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MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES

POLICY AND PROCEDURE

1. Policy Statement

1.1 The College has a duty to ensure that assessments are conducted fairly
and in accordance with its Equal Opportunities Policy and that each
student has the opportunity to demonstrate her/his true level of
academic performance.

1.2 A mitigating circumstance is defined as a serious or significant adverse


event or illness which was unexpected and has impacted upon a
student’s academic performance. A student who believes that due to
illness or other valid cause (such as bereavement):

[a] his/her performance has been adversely affected; OR

[b] he/she was unable to submit assessed or reassessed work by the


scheduled deadline

may submit a claim for consideration of mitigating circumstances.

1.3 It is expected that students will take reasonable steps to avoid


foreseeable problems and technical failure of IT or any other
equipment will not normally be accepted as mitigating circumstances,
neither will pressure of work, transport or financial problems.

2. Procedure for submitting a claim for mitigating circumstances

2.1 A student who believes he/she has mitigating circumstances should


obtain a Mitigating Circumstances form, available from the Registry.

2.2 When completing the form the student should state clearly the
grounds for mitigation and the date(s) when the circumstances
occurred.

2.3 The claim must be corroborated by independent (third party)


evidence such as a medical certificate, a solicitor’s letter, or any other
official document. A claim will not normally be considered without
independent evidence. Original documents must be submitted but
these will be copied and returned to the claimant.

2.4 The claim must be countersigned by a Course Tutor to confirm that


s/he supports the claim.

2.5 The deadline for submission of a claim is normally the deadline for the
assessment to which the mitigating circumstances relate. Where
circumstances prevent a student from submitting a mitigating
circumstances form at that particular point, s/he should submit it at the
earliest opportunity but normally no later than seven days before the
meeting of the Examination Board.

2.6 Mitigating circumstances will not be taken into consideration if the


procedure has not been followed.

3. Confidential information

3.1 All claims for mitigating circumstances are confidential to the


Mitigating Circumstances Panel and will not be disclosed outside the
meeting.

3.2 If the student feels the circumstances are of a particularly sensitive or


personal nature, s/he may submit the claim and corroborating
evidence in a sealed envelope marked confidential with the student’s
name, ID number and the unit(s) against which a claim is being made.

4. Consideration of evidence

4.1 The claim will be considered by a Mitigating Circumstances Panel


which shall normally comprise:

[a] The Head of Student Services


[b] The Head of Registry
[c] An academic member of staff

4.2 The Panel will consider each claim and decide upon an outcome
which it will recommend to the relevant Examination Board. In making
its recommendation, the panel will take into account:

[a] the supporting evidence;


[b] the timing of the circumstances, namely do they correspond
with the date of the affected assessment;
[c] the nature and severity of the circumstances.

4.3 The Panel will only take into account claims of mitigation which have
been submitted formally. It will not consider claims which have not
been submitted according to the College’s procedure.

4.4 If the Panel accepts the student’s claim for mitigation the student may
be required to submit/sit the assessment for a first attempt or in the
case of a resubmission/resit the student may be required to resubmit
the assessment under the original conditions.

4.5 Mitigating circumstances do not permit the examiners to raise marks,


however where the Panel may recommend to the Board that it may
use its discretion in borderline cases to raise a student’s overall degree
classification, subject to meeting any other criteria to raise the
classification.
4.6 The Panel reserves the right to reject a claim that does not adequately
account for mitigation of a non submission or failure.

4.7 The Head of Registry will report the Panel’s recommendations to the
relevant Examination Board. The Panel however will not disclose the
nature of the circumstances.

5. Data Protection

5.1 Following the decision of the Panel, a copy of the mitigating


circumstances will be stored in a sealed envelope in the student’s
central file marked ‘confidential’.