Postgraduate Education Safeguard

Recognition of the impact of the pandemic on students 

The development of the pandemic in the 2020/21 academic year has had a significant impact on our students’ ability to engage with their studies effectively. Unlike 2019/20, the pandemic has affected the whole academic year in 2020/21 and our students have faced challenges and difficulties through multiple national lockdowns, with stricter lockdown conditions being imposed as new variants of the virus have emerged.  

Students will naturally be concerned about the impact that these circumstances may have on their studies and performance in their assessments. 

Our 2021 Postgraduate Education Safeguard provides recognition of and mitigation for the impact of the pandemic. Although our teaching and assessments were designed to be successfully delivered online, we have established the Education Safeguard to ensure assessment remains fair and equitable. It has been designed to provide support for our students at the individual and cohort levels, to mitigate for the different ways the pandemic has impacted on our students’ studies while maintaining the academic standards of our degrees.  In particular, students taking taught postgraduate (PGT) programmes at the University may be studying full time or part time, on campus or by distance learning and may have started their studies several years ago meaning that they have been affected in more than one year. 

The Education Safeguard for PGT students enables us to support you as an individual where you have significant mitigating circumstances arising from the pandemic or wider issues, and also allows us to take action at a cohort level to ensure that the overall impact of the pandemic is recognised. It also allows us to target appropriate measures for different groups depending on the element of their studies affected. All of this is set against a commitment to ensuring that the degree that you receive remains consistent with national standards and remains valued nationally and internationally. 

How will the Education Safeguard apply to me? 

In designing the Education Safeguard we have taken account of the wide range of different programme structures, start dates and modes of study that our students on postgraduate programmes may be undertaking. 

The Safeguard will apply to all students who are actively studying a taught postgraduate programme in the 2020/21 academic year.  There are some measures which apply to all students regardless of their mode of study or stage in their studies. These include: 

  • The uncapping of re-assessment opportunities
  • Increased opportunities for self-certification of mitigating circumstances
  • The opportunity to suspend study

Campus based students can also elect to defer their assessments, but should note that this option may delay their progression to the dissertation/project element of their programmes. 

The remaining elements of the Safeguard will be applied depending on where you are in your studies and the proportion of your studies that has been affected by the pandemic. Further details are provided in the following sections. 

There may be some programmes where, due to the requirements of Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) it is not possible to implement elements of the Safeguard. Where this is the case your school will inform you which elements cannot be applied to your programme. 

Clarification of terminology

The Education Safeguard is the University of Leicester’s version of a “no detriment” or “safety net” policy. In common with most other universities, our policy for 2020/21 is necessarily different from the “safety net” policies introduced in summer 2020, which were a set of short-term, emergency measures to address the immediate situation caused by initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 Education Safeguard represents a broader range of measures implemented since summer 2020 to support our students at both the individual and cohort levels.