If you are experiencing a medium-term or long-term personal difficulty (not related to disability), it may be that a temporary learning agreement (TLA) can help you manage your learning, so that you can successfully complete your level or stage of study within your current academic year.

TLAs are designed for medium to long term personal difficulties i.e. circumstances that affect you for more than 14 days and up to maximum of one academic year.

Did you know?

If your personal difficulty is likely to be short-term (i.e. 14 days or less) and will affect one or more assessment deadlines due in that period, then you should use the exceptional circumstance procedures, provided you meet the criteria and timeframe for the request you are making.

If you have a recognised disability and/or long-term or serious medical or psychological condition that you have not yet disclosed to the University, you might be eligible for a Learning Support Plan (LSP). Please contact the Student Wellbeing services to discuss further.

Your personal academic tutor (PAT) can discuss your needs, check if a temporary learning agreement is right for you, explain what evidence you need and develop the agreement with you.

They are available to all students on undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses, including students at Partner Institutions.

Please note you will need to meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for a TLA:

  1. Your personal difficulty meets one (or more) of the University’s acceptable reasons; and
  2. You can provide appropriate professional evidence which demonstrates your difficulties and that they are likely to last for a medium- or long-term period; and
  3. You have raised the issue with your course early enough in the academic year that a TLA can be of value.

If you are not sure whether you meet these criteria, you should discuss this with your PAT and they can advise you about whether TLA or another form of support is right for your circumstances.

For the full TLA procedure please click here

TLA Support

A TLA means you will be offered additional support by your course to help you succeed in your learning and assessments and to complete them in the current academic year. However, in order for it to be effective it is important you make a commitment to meet any revised deadlines, take up additional support and engage with review meetings.

The support can take a variety of forms:

  • Academic support - including tutorial support and advice about how to access academic writing skill guidance.
  • Revised assessment deadlines - If you need it, a TLA can agree revised deadlines for (re)assessment that is due for submission from the point your TLA is developed during the academic year the TLA applies to. Please note, not all assessment deadlines can be revised. If a revised deadline is agreed through your TLA, this will be a firm deadline. So, if you do not meet it you will be subject to late penalties as normal.
  • Deferral of assessments - A TLA is designed to help you complete all your (re)assessments by the time the Module is considered by a Board of Examiners. In some exceptional cases (where you meet specific criteria) a course may be able to recommend to the Board that a (re)assessment is deferred to the next formal assessment period after that Board. The decision whether to allow deferral of (re)assessment is the Board of Examiners. A TLA cannot however defer first assessment into the next academic year.
  • Other types of support - Your PAT will discuss with you other support you might wish to obtain in addition to your TLA, either from the University’s Student Support, Health & Wellbeing Department or another area in the University as appropriate to your circumstances.

Please note a TLA cannot:

  • Include retrospective (re)assessment deadlines (i.e. any deadline that was before the point your TLA was developed);
  • Offer further attempts for (re)assessments you have already completed/attempted;
  • Change the learning outcomes you must achieve through an assessment;
  • Change the type (mode) of assessment you are expected to complete for the module (unless an alternative exists in the approved course);
  • Agree on reasonable adjustments for assessments;
  • Change your module(s) or course/pathway;
  • Change your mode of study;
  • Make adjustments to professional placements;
  • Extend your maximum period of registration on a course or level of study;
  • Make adjustments to practice or placement requirements, arrangements or assessments;

Requesting a TLA

You need to discuss and develop your TLA with your PAT to begin with. Once you have developed a proposed TLA, your course Director will need to agree to it.

You will need to provide evidence in support of a TLA which is:

  • Written; and
  • Recent enough to clearly apply to the current academic year and to the point in time where you are asking for the TLA; and
  • Provide enough information to demonstrate the difficulty you are experiencing and that it is likely to last for a medium- or long-term period; and
  • Be from a professional source (dated, and on headed paper if appropriate).

Please note: It is not possible for a TLA to be developed where the only evidence provided is verbal or is from a parent, partner or friend.

Your commitment once a TLA has been agreed

Once the Course Director has agreed to the proposed TLA, your PAT will ask you to sign and return the form (electronically) within 3 working days of being sent the final version. It is important that you sign and return the form in that timeframe; if you do not do so, your TLA cannot be implemented.

