If you are facing exceptional circumstances which are making it hard to engage with your learning or complete your assessments, you could submit an extenuating circumstances request. Find out more and what you need to do.
Who should be thinking about submitting extenuating circumstances? Is this for me?
If you are facing a particular difficulty which is really impacting your work – your own illness, caring responsibilities, severe stress or anxiety because of something that has happened – let us know. If you miss an exam or another assessment, or if you have submitted something late because of an exceptional circumstance, then also use an extenuating circumstances form to tell us why.
When is a situation serious enough for the University to be interested?
It's hard to draw a clear line because everyone's circumstances are different. You should submit an application for extenuating circumstances if you are in a situation in which other people would agree that you could not be expected to work normally because of some significant reason.
What are the main things I need to tell the University?
Tell us the particular impact of these circumstances on your learning, your work and your assessments – they might have affected you throughout the year, or maybe they badly impacted a particular exam.
I’ve got a disability support statement and alternative exam arrangements registered, do I need to do ECs as well?
Not normally, because the University will already have made some adjustments to help. But do use the EC system to tell us if something else unexpected has happened as well.
Do I need to provide evidence to back up my extenuating circumstances form?
Yes – if you need the University to make an adjustment you will need to evidence your exceptional circumstances. Typically, you might submit a medical certificate or doctor's note or some other official documentation. If you have a caring responsibility, be sure only to submit evidence about another person with their knowledge and permission. If you are uncertain, speak to your personal tutor or the school's senior tutor – or ask for advice in the school office.
I’m really embarrassed about my circumstances, they’re not the sort of thing I feel I can talk about with anyone
Be assured that this process is designed simply to help students to complete their course as well as possible. Nobody will make any judgements about you or your family – but we will only be able to help resolve any problems if we know that you need help.
Who sees my extenuating circumstances form and my evidence?
We keep all this strictly confidential – your form will be reviewed by a special extenuating circumstances panel in your school. Wherever possible, this panel will discuss your form anonymously. They won't share this information with your tutors or with anyone else.
Supposing my circumstances mean I need professional support or help from the Wellbeing Service?
Contact the Wellbeing Service directly, or speak to your personal tutor or senior tutor. Because the extenuating circumstances system is confidential and designed to support your academic progress, it is not the right route to access other help. Details on the extenuating circumstances form will not be shared with Wellbeing advisers or anyone else.
What happens next – what does the extenuating circumstances panel do?
The extenuating circumstances panel checks how seriously your extenuating circumstances have affected you and over what period. They pass that outcome on to the Board of Examiners, but no other information about the details of your case, which remain confidential. The extenuating circumstances panel won’t know your marks – it's for the Exam Board to look at your results overall, and at any extenuating circumstances, and to decide what happens next.
Will my marks change because of my extenuating circumstances?
No – we always award marks on the basis of the actual quality of your work. But if a Board of Examiners can see that your work was affected because of your extenuating circumstances, it might overlook an untypically weak mark.
What else could a Board of Examiners do with my extenuating circumstances?
If you have a fail mark or a missing mark related to accepted extenuating circumstances, you will normally be allowed to repeat the assessment without penalty. Where students are very close to a borderline for the award of a degree, but there are compelling extenuating circumstances, the Board will consider whether there is enough evidence to award you a higher classification.
So a student with extenuating circumstances and a 2:1 marks range could get a first?
It's possible – but unusual. The board would need to be sure that there was enough evidence that the student can work at the higher standard, and that the extenuating circumstances had been significant enough to make the difference. In practice, most students are fairly consistent in their performance and not many fall just short of the borderline. The board will always look to reward each student’s achievements, but has to be fair to all students.
Should I wait till I get my results and then decide if I need to submit an extenuating circumstances form?
You need to let us know about your extenuating circumstances before the exam board meets. The extenuating circumstances process is about making allowance for impacts – not about fixing marks. We only accept extenuating circumstances after exam boards if you can show a compelling reason why you could not submit them before.
Who can give me more advice about submitting an extenuating circumstances form?
You can always speak to your personal tutor or your senior tutor, or to someone in the school office. You can also get help from the independent Just Ask service in the Students' Union.