Changes to Exceptional Circumstances

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As a Students' Union, we're pleased that students will be able to access the support that the Exceptional Circumstances process provides much more easily.

The changes mean you will not be required to provide evidence when you submit them but instead a written statement outlining how the lockdown has affected you.

This will help our students who have been most impacted by the pandemic and lockdown, including but not limited to;

  • parents and carers;
  • key workers;
  • students without access to appropriate study space;
  • students without adequate IT equipment to fulfill their studies;
  • and those who have lost the ability to access specialist equipment and technical support on campus.

Although the outcome of this is not a 'no-detriment' policy seen at some other Universities, whilst there is still the flexibility of course curriculum being delivered in the third term, we believe this is the best outcome to not jeopardise the standards of students' courses... but make no mistake, if the lockdown extends and government guidance continues to disadvantage students, your Union will not hesitate to return to the University and demand something much more similar to 'no-detriment' should students ask us to.

 

Your next steps


If the lockdown has harmed your ability to complete assessed University work, we would recommend applying for Exceptional Circumstances as soon as possible.

Whilst you won't need to submit any evidence at this point, we've put together some guidance you can use to personalise your circumstances in your self-declaration statement.

You will still need to complete your assessments, ECs mean that you may have longer to complete or different allowances, not that you do not need to complete your work.

 

Further support for students who are parents and those with caring responsibilities


Lockdown has impacted these students significantly.

We have worked closely with the University to ensure that your assessments should take into consideration your caring responsibilities. Some examples of the changes your course might offer are changing the time you take an exam to fit into a homeschooling schedule or allowing additional breaks to check in on children during a timed assessment.

You should reach out to your course leader to access this.

If you have trouble agreeing on appropriate changes to your assessments with your course leader, you can get in touch with us at the Students' Union.

 

What are we doing for students who have placements?


We are working with students with placements, particularly in Education and Health & Social Care professions to understand the impact lockdown is having on their learning outcomes and what can be done to ensure these students can graduate with the skills and experience they need to achieve.

We recognise this is a national issue that is being raised with UUK (Universities United Kingdom) and the Government, and we are lobbying with the NUS (National Union of Students) on this topic.

 

Keep sharing your concerns


We continue to raise your issues and concerns with the University and are currently looking at what the regulations mean for students whose courses are affected by the lockdown and pandemic into semester 2.

Remember that if you need help and support during this time, we're here to help.

We can point you in the right direction so please get in touch and don't forget to keep raising your concerns with us, the more we know, the better we can represent you and the more we can achieve for our students.

Get in touch:

  • Phone | 01782 294 629
  • Email | union@staffs.ac.uk
  • Message us using the chat function on our website
  • Tag us on social media @staffsunion

 

University update


Exceptional Circumstances

Given the national lockdown, we appreciate that some students may find their ability to undertake or complete assessments compromised.

As an example, a student might need to provide care for a child during the daytime as their school has been closed at short notice. Depending on the student’s situation, this may significantly impact their ability to attend campus to undertake an assessment scheduled during the normal school day.

Please note that this is only one example. We understand there will be numerous other circumstances resulting from the national lockdown that adversely affect a student’s ability to undertake assessments.

We hope that for many, the two-week extension of assessment deadlines will enable you to work around any issues. However, in some cases, this may not be sufficient and students in this situation should consider submitting a request through our Exceptional Circumstances process.

Where possible, students are encouraged to provide supporting evidence alongside Exceptional Circumstances submissions to enable the University to better understand the pressures and challenges they are currently facing. However, students who complete Exceptional Circumstances submissions due to the national lockdown are not required to submit supporting evidence. Instead, a self-declaration statement, explaining their situation and how the national lockdown has compromised their ability to undertake an assessment, will suffice.

Please note that students whose Exceptional Circumstances requests are approved will still be required to successfully complete assessments in line with their updated arrangements.

Students should only complete Exceptional Circumstances submissions stating the national lockdown as the cause of the lockdown has had a negative impact on their ability to undertake an assessment.

For Exceptional Circumstances, submissions not related to the national lockdown or COVID-19, the usual process – including a requirement for evidence to be provided – should be followed.

To complete a submission, or to find out more about the process, please visit the Exceptional Circumstances Procedure section of our website.

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