Extenuating circumstances

If you have missed, or are likely to miss, an assessment hand-in or examination, or feel your performance was impaired, due to a short-term, unexpected and unavoidable disruption to your studies such as illness or other misfortune, you may be eligible to make a request for an extension or another opportunity to undertake the assessment under the Extenuating Circumstances procedures.

You must complete the Extenuating Circumstances Request Form (ECRF) and email it, together with evidence where required, to the relevant Programme Administrator(s).

This flowchart describes the process for applying Extenuating Circumstances.

As a student, you are expected to complete your assessments, including examinations and other time-constrained assessments, on time. However, there are occasions when there might be a short-term, unexpected and unavoidable disruption to your studies resulting from illness, difficult personal circumstances or events outside your control that have either prevented you from completing an assessment by the due date or impaired (that is adversely affected) your performance in a specific assessment. In such situations the University has arrangements called ‘Extenuating Circumstances Procedures’ that may enable you to have an extension or further opportunity to take an assessment.

The grounds for making an extenuating circumstances request are:

  • Where you have missed, or expect that you will miss, an assessment hand-in or examination due to an illness or other misfortune (Options 1 and 2 on the request form); or
  • Where you have handed in an assessment or sat an examination on the required date but feel that your performance was adversely affected by your circumstances and you wish to have the opportunity to submit the work again as if for the first time (Option 3 on the request form).
  • An extension of up to 7 calendar days  by self-certifying (Option 1 on request form)
    • You do not need to provide supporting evidence.
    • You can only request this if you are applying before or, at the latest, on the day of your earliest listed assessment deadline.
    • You can only apply for self-certification a maximum of two times during an academic year.
  • An extension of longer than 7 days (Option 2 on request form)
    • You could request either up to 14 days or more than 14 days extension.
    • You must provide supporting professional evidence.
    • You can submit the request up to 7 calendar days after the earliest listed assessment deadline.
  • Another chance to take an assessment you have completed where you feel you under-performed due to personal difficulties (Option 3 on request form)
    • You must have already submitted or sat your assessment to apply for this option.
    • You must provide supporting professional evidence.
    • You must submit this request on the day of or within 7 days of your earliest listed assessment.

Note:  Your Programme will email your University email account with the University’s response to any Extenuating Circumstance request, so it is crucial you check this account regularly.

  • If you have problems that you expect will affect your studies for a significant period of time, for example more than a term, you should talk to your Programme Director or Administrator(s) as soon as you are able; the University has other means of helping students in these circumstances, for example through a Negotiated Learning Plan.
  • If you wish to request a special arrangement for an assessment with regard to a disability, this must be done by contacting the University’s Student Support, Health and Wellbeing Department.
  • If you wish to notify the University of a scheduled absence from your studies which will not result in you missing an assessment you should do so by submitting a Leave of Absence form to your Programme Director. Please note: such absences are only permitted for serious cases.
  • Extenuating Circumstances cannot be requested with regard to a placement; if you experience difficulties whilst on placement you should consult your School or Programme Handbook for guidance on the appropriate procedures.
  • If you believe that a procedural error has occurred in relation to your assessment you should report this directly to the Academic Support Office in the Registry (via academic.administration@canterbury.ac.uk ).

This flowchart describes the process for applying for Extenuating Circumstances.

Your extenuating circumstances request must be made by submitting an Extenuating Circumstances Request form with evidence, where required, by email to your Programme Administrator, unless you are on a Health and Social Care programme (where you should submit the form to one of the following, as appropriate):

You may make a request that covers all assessments which are due either within a 7 calendar day period (if you are requesting self-certification via Option 1) or are/were due in a 14 calendar day period for all other types of request.  If you believe any assessments after this time are likely to be affected, you will need to submit a later request to cover these.

Only the specific assessments you include on your form will be considered; the University will not apply extenuating circumstances to assessments you have not specifically requested.

If you are studying on a combined honours programme, or taking a starred module, you should not submit separate request forms for each subject (if assessments from both subjects have been affected). Instead you should complete one form which includes all assessments from both subject areas and forward a copy to both Programme Administrators at the same time. Please note: this is particularly important regarding ‘self-certification’, as each form submitted will count as one of your 2 available requests, regardless of whether they pertain to the same period of time.

You should ensure that in your personal statement you complete all 4 sections so as to clearly explain the difficulties you have been experiencing and how these have impacted upon your studies.  It is important to provide a clear timeline of events and, for Options 1 and 2 on the form, indicate the length of extension you would wish for; please note however that all extensions are subject to consideration and there is no guarantee the length of time requested will be granted.

Please note you cannot submit your Extenuating Circumstance request form earlier than 14 calendar days before the affected assessment deadline for the following options:

  • Option 1 on the request form to Self-Certify and request an extension for 7 days - all such requests must be submitted no later than the date of the earliest assessment you list on the form.
  • Option 2 on the request form to request an extension of more than 7 days – the form and evidence must be submitted no later than 7 calendar days after the earliest assessment you list on the form.

