Exceptional circumstances

Exceptional Circumstances are unanticipated events that have had a significant impact on your ability to complete your assessments. If you feel that your performance in your assessments has been affected by circumstances outside of your control, you must submit formal notification to your department for consideration by an Exceptional Circumstances Committee. Claims associated with managing the day-to-day stresses of life, e.g., a common cold, assessment deadline proximity, normal exam nerves, minor sports injuries, difficulties with housemates/landlords, etc., will normally not be categorised as exceptional circumstances. An Exceptional Circumstances Committee is a small body of highly experienced departmental staff. It handles information of a personal nature confidentially and with utmost sensitivity.

Inclusive Learning and Support Plans (ILSPs) and Exceptional Circumstances

If you have an ILSP, you do not need to submit a claim for Exceptional Circumstances as reasonable adjustments will have already been put in place to support your studies. If the circumstances supported by your ILSP develop or change, it is recommended that you speak to the Disability Service to update your ILSP as soon as possible.

If you have a sudden, short term decline in your condition, you may then submit an exceptional circumstance claim with evidence from your doctor. This cannot be a copy of your ILSP, but a formal medical note to confirm that your condition has suddenly worsened.

2021-22 Industrial Action

The industrial action which took place over 3 days in December 2021 and over 10 days in February/March 2022 affected teaching in different parts of the University. Departments have reviewed the teaching affected and have made adjustments to assessments alongside other measures to mitigate against impact from the action. Your department will have notified you of those adjustments, or their plans for further consideration. However, where you feel that, despite these measures, your performance has been adversely affected you can submit an exceptional circumstance claim to your department for consideration by the board of examiners.

How do I report exceptional circumstances?

Please complete the Additional evidence for the examination board form in full and submit to your department’s Programme Administrator or Director of Studies. You must submit the form and supporting evidence electronically.

Is evidence required?

In all cases you must also provide independent documentary evidence. Examples of appropriate supporting evidence includes, but is not limited to: medical certificates, a letter from the counselling service (Please note that the counselling and mental health service can only provide evidence if you have had contact with the sevice prior to the evidence being requested), death certificates, crime reports, calls to jury duty, accident reports, or corroborating statements from Academic Tutors / Directors of Studies derived from evidence of a personal or sensitive nature that have been received and considered in confidence. You should submit your supporting evidence with your form in an electronic format by using screen grabs or Microsoft Office Lens (recommended) to scan your documents.

If you have already submitted details to your department there is no need to do so again. Please note that the submission of such information will not automatically make a difference to your results.

You must supply supporting evidence in an electronic format before an exceptional circumstances committee will assess your form.

Please use the Additional evidence for the examination board document to submit your Exceptional Circumstances to your department.

COVID-Related Exceptional Circumstances

We recognise that you will have been affected in some way by the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. You may have experienced one or more of the challenges listed below. The list is not meant to be exhaustive, but is indicative of the types of challenges you may have been facing:

  • increased levels of anxiety, loneliness or difficulty in maintaining concentration
  • challenges in studying and preparing assessments without access to a quiet space
  • intermittent internet connectivity
  • physical illness (confirmed or unconfirmed COVID-19)
  • limited access to IT equipment
  • additional, or more challenging, caring responsibilities
  • increased financial concerns.

Exam Boards will have additional checks in place when considering results to ensure that adverse effects of the pandemic are taken into account.

This means that you do not need to submit an exceptional circumstances claim about the impact of COVID-19, unless:

  1. You are a key worker and have been working regularly during the pandemic;
  2. You have contracted coronavirus and have been admitted to hospital for treatment;
  3. You have experienced the serious illness or death of someone close to you who contracted coronavirus. “Someone close” can mean parents or guardians, children, siblings, a spouse or partner. It may also include close friends, in-laws, grandparents and/or grandchildren.

You will need to provide evidence for any claim submitted about the three circumstances above. We understand that obtaining certificated evidence may be difficult. We will accept any of the evidence you need to submit in an electronic format by using screen grabs or Microsoft Office Lens (recommended) to scan your documents. Examples of the evidence you should supply include payslips/rotas to demonstrate any key work undertaken; hospital discharge forms; death certificates, obituaries or formal confirmation of funeral arrangements from an undertaker.

When do I need to submit this information?

Your department will be able to inform you of the latest date for submission of this information. It is your responsibility to submit the details in plenty of time and to the appropriate person. Departmental examination boards cannot deal with exceptional circumstances retrospectively.