Extenuating circumstances, complaints and appeals

How we can help when things go wrong.

If you experience problems with your studies, it is important that you let us know as soon as possible. Suggested contacts can be found in your Programme Handbook.

Depending on the nature of the problem, it may be possible to get extra help or advice, but it is likely to be more difficult the longer you wait. If the problem cannot be resolved informally, City has procedures which allow for the situation to be addressed more formally.

The links below take you to guidance that will help support you in a range of situations, and link you to the more formal City processes.

There are also many ways in which students can express their views on an on-going basis, for example, through surveys, module evaluation and student representation. See the Student Voice section of the Quality Manual for more information.

Extenuating circumstances

The Extenuating Circumstances procedure recognises that sometimes students will experience circumstances outside their control which impacts on their performance in one or more assessments.. Please seek further guidance and read this information before deciding whether or not to submit an application.

The Extenuating Circumstances procedure is for unforeseen circumstances outside your control. Make sure that you access all the help and support available to you in your School/ Validated Institution or through the Student Centre for other circumstances impacting on your study and assessment.

What are extenuating circumstances?

City defines extenuating circumstances (ECs) as circumstances which are unforeseen and outside your control and which can be shown to have had a direct and substantial impact on your academic results. This may include an impact: on capacity to study prior to an assessment, on ability to complete an assessment, and/or on performance during an assessment.

Examples of the types of extenuating circumstances that might be accepted include ill-health, bereavement, or other personal issues which were unexpected, out of your control and may have affected preparation for an assessment or performance during the assessment itself. Circumstances such as the availability of books, conflicting assessment deadlines, transport difficulties, routine work commitments or circumstances that could have foreseen and/or prevented will not normally be accepted.

If you are in doubt remember these two questions:

  • Could I have foreseen what happened?
  • Was I in control of what happened?

If you answer no to both and you believe that your performance was significantly affected as a result of what happened then it is worthwhile submitting a claim.

Who can use the Extenuating Circumstances procedure?

The Extenuating Circumstances procedure applies to all taught students on programmes awarded by City* and is managed in accordance with Senate Regulation 19: Assessment Regulations and the Extenuating Circumstances Policy, which can be found in Section 6 of the Quality Manual.

This procedure does not apply to:

  • Research Students: please contact your Supervisor in the first instance and refer to the student appeals procedure.
  • Study Abroad Students: please contact your School Office in the first instance for details of how to submit extenuating circumstances.

How do I submit my claim?

If you believe that you have been subject to extenuating circumstances, you must make a claim no more than 7 calendar days** after the affected assessment. You will need to do the following:

  1. Assemble your supporting evidence;
  2. Access the guidance on completing the Extenuating Circumstances form;
  3. Access and complete the Extenuating Circumstances (EC) form through e:Vision  and upload your supporting documentation;
  4. Submit your e:Vision form and supporting evidence no later than 7 calendar days** after the affected assessment.

You may find it helpful to refer to the Extenuating Circumstances procedure flowchart for a simple overview of the procedure.

Your Programme Handbook includes contact details of staff in your School who can provide further information about extenuating circumstances and accompanying documentation.

You must not delay submitting your Extenuating Circumstances form on the basis of not having supporting documentation by the deadline for its submission – this will not be considered a valid reason for a late submission. If you need to submit evidence after you submit your form, you will be able to note this on the form and suggest a date by which you hope to provide the evidence. Please note: any outstanding evidence must be either emailed to your Course Officer or submitted to your course office in person.  The electronic form will not allow you to submit any evidence after you submit the form.

* LPC/BPTC claims are managed in accordance with separate BPTC and LPC Assessment Regulations.

**21 calendar days for LPC/BPTC students.

Who will consider my claim?

Your extenuating circumstances claim will be looked at by a panel approved by your School Board of Studies (or Validated Institution Course Board). The Panel will be made up of three people; it will be chaired by an experienced, senior academic and may include one senior member of professional services staff.

The Panel will look at whether your form is complete, whether you meet the criteria, and if your evidence supporting your case is strong enough.

