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Attendance and Engagement Policy for Home Students

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The purpose of the policy is to support and monitor the attendance and engagement of all students studying at Staffordshire University. The University recognises that to be successful with their academic studies students need to fully engage with the teaching and learning offered as part of their chosen award/programme. Attendance therefore at all formal teaching activity is expected.

The University recognises that successful completion of an award will not just be by attendance but also via engagement. The University will therefore monitor engagement with a student’s programme of study using the Beacon App, Blackboard, Microsoft teams, submission of work etc.

Where students do not attend and engage this can mean they are not able to satisfactorily progress with their award and therefore the University will seek to take appropriate interventions to establish their re-engagement with the programme.

Attendance monitoring for international students who are sponsored by the University on a Student Visa, is also required to ensure visa compliance. Students sponsored on a Student Visa will therefore be subject to additional monitoring due to the requirements stipulated by the UKVI.

The policy seeks to support the improvement of the overall student experience by identifying where students may be experiencing difficulties and ensures timely intervention and appropriate support is made available to re-engage students.


This policy applies to students studying at Staffordshire University who are not sponsored on a student visa, regardless of fee status. This applies to students at all levels: Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research. Some programmes may have specific attendance requirements because of Professional, Statutory, and regulatory Bodies and/or other statutory or contractual requirements. There may also be additional, specific requirements for students on an apprenticeship, including responsibilities through the training plan. In addition, as part of the University’s UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) sponsorship responsibilities, the University is required to follow UKVI guidance and policy for students sponsored on a Student Visa. The Attendance and Engagement Policy for International Students applies to students who are Tier 4/Student visa holders.

Students studying at a partner

This process will also apply to students at partners, with decisions being made by appropriate staff within the partner’s structure. The Attendance Appeal Review process remains the same and will be conducted by the University.

Attendance Requirements

Students are expected to attend every element of their programme of study. This is defined as (but not limited to):

  • Attending required lectures, seminars, tutorials
  • Undertaking required laboratory work
  • Undertaking research or fieldwork
  • Submitting essays, assignments and attending examinations
  • Placements
  • Practical sessions
  • Scheduled self-led practical sessions

There may be other additional sessions that course teams may arrange to further enhance students’ studies and experience on their course. Whilst these may be optional, we strongly recommend that students engage with them whenever possible so that they benefit from the extra learning being provided.

Students undertaking a period of their course as part of an approved work placement are expected to attend the placement in accordance with the placement agreement. Regular checks with the employer will take place to ensure attendance.

Recording attendance

Students will be responsible for their participation in their learning experience by engaging and fully attending all elements of their programme/course. It is anticipated that by students engaging in their programme in this way they will have a better opportunity to successfully progress with their studies.

To enable the University to identify where students may not successfully progress due to poor attendance and engagement with their course, the student’s attendance and engagement will be monitored for the full duration of their period of their study at the University.

The university will monitor attendance as follows:

  • University Beacon App which will enable students to sign in at the start of a scheduled timetabled activity. This will be via the issuing a code by the lecturer/tutor to the students to log against the active session. The code is unique to that session and will be pre-generated randomly at the start of each session.
  • e:Vision for students on Postgraduate Research awards and Postgraduate Taught students who are at the Dissertation/project stage of their award. This recording will be undertaken by the student’s supervisor at the supervisory meeting.

This data will be collated and assessed to help identify students at risk of not completing their studies and appropriate interventions will be identified.

Students will be able to view their attendance record in the timetable tile on the dashboard within the Beacon app.

If it is identified that a student has signed into a class but was not in attendance, their record will be amended, and the absence recorded. When a student is found to have repeatedly signed in but not attended class, disciplinary action may be taken against the student.


The University will monitor attendance and engagement regularly. If the University has concerns about a student’s attendance and engagement with their course or their attendance falls below our threshold, the School will undertake appropriate interventions by working with the student’s academic mentor to gain agreement over re-engagement and provide further assistance as appropriate to support the student.

For Students on a Student Visa please refer to the UKVI attendance and engagement policy which outlines the intervention process in place to ensure compliance with UK Visa and Immigration requirements.

Absence Monitoring and Withdrawal

On some occasions, for instance illness, your absence may be unavoidable. All absences must be notified to the relevant Tutor immediately. Please refer to your Course Handbook for contact details.

In the case of absence due to illness for a period of up to and including five working days, full-time students must complete a Self-Certification Form (PDF, 6.65KB) and submit it to their academic mentor. Longer periods of absence due to illness must be covered by a sick note from a GP. In this case student’s might need to claim exceptional circumstances in relation to their learning and assessment.

Students are permitted to apply for a break in studies from their programme of study for personal or medical reasons. Guidance and advice on this process can be sought from their academic mentor or the Student Support & Experience team.

