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Exceptional circumstances

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

If you are studying either on campus, by distance learning or at one of our UK partnership organisations you can access the exceptional circumstances form via My Student Information and Support > Exceptional Circumstances > Create a new claim and view previous claims in your e:VisionStaffs Portal.

If you have any questions or experience difficulty in completing the Exceptional Circumstances form please seek advice from your personal tutor, the Student Connect Team at Stoke or the Information Points at Stafford or Shrewsbury, the Students' Union Advice Centre or your Money & Guidance Advisors who are there to provide specialist information, as well as confidential, impartial advice. 

Please refer to the Exceptional Circumstances Procedure.

Examples of Acceptable Claims for Exceptional Circumstances

The following are commonly accepted grounds for exceptional circumstances:

  • 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 worsening 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
  • Adverse weather conditions (PDF, file size: 122KB)  - Please click on the link for further information

*Please note you will need to provide evidence from your GP or the Accessability Team to confirm that you experienced a worsening of your disability or ongoing condition, leading up to, or at the time of your assessment.

Examples of Non-Acceptable Claims for Exceptional Circumstances

The following is a non-exhaustive list of the circumstances we do not consider to be exceptional:
  • Minor illness i.e. cough or cold
  • Life events i.e. moving house, weddings and holidays
  • Change of employment, where this was within your control
  • Routine medical appointments
  • Poor time-management
    1. Not allowing sufficient time to travel to University to undertake assessments or submit  coursework
    2. Not allowing sufficient time to access IT facilities in order to print assessments
    3. 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
  • Getting assessment information wrong
  • 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 Statement, 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 or module/course delivery. These are considered through the University's Complaints and Appeals 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 Support & Experience Advisors (student-support@staffs.ac.uk) or Students' Union Advice Team(sais@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 case by case.

What evidence can I provide?

When you’re completing assessments for your course, you have to provide evidence that is of a good quality, and usually needs to have been written by an expert on the subject. We expect the same when you need to provide us with evidence to support your EC claim. The Unviersity has a guide for students on the type of evidence we expect to see.