If your application for Extenuating Circumstances is accepted the Panel will make a recommendation to the Assessment Board. You will be notified of the recommendations the Extenuating Circumstances Panel make and of the decision of the Assessment Board when it meets.

What is the most likely result of submitting an Extenuating Circumstances claim?

The most usual outcome, if your application is accepted, is that you will be offered an additional opportunity to take the assessment/s. It is your decision whether you choose to take this opportunity.

I have missed the deadline for submitting an Extenuating Circumstances form. What do I do?

If you miss the deadline for reasons which were unforeseen and outside your control then you may be able to submit an Appeal asking that your late Extenuating Circumstances form be approved for submission to the Extenuating Circumstances Panel. Saying that you did not know about the deadline, or indicating that you didn't think your performance would be affected at the time of the assessment will not be accepted as grounds for an appeal.

Please see the Student Appeals section of these pages or the relevant section of your Programme Handbook for information about submitting an appeal on the grounds of late extenuating circumstances.

Student appeals

Occasionally things might go wrong or you will experience circumstances outside your control which impact on your academic assessment, award or progression. City has a number of support mechanisms in place to ensure these are dealt with as quickly as possible and you should make use of these at the earliest possible opportunity (see the Student Centre website for more information). The appeals process is intended for the very rare cases where no resolution or remedy was possible at an earlier stage (i.e. prior to the Assessment Board approving the results of taught students or a decision being made regarding the registration status or examination results of research students).

Student Appeals are conducted in accordance with the Senate Regulations 20, 20b and 21: Student Appeals as well as the Student Appeals Policy, which can be found in Section 6 of the Quality Manual. LPC/BPTC students in the City Law School have their own appeals regulations/procedures.  LPC and BPTC students should refer to their Programme Handbook for the relevant procedures.

You can get a quick overview of the appeals procedure by referring to the appeals flow charts for taught programmes and research programmes

Before you appeal

Before considering an appeal make sure that you have sought advice and guidance about your concerns. It may be that there are quick steps that can be taken to resolve your problem or that the appeals process is not the best way forward. For example, if you are worried that there is an error in the calculation of your marks you can request a marks check and, if there is an error, this can be remedied without the need for an appeal. Check in your Programme Handbook for the correct source of advice and guidance in your School/ Validated Institution. Your Programme Director, Personal Tutor and Programme Administrator will be able to advise you and the Union Advice Service is an excellent source of independent guidance and support about problems in general, as well as about appeals. City's Student Centre also offers a range of help and support services to all students.

The stages

Different stages in the appeals process at City are managed and conducted by different people. Stage 1 is consideration of the appeal at School/Validated Institution-level and Stage 2 is a University-level review of the Stage 1 decision, or for cases where new information has come to light which could not have been submitted at the time of the original appeal.

Both stages include an initial scrutiny to enable a quicker process where appropriate. Referral to a panel hearing is normally reserved for cases which cannot be decided during the initial scrutiny*.

*There is no initial scrutiny stage for LPC/BPTC Stage 1 Appeals.

How to appeal

You must submit your Stage 1 appeal within 28 calendar days (2 months for BPTC/LPC students) of the notification of your results (for taught students) or the decision regarding your registration status or examination results (for research students). Give yourself plenty of time to read and complete the form.

Choose the form that applies to you below and follow the guidance given in the form.

If you are unable to obtain supporting documentation by the deadline, you are still able to submit your Appeal form without this evidence. You must not delay submitting your Appeal form on the basis of not having supporting documentation by the deadline for submission – this will not be considered a valid reason for a late submission of an Appeal form.  If you need to submit evidence after you submit your form, you will be able to note this on your Appeal form and suggest a date by which you hope to provide the evidence.  Please note: any outstanding evidence must be either emailed to your Course Officer or submitted to your course office in person.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your School/ Validated Institution-level appeal you can submit a Stage 2 Review.  A request for a Stage 2 Review must be submitted within 21 days of the date that the Stage 1 appeal decision is issued.

