UCL Human Resources


Postgraduate Teaching Assistant (PGTA) probation guidance

Guidance on how to manage probation and induction for PGTA staff


  1. This page summarises the probation process for Postgraduate Teaching Assistant (PGTA) staff.  PGTAs develop from and value the feedback provided during probation and beyond.

Probation length

  1. The PGTA probation period is 6 months and may be extended in line with the Induction and Probation Policy.
  2. Service within the previous 18 months, where there were no performance or conduct issues, may count towards the 6 month probation period.  For example, if the PGTA has already served 6 months under a previous contract, the probation period may be waived in full.  If the PGTA has successfully completed, for example, 4 months employed under a UCL contract, they will only need to pass a further two months’ probation under the next contract.
  3. The department should check their records and/or the PGTA’s CV, then email the PGTA to:
  • confirm how long the remaining probation period is, or acknowledge it has been passed previously;
  • let them know how to request reasonable adjustments;
  • provide any other relevant induction information.
  1. Once probation is passed, performance and conduct issues are managed under UCL’s Capability Policy – Managing Poor Performance or the Disciplinary Procedure, as appropriate.


  1. All PGTA staff should be given a department induction, which may involve sending relevant information via email. Wherever possible, they should be provided an opportunity to meet the module lead or academic mentor either online or on campus. Induction meetings may take place on an individual or group basis.
  2. As part of induction, provide PGTAs with the following information:
  • An introduction to key contacts e.g. Module lead, local contact regarding pay or contract matters.

  • An introduction to where to find UCL Policies and Procedures, highlighting any key procedures they should read.

  • The UCL Ways of Working and behavioural expectations.

  • How to access buildings, equipment, and systems. 

  • Mandatory training requirements. N.B. Any training that is mandatory for students does not need to be repeated as a PGTA. 

  • Health and safety information.

  • Where to find other kinds of support e.g. EAP, mentor.

  • How to request reasonable adjustments themselves and where to find support for disabled students.

  • Information about the module they will be supporting and expectations.

  • Any objectives during the probation period. These will likely relate to the module they are working on and the tasks they have been asked to do. Also, encourage the PGTA to choose one or two relating to areas they wish to develop during their time as a PGTA.  These may link to their longer-term career aspirations, whether in research, teaching, or outside the academic sphere.  


  1. Departments will not be required to hold formal probation meetings with PGTA probationers unless they have performance or conduct concerns, or a meeting is requested by the PGTA. Departments may hold probation meetings in line with the full Induction and Probation Policy if they wish. Departments should inform the PGTA when they have passed probation if they are not sending a final form to HR Services (HRS), so HRS can issue a letter. Where a formal meeting is held, the should be used. If there are concerns, departments should liaise with their HR Business Partner and look at applying the relevant guidance in the full Induction and Probation Policy.
  2. It is expected PGTAs will receive feedback within the department. This could be in the form of:

•    Peer review
•    Team review
•    Individual reflection, emailed shared with the designated academic.