How to Appeal

A guide to making a case and to the University procedures involved

NB: This page is for students on taught courses. MPhil or PhD students should see their separate course regulations.

If you fail an assessment or don’t get a good mark, you might want to appeal. In theory, this is an appeal against the decision of the University Award Board – that is the board that confirms your marks.

The University's [Complaints and] Appeals Procedure is written in clear and plain English - do read it

First, think: do you have a case?

You can't simply appeal because you disagree with your marks – you need a good reason (“grounds”).

The only two “grounds” for appealing are:

That your results have been affected by the University not following its own assessment procedure. If you are a research student, this may include the arrangements for your supervision.

or

That you had exceptional circumstances which you could not reasonably apply for, or evidence, using the Exceptional Circumstances Procedure

This could be illness, bereavement, family problems, or any life event that was not your fault and which you couldn't prevent. But...

The University will want to know why you didn't use the Exceptional Circumstances procedure at the time. If they think you could have used the Exceptional Circumstances procedure, your appeal will probably be rejected: it's really important to explain this and to provide evidence of why you could not use Exceptional Circumstances at the time.

If you are appealing against an Exceptional Circumstances decision, the grounds are different. See the Exceptional Circumstances Procedure for those grounds.

Second, take urgent action

You must appeal by email to regulations@staffs.ac.uk within two weeks (excluding bank holidays) of the publication of your results on evision.

Tip: put both a delivery receipt request and a read receipt request on your appeal email so you can check when it was delivered and check when it was opened.

Write the appeal.

A good appeal will include: 

  • A timeline of events. The University will need to know what happened, when it happened, and how it affected your work. Include an explanation of why you couldn't use Exceptional Circumstances (unless you are appealing against the refusal of your Exceptional Circumstances application).

Check with the appeal procedure for what the University thinks about possible reasons for not using the Exceptional Circumstances process

  • Evidence to support your case. The University needs proof of what has happened, and usually will not uphold appeals without good evidence. The more evidence you can get, the better.

Make sure that evidence covers the date/s of your assessment/s, covers everything you want the University to know, can be understood by someone who does not know you, and matches with your grounds for appeal.

Don't be afraid to go back to a source of evidence, (e.g. your GP) if you feel something could be made more accurate or detailed.

  • A request. Tell the University what you want to happen next if the appeal is upheld. This will be taken into account, but we can't guarantee you'll get exactly what you want.

Third, what happens next?

The University aims to reply fully within three weeks of getting your appeal.

If your appeal is turned down (“rejected”), get advice – you might be able to ask the University to think again, or might be able to take your case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

If you need more advice:

These services can help:

Student Advice Centre (independent advice on how to make a good appeal)

Student Guidance Advisors (University advice on appealing)

The Academic Regulations and Compliance team (University advice on the process and how your appeal is progressing)