Student Guide: Extenuating Circumstances

Advice and Guidance

Graphic of somebody using crutches

We recognise that there may be times when you are unable to meet the submission deadline for your work due to circumstances beyond your control e.g. personal illness or personal difficulties. If you find yourself in such a position you can make a claim for extenuating circumstances.

If you are studying either on campus, by distance learning or at one of our UK partnership organisations you can access the extenuating circumstances form via the My Modules and Assessment tab in your e:VisionStaffs Portal.

If you have any questions or experience difficulty in completing the Extenuating Circumstances form please seek advice from your subject tutor, the Information Points, the Students' Union Advice Centre or your Student Guidance Advisors who are there to provide specialist information, as well as confidential, impartial advice.  In addition you can refer to the Extenuating Circumstances Helpsheet (PDF, file size: 41.63KB) which has been produced by Student Guidance Advisors to answer some of your initial questions.

The Students' Union Advice Centre and Student Guidance Advisors have also constructed an  Extenuating Circumstances Jargon Buster (PDF, file size: 149.85KB)  to help you when considering submitting a claim.

Please refer to the Extenuating Circumstances Procedure.

Examples of Acceptable Claims for Extenuating Circumstances

 

The following are commonly accepted grounds for extenuation:

 

·      Serious ill health

·      Personal accident or injury of a significant nature

·      Bereavement due to the loss of a close family member – a parent, grandparent, guardian, sibling, son, daughter or a close personal friend.  Claims relating to extended family members will not normally be accepted

·      Victim of crime

·      Significant exacerbation of an on-going condition *

·      Unforeseen transport difficulties which could not have been avoided

·      Unforeseen work commitments, not applicable to full-time students

·      Unexpected pregnancy complications

·      Jury Service, only if your attendance is compulsory and cannot be deferred

 

* Please note you will need to provide evidence from your GP or the Student Enabling Centre to confirm that you experienced an exacerbation of your disability or ongoing condition, leading up to, or at the time of your assessment.

 

Examples of Non-Acceptable Claims for Extenuating Circumstances

 

The following is a non-exhaustive list of commonly rejected claims for Extenuating Circumstances

 

·      Minor illness i.e. cold

·      Moving house

·      Family events i.e. weddings and holidays

·      Routine medical appointments

·      Poor time-management

-       Not allowing sufficient time to travel to University to undertake assessments or submit coursework

-       Not allowing sufficient time to access IT facilities in order to print assessments

-       Not allowing sufficient time to complete and submit multiple assessments with similar deadlines

·      Poor practice i.e. failure to back up work

·      Personal computer or printer problems (please see “Important to note” below)

·      Financial issues

·      Change of employment, where this was within your control

·      Misreading of assessment due dates

·      Sitting the wrong examination

·      Normal exam stress or anxiety experienced during revision or during the assessment period

·      Religious festival, this is not unforeseen and any matters should be discussed with either your Personal or Course Tutor in advance

·      Conditions covered in your Learning Support Agreement, for which you are receiving reasonable and appropriate adjustments

·      Medical condition supported only by retrospective evidence (such as a Doctor’s note stating that you were seen after the illness)

·      Late enrolment on a course or module, where this was within your control

·      Complaints against staff or in relation to module/course delivery.  These are considered through the University’s Complaints Policy and Procedure

 

Important to note:

·      If you are uncertain whether your claim might be legitimate, please discuss this with your Personal Tutor, a member of staff from within the Student Guidance Team (support@staffs.ac.uk)  or Students’ Union Advice Centre (sac@staffs.ac.uk) or 01782 294629 

·      The University appreciate that IT issues are different for Distance Learners who cannot usually use IT equipment owned by the University.  Therefore, claims from students on Distance Learning courses which are based on IT or computer problems, will be considered by the Extenuating Circumstances Administrator case by case.

Standard of Acceptable Evidence

a)   Examples of acceptable evidence - this list is not exhaustive:

·      Doctor’s letter or certificate which confirms your illness and clearly identifies that the time period for which you were unwell corresponds to the assessment period in which you are claiming

·      Hospital admission and discharge letter, to confirm your time spent in hospital

·      Death certificate / Order of Service / Funeral Director’s Letter

·      Supporting statement provided by a support service within the University or Partner Institution i.e. Guidance Advisor, Student Enabling Centre, Disability Advisor, Counsellor.  The statement must be provided on University headed paper or come directly from the authors e-mail address

·      Supporting statement provided by a Personal Tutor, Course Tutor or Module Tutor.  The statement must be provided on University headed paper or come directly from the authors e-mail address

·      Police report, a crime reference number on its own will not be sufficient

·      Supporting statement from your employer if your circumstances relate to an unexpected increase in workload or unexpected employment circumstances i.e. deployment

·      New report to confirm unforeseen transport difficulties

 

Important to note:

·      All evidence must be contemporaneous to the assessment period in which you are claiming

·      Evidence to corroborate illness must be provided by a medical practitioner

·      Where possible, supporting statements should be provided on headed paper

·      Evidence presented by email is acceptable but only if it clear to see that the e-mail has been sent to you from the author, and from their organisations official domain name

·      Evidence in support of your claim must be legible and dated, poorly scanned, cropped (missing information), faded evidence will not be accepted

·      Evidence must be accompanied by a certified translation if written in a language other than English.  The translation must be undertaken by a member of the Association of Translation Companies (www.atc.org.uk/en).  It is your responsibility to have your evidence independently translated and to bear any costs incurred

Non Acceptable Evidence

a)    Examples of evidence which are not acceptable

·      Self-certification of your own circumstances

·      Evidence which is not supplied by an independent party

·      Evidence of a medical condition for which a Doctor did not see or diagnose in person, please see paragraph below for further information relating to on-line medical diagnosis

·      Medical condition supported by retrospective evidence

·      A letter from a parent, partner, family member or fellow student verifying circumstances where there is no other independent supporting evidence

·      Extracts of numerous emails merged into single documents

·      Evidence in a language other than English

·      Crime reference number without a supplementary Police report

·      Screenshots from mobile devices showing restricted information

·      Illegible evidence i.e. faded wording, cropped, missing information, undated, poorly scanned evidence