It is important for your academic success to adhere to the commitments you have agreed in the TLA and ensure that you:

  • Meet the revised deadlines agreed in your TLA.
  • Engage with review discussions about your TLA, as requested by your PAT and set out in your TLA form.
  • Respond in a timely fashion to communications from your PAT/course Director.
  • Tell your PAT/course Director (at the earliest opportunity) if you feel you might need additional support or changes to your agreed TLA deadlines/arrangements.
  • Tell your PAT/course Director if your circumstances change substantially (for better or worse) so they can discuss with you if a TLA is still the best support route for you.

If you do not meet the above expectations, your course may suspend your TLA until they are satisfied the issue has been resolved or, in some cases, they may determine that your TLA should be terminated if the issue persists.

Frequently Asked Questions

A TLA is not something you request by completing and submitting a form to your course (as you would for Extenuating Circumstances). A TLA is developed in discussion with your personal academic tutor (PAT), who will work with you to draft the proposed agreement document, ready to be reviewed by the course Director.

If you think you might need a TLA, you should start by contacting your PAT to ask for a discussion about your difficulties. They will then discuss with you the best support options for your situation, and if they agree a TLA is the right option for you, they will explain how the agreement will be developed.

If you have a (re)assessment deadline coming up and you have not yet been able to speak with your PAT about a TLA, you can submit an Extenuating Circumstance request in the first instance to obtain a short extension (if you meet the criteria) whilst you wait to speak with your PAT.

It is normally expected that if you are self-isolating and you have assessments due which you do not think you will be able to submit / attempt, you will use Extenuating Circumstances to request an extension / further chance to take the exam at a later date. This is because self-isolation generally lasts for a short-term period of up to 14 days.

More information about the support and advice for students self-isolating can be found here. It is important that you let your course know that you are self-isolating so that they can support you.

Yes. A TLA can be put in place in this instance, but it is important to note that the TLA cannot change a reassessment (capped) into a deferred first attempt (uncapped).

All revised deadlines are negotiated with the PAT and should be reasonable and proportionate. It is important to be aware that your revised deadline will be set to ensure your work is submitted in time to be considered by the relevant Board of Examiners.

In exceptional cases, your Course may agree to recommend a deferral to the Board of Examiners on the basis of your TLA. If this deferral is agreed then you will complete the (re)assessment in the next designated assessment period for your course. However, it is important to be aware that TLA revised deadlines cannot go beyond the end of the academic year in which you have studied the module

No. You cannot request more than the scheduled amount of time to complete your Take-Home Exam through a TLA.

If you feel you are unable to complete an exam on the scheduled date you must discuss this with your PAT before the exam start time, and if agreed by the PAT and course Director your TLA could be used to offer the chance to complete the exam at the next designated assessment period,

For example, if your exam was originally in the Semester 1 / Trimester 1 assessment period and it has been delayed through your TLA, it will normally take place in your Semester 2 / trimester 2 assessment period.

The University’s academic year dates can be found here. This includes the specific assessment dates for each academic calendar. If you are not sure which calendar your course is on you should contact your course director to find out.

Not unless you:

  1. can otherwise Trail & Progress (and your course permits this option); or
  2. are studying a course on a Trimester Academic Calendar and the first attempt you are requesting to delay is for one of the modules taught in Trimester 3.

Where you do not fall into one of the above categories, any TLA deferred first assessment attempt will have to be completed in the same academic year you studied the module. It cannot be deferred into the next academic year. When a deferral is agreed, you will be expected to take that attempt in the next designated assessment period for your course in the year you are studying the module.

It is also important to be aware that in the majority of cases if you are completing (re)assessment coursework, your TLA will give you a revised deadline which ensures your mark can be considered by the relevant Board of Examiners. You will not normally be given deferral for coursework unless there is an exceptional reason preventing completion before the Board.

If you are asking for a TLA because of a difficulty someone close to you is experiencing and you intend to provide evidence that belongs to that person, you must ensure you have their written permission to share their personal data (e.g. medical letters or legal documents) with the University as part of the TLA process. These requirements apply to any living individual over the age of 16. They do not apply to documentation relating to deceased individuals.

Providing permission for a living individual’s evidence to be supplied to the University as part of the TLA process is necessary to ensure you, and the University are meeting the legal General Data Protection Requirements. The form you will need to supply with your evidence is available here. If the form is not provided then the University cannot consider that person’s evidence.

If you are the person’s legal guardian, for example, their parent, then you will not need to provide their permission but you will need to confirm in your discussion with your PAT that you hold legal guardian status.

If you are concerned about asking the person to sign the permission form, or they are unable to do so, then you should consider providing any evidence you have which relates to you only. If you are unsure what to provide you can discuss this with your PAT during your TLA development discussion.