The University defines a mitigating circumstance as:

A serious or significant event affecting a student’s health or personal life which is beyond the student’s control. The events are sufficiently serious enough in nature to result in the student being unable to attend, complete, or submit an assessment on time. (Found in the University Mitigating Circumstances Policy (PDF 553KB)).

Recommendations and outcomes

At the point of submitting your claim, you will need to declare which of the below criteria applies for your affected assessments. Assessments affected in one of the following ways will be considered:

  • a. Assessment will be submitted late, but falls within the late submission of coursework penalty scheme (normally 8 working days after published submission deadline for postgraduate modules and 10 working days for undergraduate modules), anything submitted after these dates is assumed to be a non-submission and will be considered under criterion d below.
    • Assessment type: Coursework
  • b. Absence from a scheduled assessment which is timebound, such as an examination (both on campus and remote), class test, lab work or presentation. (Assessments that must be completed at a given time, or short time window).
    • Assessment type: Exam (both on campus and remote), class test, lab session, presentation, field work
  • c. Taken ill during a scheduled assessment, such as an examination (both on campus or remote) or presentation.
    • Assessment type: Exam (both on campus and remote), class test, lab session, presentation, field work
  • d. Non-submission of an assessment, including submission after maximum period for late penalties.
    • Assessment type: Coursework
  • e. Assessment attended or submitted on time but you can provide evidence to support you were incapable of determining whether or not you were able to undertake the assessment at the time of doing so.
    • This relates to all types of assessment

Your request should also demonstrate how your circumstances meet these additional criteria:

Beyond your control

You must demonstrate that you could not have done anything to prevent the circumstances arising, that they were unforeseen and unpreventable.

Impact on assessment

Your request must demonstrate a significant negative impact on your ability to submit/attend or complete an assessment by the deadline. It must make clear the duration of the circumstances and have the appropriate documentary evidence to support this claim.

Have timely relevance

Typically the circumstance must have occurred on the day the assessment was due to be submitted or attended or the week leading up to it. Where the serious or significant event falls before this time you should be able to demonstrate that the impact (as above) it had can be linked to the assessment being claimed for. (e.g. event significantly impacted revision/preparation for assessment that could not be recovered at another time and therefore the assessment could not be attempted or submitted on time).

What is a mitigating circumstance (and what isn't)

If you submit or attend an assessment on time, you cannot claim mitigating circumstances on the basis that your standard of performance in the assessment may have been affected, unless you submit evidence that your judgement was affected in reaching the decision on whether or not to attend.

Examples that would typically be accepted (although not exhaustive and other examples will be considered on a case by case basis)

  • Serious illness or accident resulting in hospitalisation or urgent medical attention/treatment relating to yourself.
  • Bereavement.
  • Serious illness (as described above) of a member of your immediate family (e.g. mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, grandparent, spouse, guardian).
  • Serious infectious disease that could put others at risk.
  • Sudden deterioration in a chronic medical condition or disability.
  • Childbirth or pregnancy complications.
  • Diagnosed psychological illness.
  • Legal proceedings requiring attendance at court as a witness or jury service.
  • Severe adverse personal/family difficulties.
  • Being the victim of a crime.
  • Harassment based on disability, faith, gender identity, race, and/or sexual orientation.
  • Significant and immediate change in working conditions (distance learning and part-time students only).
  • Unexpected disruption of access to technology required to complete/submit a time-bound assessment.

Examples that will not normally be accepted (this is not an exhaustive list)

  • Medical circumstances that:
    • do not relate directly to the assessment period in question and/or cannot be attributed as having an impact on the assessment.
    • relate to minor illnesses that would not lead to equivalent absence from a work environment and can normally be treated with over the counter remedies (e.g. colds, sore throat, day to day ailments).
    • are unsubstantiated or include retrospective evidence (e.g. doctors note after the illness has disappeared).
  • Holidays/family events.
  • Religious festivals and regular observance (these should be flagged to schools in advance so that adjustments can be made if necessary).
  • Sporting fixtures.
  • Financial issues.
  • Foreseeable and/or preventable circumstances.
  • A long-term condition where treatment or additional support/arrangements are in place to mitigate the impact and there has been no additional unforeseen flare up.
  • Transport difficulties that could have been anticipated or lack of contingency planning into travel time.
  • Being reluctant to disclose circumstances (even brief, non-detailed accounts) at the time.
  • Poor time management or personal organisation.
  • Criminal conviction.
  • Missing exams or assessment deadlines due to misreading of timetables or oversleeping.
  • Loss of computer data/printer problems that are not linked to a disruption of a time-bound assessment.
  • Submitting the wrong work for assessment or draft version of the work.

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