their general provision to enhance learning and teaching such as the Practical Strategies series of workshops and wider networks such as Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and the student engagement themed network ENGAGE.

Institute for Academic Development - general learning and teaching workshops

Institute for Academic Development - learning and teaching themed networks

Accreditation for their teaching and support for learning

It is possible for T&Ds to achieve accreditation for their teaching and support for learning from Advance HE (previously known as the HEA). Via the University’s CPD Framework T&Ds can apply for Associate Fellowship of the HEA. There are several different routes tutors and demonstrators can follow to seek HEA accreditation for teaching at Edinburgh.

1. Introduction to Academic Practice (IntroAP)

This is an IAD course accredited by the HEA at Associate level. It runs twice a year and lasts for one semester. There are information sessions about this course throughout the year to find out more about the course. Detailed information for the Introduction to Academic Practice is found here:

Introduction to Academic Practice: more information

2. Edinburgh Teaching Award (EdTA)

This is a portfolio route with a mentor. Detailed information about the EdTA, what it involves and how you sign up is found here:

Edinburgh Teaching Award - more information

3. Direct application for accreditation to AdvanceHE

You can make a direct application to AdvanceHE via their Experienced Route. Find out more on the AdvanceHE website.

AdvanceHE direct application route

All three routes require T&D to show how their teaching and support for learning is aligned with the Professional Standards Framework (2023).

The IAD also provide bespoke support and training in Schools. This usually takes the form of adapting a general workshop and tailoring it to the subject or level needs of the school or programme, or combining a number of workshops to best suit their requirements.