You must not delay submitting your Stage 2 Review form on the basis of not having supporting documentation by the deadline for its submission – this will not be considered a valid reason for a late submission. If you need to submit evidence after you submit your form, you will be able to note this on the form and suggest a date by which you hope to provide the evidence. Please note: any outstanding evidence must be emailed to ace@city.ac.uk

Once City's internal procedures have been concluded, if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your Stage 2 Review, you have the option to apply to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education for an external review of City’s decision. Information and eligibility rules are available at: www.oiahe.org.uk

Case Studies and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The case studies and appeals FAQs have been prepared to assist you in understanding the appeals process and avoiding commonly made mistakes which can delay the process or mean that your submission is not accepted.

Student complaints

We want you to have a good experience here. If you encounter problems, we encourage all parties to try to resolve these as soon as they arise. We are committed to learning from complaints, and to identifying enhancements to the overall student experience wherever possible.

In most cases, we expect and aim to resolve problems at an early opportunity and in the simplest way. Our process includes an early resolution stage, a local-level resolution stage and an institution Level Review stage. You may find it helpful to refer to the Student Complaints flowchart for an overview of the process.

Student Complaints are handled in accordance with Senate Regulation 26: Student Complaints and our Student Complaints Policy, which can both be found in Section 4 of the Quality Manual.Please see the Student Appeals section of these pages for issues relating to assessment, progression or award.

A set of Frequently Asked Questions have been prepared to assist students considering making a complaint.

Early Resolution

In most cases, we expect and aim to resolve problems at an early opportunity and in the simplest way. The process we use is described in our Student Complaints Regulation as Early Resolution (Stage 1).

At this stage you may find it helpful to consult with the City Students’ Union Advice Service who are able to provide free, confidential advice to students concerning academic issues.  Their aim is to help resolve any problems at the earliest possible stage so as to reduce any further impact on your studies.

Although this stage is informal we would recommend that you keep your own record of the key events, times, and people involved, both in relation to your complaint and, the steps taken to try and resolve it.

You should register your complaint within 28 days of the event which has given rise to it (or, if it relates to a series of events, within 28 days of the last event in the series).

Local-level resolution; submitting a Complaints Form

If it has not been possible to reach an acceptable resolution at Stage 1, it is possible to begin a more formal process. This allows for further and more structured investigation, and is described under Stage 2 of the Student Complaints Regulation.

In order for a complaint to be considered at Stage 2, we ask that you use the Student Complaints Form (SCF) . The purpose of the form is to help focus on the key areas of the complaint and on what you would like to happen. It also gives us a clear, formal record of the complaint.

You should submit your form within 21 calendar days of the Stage 1 written response.

Requesting a review of your complaint

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the local-level resolution, you can request a Stage 3 University-level review of the complaint. See the form on available.

You must make the Stage 3 request for review within 21 days of the written outcome of the Stage 2 complaint investigation.  You should send your completed form and any supporting evidence to: ace@city.ac.uk.

Once City's internal procedures have been concluded, if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your Stage 3 complaint you have the option to apply to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education for an external review of City’s decision. Information and eligibility rules are available at: www.oiahe.org.uk

Fitness to study

We are committed to protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of all our students, staff and community.

Occasionally, concerns are raised about whether a student’s wellbeing and/or behaviour (which may be related to ill-health, disability or other reasons) is impacting on their engagement with their studies or indicates that they pose a significant risk to themselves or other students and staff. The Fitness to Study process allows us to proactively manage and support these concerns.

In most cases, we expect and aim to resolve concerns at an early opportunity, and in the simplest way, through a preliminary investigation or Student Support Review. If this is not sufficient the matter will be referred to a Fitness to Study Panel for consideration.

You can find an overview of the process in the Fitness to Study Guidance document.

Concerns about Fitness to Study are handled in accordance with Senate Regulation 10: Fitness to Study and our Fitness to Study Policy, which can both be found in Section 4 of the Quality Manual .