Exceptional circumstances

We recognise that sometimes things can happen to you over which you have no control, but which affect your ability to sit an exam, attend a placement, or submit an assignment. In these circumstances you can ask the University to take these events into account.

If you are experiencing difficulties, you should contact your School Registrar as soon as possible. They can advise you on the most appropriate course of action. This may be:

  • An application for an Extension to a submission deadline for an assignment(s) – where a later deadline will enable you to complete the work
  • A claim for Mitigating Circumstances – where an unexpected event seriously affects your studies and an extension is not feasible or appropriate (e.g. if you miss an examination)
  • An application to suspend or Interrupt your studies – where your personal circumstances mean that it is difficult to continue with your studies at the current time.

The Mitigating Circumstances Policy sets out the regulations and procedures to support students who have been affected by exceptional circumstances. It applies to all registered students of the University regardless of fee status or place of study.

All procedures will be confidential and information handled in accordance with the Data Protection Policy

All circumstances must be accompanied by appropriate documentary evidence. Examples of circumstances which might normally be considered include:

  • Illness at the time of an examination or in the period preceding coursework submission or during placement
  • Death of a family member or close friend
  • Severe unforeseen personal or psychological problems
  • Flare-up or exacerbation of a chronic condition
  • Complication of an existing condition
  • Additional impact of a disability
  • Complications in pregnancy e.g. premature labour
  • Serious transport difficulties which could not have been avoided
  • Specific religious observance
  • University technical difficulties of an ephemeral nature e.g. such as an unscheduled disruption to the usual VLE provision

Examples of circumstances that will not normally be considered include:

  • Paid employment – although exceptions may be made where an employer makes additional and unforeseen demands on an employee, e.g. sending an employee overseas at short notice
  • Misunderstanding of the University procedures, e.g. not knowing an examination date or coursework deadline
  • Transport problems, e.g. missed bus or train, lateness of lift
  • Computer or printing problems
  • Holiday
  • An inability to effectively manage your time
  • Group coursework tasks – failure by one member of the group to submit work or undertake the tasks assigned by the group; this will be taken into account in the marking guidelines
  • A back-dated claim for reasonable adjustments completed prior to the release of a formal assessment by the Disability Service, e.g. retaking an examination with extra time

You must be able to provide appropriate documentary evidence to support any extension request or claim for mitigating circumstances. It is your responsibility to ensure that sufficient evidence is provided to enable a decision to be made.

Examples of documents which may be acceptable include:

  • Medical certificates which cover the appropriate period of time
  • Letters from medical specialists
  • Letters from professional counsellors / advisers, which should refer to the appropriate period of time. This may include the Students’ Union Advice Centre
  • Relevant legal documents
  • Death certificate
  • Letters from legal professionals
  • Letters from church or spiritual leaders

Examples of evidence which will not be accepted include:

  • Personal statements from the claimant describing circumstances for which there is no independent documentary evidence
  • Uncorroborated evidence from friends or family
  • Supporting statement from Head of Academic Department or Senior School Registrar

An Evidence Pro-forma has been drawn up to help those supplying evidence. It highlights the areas that the panel or other body will be looking for to support the claim.