Bad news emails to academic staff

Choose one of the bad news situations below and work together to think of as many different emails as you can to announce that thing to a member of the academic staff. Try to use a different reason and as different language as possible each time. When you have run out of ideas, decide on the best of those emails and then do the same with others below.

Changing someone’s duties (= someone’s responsibilities)

Changing someone’s office

Changing someone’s terms and conditions

Cutting someone’s hours

Documents only available in Japanese

Expecting unpaid overtime

Lots of deductions from salary

No annual bonus

No response to an email

No students coming to a lesson

Not paying national insurance (= social insurance)

Not renewing a fixed-term contract

Paying salaries late

Rooms being changed

Salary lower than usual

Turning down a holiday request

Turning down a sabbatical request

Turning down a request for funding 

 Useful language 

Giving bad news

We regret to inform you that…

I’m sorry to tell you that…

I’m afraid…

I’m sorry, but…



Giving reasons

This is/ was due to…

This is/ was because of…

The (main) reason for this is…

As you may be aware…/ As you probably know…


Which of the situations above are most realistic for you? What other things do you sometimes need to say no to?


PDF version for easy saving and printing: Bad news emails to academic staff

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