For students on a Student Visa, the University is required to maintain attendance records for all students they sponsor and to report absence in accordance with our sponsor duties to the UKVI. Students on a Student visa may request a short period of authorised absence. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Students wishing to discuss this should speak to the Student Support & Experience team.

Each School will set their own expectations for appropriate attendance and engagement levels. This will be reflective of the nature of the courses being delivered in that area, as well as the requirements of any professional, statutory or regulatory body.

We recognise that sometimes there are things going on in a student’s life which make it difficult for them to engage. However, if students don’t let us know why they are not engaging, we may think that they no longer want to study on their course. We will do what we can to help you to re-engage with your studies and get back on track. But the University also has to ensure that our courses and awards maintain standards, and we have obligations to others to ensure we do so. This can include professional, statutory or regulatory bodies, financial bodies such as Student Finance, or a student’s sponsor or employer.

If a student’s attendance and/or engagement doesn’t meet expected levels set by the School or Institute, the student will be contacted. We may use more than one communication route to get in touch, one of which will normally include an email. Students will normally be given a period of two weeks in which to contact their course leader or academic mentor to discuss their reasons for poor attendance and engagement. Attendance and engagement will continue to be monitored during this time and if significant improvement is not recorded, or the student doesn’t get in contact, we will take further action. For example, we might put in an action plan to support their re-engagement, or the student might be withdrawn from their course. Where a student is withdrawn, they will be notified by email.

Attendance Withdrawal Appeal

If a student is withdrawn due to failure to engage with the attendance and engagement process, they can appeal the decision. When students are informed of the decision, this will include details of how to submit an appeal against the decision.

Students can appeal up to two weeks (excluding bank holidays and University closures) following official email notification of their withdrawal. After that, we will only accept an appeal if there was nothing you could have done to submit it on time. Any appeal must include evidence to explain a student’s lack of engagement. The Student Guide to Providing Evidence gives more guidance about the type of evidence that might be appropriate If your appeal does not meet all of the above, we will not consider it and we will explain why. Please note that engagement with the University is a condition of enrolment, and in some cases may be a condition of funding or visa status.

First, we will check that the appeal is on time and is supported by evidence. If not, we will check to see if there is any explanation and evidence to show why the appeal could not have reasonably been submitted on time. If it’s not, we will not consider the appeal further and will explain the reason why.

The appeal will be considered by an Associate Dean, or nominee, within the student’s School or Institute, who will have had no previous connection to the student. If the appeal is in time, the person will consider the information provided in the appeal and make a decision. Some examples of outcomes are as follows

  • That the student has demonstrated appropriate reasons for not attending or engaging and can return to their studies now.
  • That the student has demonstrated appropriate reasons for not attending or engaging but has missed too much study and needs to return at the next appropriate point
  • That the student has not demonstrated appropriate reasons for not attending and the student remains withdrawn.

A student will normally receive a response on their appeal within three weeks (excluding bank holidays and University closures) of submitting it.

Attendance Appeal Reviews

If a student disagrees with the decision we have reached on their attendance appeal, they can request that the decision is reviewed.

A review is not a reconsideration of an appeal. It is to check that procedure has been followed and that a reasonable outcome has been reached.

The only reasons students can request a review are:

a)    The appeal procedure was not followed properly and this has affected the outcome.

b)    The decision reached was unreasonable in view of all of the circumstances.

c)    They have new evidence which they were unable to provide earlier in the process, for valid reasons.

Students will need to write to, and must say they want to request a review of their attendance withdrawal appeal and include evidence to support their case. Students can request a review up to 2 weeks (excluding bank holidays and University closures) after they have received their appeal decision.

 The Regulations and Compliance team will check that an appeal is:

  • On time, within 2 weeks (excluding banks holidays) of receiving their appeal decision.
  • Meets one of the reasons to appeal.


  • Is supported by evidence.

The decision will be reviewed with a more senior member of staff within the student’s School or Institute.

We will normally respond to a student’s attendance appeal review within 3 weeks (excluding bank holidays and University closures).

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)

If a student disagrees with the decision on their attendance appeal review, they have the right to make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) within one year of the decision.

Breaks in Study

Sometimes a student’s engagement may have been low for a longer period of time, or the circumstances that have been impacting on them are likely to go on for a longer time. The student may have missed too much learning or assessment, or they might not be able to commit to study in the way we would expect. In those cases, the student might want to think about taking a break in studies, or the appeal outcome might be that they need to take a break. please see the Break in Studies guidance page for more information.

Further attendance or engagement concerns

If a student re-engages after receiving a cause for concern email, or if they successfully appeal a withdrawal, their attendance and engagement will need to meet with our expectations for the rest of their studies. If further concerns are raised about a student’s attendance or engagement within 12 months of the first cause for concern, the School or Institute may decide to immediately withdraw the student, without issuing a second cause for concern email. Students will still have the same rights to appeal this decision.

Further guidance for students in relation to the workings of this policy can be found in our frequently asked questions.