Please note you cannot submit your Extenuating Circumstance request form before the date of the affected assessment deadline for the following option:

  • Option 3 on the request form where you have submitted/sat your assessment and are requesting another opportunity to take the assessment – the form and evidence must be submitted no later than 7 calendar days after the earliest assessment you list on the form.  Please be aware that you cannot make this request after individual feedback on the assessment has been given.

If you do submit a request beyond the relevant deadline, your request will be re-directed to an Extenuating Circumstances Panel for a decision; in this case you will be asked to provide supporting evidence with the request, and explain why the form was not submitted within the required timeframe.

Please note: requests submitted beyond the required timeframe may be rejected due to lateness.

You can ‘self-certify’ (Option 1 on the request form), which means you do not have to provide supporting professional evidence, on a maximum of two occasions each academic year where:

  • You are requesting an extension of 7 days; and
  • You make the request no later than the date of the assessment affected.

However, self-certification cannot be made for the following types of request, and as such you must provide supporting professional evidence of the illness or misfortune:

  • If you are applying for Options 2 or 3 on the request form; or
  • If you are making a request after the date of the assessment deadline; or
  • If you have made more than two ‘self-certification’ requests in the same academic year.

If you are required to provide supporting professional evidence (see ‘when you will need to provide evidence with your request’), please note you should provide photocopies or scanned copies of evidence and not original documents themselves.

Please note that the University cannot seek evidence on your behalf from a third party, and this includes from Professional Service Departments within the University itself.  It is your responsibility to provide the University with any evidence you feel supports your case.

When you are providing evidence, you should ensure whenever possible that the documentation you submit is from a professional service and directly relates to the period of time when your assessments occurred.   Please also ensure, wherever possible, that professional evidence is on headed paper, signed and dated.

Some example scenarios and appropriate supporting evidence are provided below for your assistance, please note however the types of evidence you can provide are not limited to these suggestions:

  • For bereavement - a death certificate or order of service
  • For ill health (your own or another person’s) – a doctor’s note, hospital letter (including hospital discharge documentation), a consultant’s letter, a prescription, copy of medication (which includes the label stating to whom it was issued and when), a dentist’s letter, a counsellor’s letter (external or University) or documentation received from ambulance staff.
  • For police or jury related issues – a crime report, insurance documentation, court letters or solicitor’s letters
  • For personal difficulties – solicitor’s letters, divorce or separation documentation, housing agreements, council letters, documentation from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, counsellor’s letter (external or University), doctor’s letter, financial documentation or employer’s letter

Please note the following types of evidence would not normally be considered sufficient if they were the only supporting evidence you provided:

  • Statements from family or friends
  • Newspaper articles
  • An appointment card for a doctor / dentist (unless it specifies the reason for visit)
  • Receipts
  • Copies/photos of over the counter medication
  • Timesheets
  • Photographs with no identification or date stamp
  • Phone screenshots

In such a situation you should contact your Programme Administrator or the Student Health & Wellbeing Advisors ( studentwellbeing@canterbury.ac.uk ) for advice as soon as possible.  Please ensure that in this situation you still submit your Extenuating Circumstances request form within the relevant Extenuating Circumstance deadline as evidence can then be submitted within 7 days of this, if necessary.

In cases where evidence is required and no forms of evidence are available, you may request a statement of support from a relevant member of University staff (e.g. your Personal Academic Tutor, a Student Wellbeing Advisor, A Disability Advisor or a University Counsellor), however please note staff are not obliged to provide such statements. It is important to note however that these statements will not normally be considered acceptable as the only form of evidence in circumstances where you might reasonably be expected to obtain independent professional evidence. 

For extensions of 7 - 14 days (Option 1 & ‘up to 14 days’ extension in Option 2 of the request form)

  • Short term illness e.g. flu, gastroenteritis, serious emergency dental problem
  • Hospital appointment
  • A funeral
  • A court appearance

For extensions of more than 14 days or where you have taken the assessment and feel it was impaired (‘more than 14 days’ extensions in Option 2 & Option 3 of the request form)

  • Serious short-term illness e.g. broken limb, illness or accident requiring hospitalisation
  • Bereavement or serious illness of close relative or friend
  • Serious short-term personal disruption e.g. house fire, victim of crime, homelessness

For extensions of 7 - 14 days (Option 1 & ‘up to 14 days’ extension in Option 2 of the request form)

  • Significant domestic upheaval e.g. unexpected house move, changing job
  • Incident concerning the police (including theft of equipment needed for assessments)
  • Minor illness e.g. serious cold, migraine or sprain of the student’s normal writing hand/arm
  • Dental problems (of a non-emergency nature)
  • Jury service
  • System-wide travel disruptions e.g. grounding of all flights, county- or country-wide public transport disruption

For extensions of more than 14 days or where you have taken the assessment and feel it was impaired (‘more than 14 days’ extensions in Option 2 & Option 3 of the request form)

  • Exceptional family crisis e.g. major illness of relative or partner, divorce or separation
  • Difficult pregnancy, e.g. where complications occur, or child birth (Pregnancy of a wife/partner is acceptable where childbirth is imminent or medical complications occur)
  • Significant work pressures above and beyond the normal challenges faced by students
  • Involvement in an elite event e.g. participation in a national/international sporting event or national/international musical performance
  • Serious, unexpected and unavoidable financial difficulties beyond the normal challenges faced by students (and not of the student’s own making)
  • Direct experience of major weather disruptions or natural disasters e.g. house flooding
  • Term-time holidays or weddings
  • Normal work / life / study pressures
  • Childcare issues (unless exceptional and unexpected)
  • Unexceptional financial issues
  • Pregnancy of a relative (not student’s partner/wife) / friend
  • Minor ailments e.g. a light cough, cold or headache
  • Hangover
  • Oversleeping
  • Misreading of exam timetable or assessment deadline
  • Taking the wrong examination or coursework assessment (including answering the wrong question)
  • Stress resulting from involvement in plagiarism, professional suitability or fitness to practice case
  • Academic workload pressure e.g. multiple deadlines within a short timeframe, difficulty understanding subject or question
  • Difficulties accessing resources or computing accounts due to outstanding finance issues with the University (unless difficulties are not of the student’s own making)
  • Examination panic (unless clinically confirmed as a chronic anxiety condition)
  • Issues between friends
  • Illness or loss of pets
  • Transport difficulties e.g. car breakdowns, delayed public transport
  • Computer difficulties or equipment failure e.g. loss of file, inability to access the internet or computer breakdown (unless difficulty relates to software/equipment required as part of reasonable adjustments resulting from a student’s disability)

Option 1 on the request form – to Self-Certify and request an extension for 7 days –  Your Programme will take this decision and you should normally be told their decision within 3 working days of submitting a complete application (e.g. with evidence where required), although at busy times of year this might be longer.  Please note that, where necessary, some cases may be referred to Panel for a decision; you will be notified if this happens and you would then receive a decision within the timeframes set out below.

Option 2 on the request form – to request an extension of more than 7 days 

  • If you tick ‘up to 14 days’ extension’ - Your Programme will take this decision and you should normally be told their decision within 3 working days of submitting a complete application, although at busy times of year this might be longer.  Please note that, where necessary, some cases may be referred to Panel for a decision; you will be notified if this happens and you would then receive a decision within the timeframes set out below.
  • If you tick ‘more than 14 days’ extension’ – The Extenuating Circumstances Panel will make this decision and you will normally receive this decision (via your Programme) within a maximum of 4 weeks from submitting a complete application.

Option 3 on the request form – where you have submitted/sat your assessment and are requesting another opportunity to take the assessment –  The Extenuating Circumstances Panel will make this decision and you will normally receive this decision (via your Programme) within a maximum of 4 weeks from submitting a complete application.

 

Where your extenuating circumstances request has been accepted, the potential outcomes are:

  • an extension for an outstanding assessment;
  • removal of a late penalty (for coursework already submitted); or
  • a further chance to take an assessment at the next available opportunity

Please note that additional marks will not be awarded on the basis of the Extenuating Circumstances Request; the University does not take Extenuating Circumstances into account when marking nor does it permit ‘remarking’ on the basis of this procedure.

Important facts to note about extensions:

  • All extensions are given from the date of the original assessment deadline,not from the date your Extenuating Circumstance request is agreed. As such, you should endeavour to complete and submit any work for which you have requested an extension as soon as you are able. 
  • All extensions are based upon calendar days and will only exclude periods of official University closure.
  • When you have been given an extension through an extenuating circumstances request, the new deadline is fixed and should you miss this you will be subject to the standard late penalty for coursework unless you have submitted and had accepted a fresh extenuating circumstances request for an additional extension.

Important facts to note about further opportunities to take an assessment:

  • If you make a request under Option 3 on the request form ( where you have submitted/sat your assessment and are requesting another opportunity to take the assessment) and your request is accepted, you will receive no mark or feedback from the original submitted/sat assessment.  Therefore, if you do not take the further opportunity offered, you will receive no mark for that assessment; you will not be offered any additional opportunities unless you have submitted and had accepted a fresh extenuating circumstances request for an additional extension.

An extenuating circumstances request cannot result in you being given extra time in a time constrained assessment.

If your extenuating circumstances request is not accepted, you may be given a re-sit opportunity, if this is appropriate, by the relevant Examination Board. In such a situation your module will be capped at the pass mark for your level of study.

You may, under certain circumstances, submit an Appeal against the decision of the Panel.

Further information about initiating an Academic Appeal

Confidentiality

In making an extenuating circumstances request, you may reveal sensitive personal information; please be assured that the University treats all requests as confidential and access to this information is limited to only those members of staff required to be involved in the administration and approval process for extenuating circumstances.

Should you have concerns about detailing sensitive personal circumstances on a form, please speak with your Programme Director.

Please note that no record of any Extenuating Circumstances Requests will show on your mark transcript. 

Contact us

  • Tel: 01843 609888 (Broadstairs)
  • Tel: 01227 922222 (Canterbury)
  • Tel: 01634 894444 (Medway)
  • Email:i-zone@canterbury.ac.uk

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Last edited: 12/07/2017 09:00:00