Quality Manual

Regulations governing attendance and engagement - UNUK

This page contains the University's regulations in relation to student attendance and engagement. Its contents are applicable to staff and students at the UK campus.

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Please note that students in the UK on a Student Route visa are also affected by the University's Policy on Immigration Sponsorship. Where academic policies and immigration policies seem to be contradictory, immigration policies will take precedence. For more information, please consult the following:

Immigration sponsorship 


Includes: student responsibilities; link to the Policy on circumstances affecting students ability to study and complete assessments; voluntary interruption of study; school responsibilities; withdrawal on health and safety grounds; guidance for research students

1.1   Students are responsible for organising their residential and other arrangements to facilitate attendance and engagement as required by their programme.

1.2   The University monitors the engagement and attendance of its students and where required to will report non-engagement and/or non-attendance to the appropriate bodies.

1.3   Students must attend all teaching activities necessary for their studies, undertake all associated assessments and attend meetings and other activities as required by their school or the University. The Policy on Circumstances Affecting Students' Ability to Study and Complete Assessments details the processes that students and schools should follow where a student’s ability to study or take assessments is in any way affected, including if the student wishes the University to consider an Extenuating Circumstance. . Where students wish to interrupt their study, they should follow the University's procedure on voluntary interruption of study. Retrospective interruption of study is not permitted. For more information, please consult the following:

Policy on circumstances affecting students ability to study and complete assessments

Voluntary interruption of study

1.4   It is the responsibility of the school to ensure by suitable means (normally the course handbook and/or Moodle) that students are aware of these requirements. 

1.5   Schools will use the Student Engagement Dashboard and the official University attendance capture system in order to follow this procedure, as outlined on the Student Engagement Dashboard webpage. These guidelines are in place to support student wellbeing, engagement being a key indicator. For more information, please consult the following:

Student Engagement Dashboard

 1.6   The Student Engagement and Attendance Operating Guidelines are a tool to support student wellbeing (engagement being a key indicator), which supports retention and success, as well as enabling the University to meet UK Visa and Immigration sponsor requirements. The Student Engagement Dashboard identifies when student participation in learning has dropped or is at a level which may cause concern about their progress and wellbeing. The intention of this policy is to check whether students are engaging with the University and to provide a framework for managing non-engagement or poor engagement.  

1.7   Within each academic unit, Senior Tutors are the academic leads for the use of the dashboard within their programmes. The Senior Tutor may delegate access to others in the academic unit (e.g. personal tutors, department/division-level Senior Tutors, ESE managers), but retain overall oversight (with FAPVC’s as access approvers if the Senior Tutor is unavailable).  It is the responsibility of the Head of School to ensure that resource is appropriately allocated so that the academic unit can meet the University’s minimum requirements for use of the dashboard. This will include workload and access to appropriate training. 

1.8   In the case of all students where responsibility is shared between schools, the primary school should ensure that any partner schools are informed of issues and the partner schools should involve the primary school in any processes relating to this policy. 

1.9   The University has a policy regarding students required to withdraw temporarily or permanently on grounds of health and safety and it may be appropriate to manage non-engagement and/or non-attendance through that procedure rather than through these regulations. For more information, please consult the following:

Students required to withdraw on grounds of health and safety

1.10   Annual leave for research students should be in accordance with the relevant guidance and where students do not comply with this they may be managed under this policy.

Responsibilities of the student (PGR)


Management of poor and non-engagement

Includes: taught course students - non-engagement and/or non-attendance; research students - non-attendance at supervision; all students - total absence; non-engagement for apprentices

Taught course students: poor engagement

2.1.1   This procedure applies where a taught course student, is identified as not engaging with all activities necessary for their studies or is not submitting required assessments, formative or summative, but is attending some activities. This procedure equally applies to students studying remotely. Where students are attending no activities, the guidelines in the All students - total absence section (below) should be followed. For apprentices commencing study after August 2022, there are additional requirements for engagement and different processes outlined below.

2.1.2   Student non engagement is defined for academic purposes using a University baseline for intervention as two weeks of zero engagement without a sound documented reason e.g. placement, study trip, illness or other authorised absence.  Academic units may raise the threshold to e.g. one week, depending on local requirements. For apprentices the intervention baseline may vary dependent on how the programme is delivered through the academic year, but will be as a minimum monthly.

Where a taught student has notified current or intended absence

2.1.3   A student who knows that they will be absent from the University for a period of time should make this known to their School, Division or Department in order that appropriate discussions can take place.  

2.1.4   A student whose absence is unplanned should inform their School, Division or Department immediately that they are absent in order that appropriate discussions can take place. 

2.1.5   The School and student should discuss how long the likely absence will be and what effect this may have on the student’s ability to undertake their programme satisfactorily. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they catch up with missed work.  When the absence is with good cause, the School may where possible be flexible in responding to the needs of individual students. 

2.1.6   If the absence is for a period of more than two weeks or any period considered to be significant by the School and notified to students (normally in the Course Handbook), the School may require the student to suspend their studies and return at a specified time in the future that will enable the student to resume the programme appropriately. In making the decision the School should take into account all the circumstances of the individual, including health and safety aspects, and the requirements of the programme and may specify that on their return a student will be required to take alternative modules to those originally taken. Different timing cutoffs can apply to apprentices (see below).

2.1.7   At any point in this process, the School may seek advice and guidance from other Departments of the University (such as Student & Campus Life, Registry & Academic Affairs), including advice on personal matters that the student has given consent for them to discuss, and advice on referrals to University services. Advice is also available from the Students’ Union (or equivalent at UNM/UNNC). 

2.1.8   Where the School requires the student to suspend and the student does not wish to voluntarily interrupt their study then the recommendation to suspend should be forwarded by the School to Registry & Academic Affairs for consideration by the Quality and Standards Committee (QSC).  If the School’s recommendation is ratified, the student will be required to suspend.

Where a taught student has not notified absence

2.1.9   It is expected that the Engagement Dashboard will be regularly monitored.  If a student is identified as ‘not engaging’ and has not notified their absence, the process for contacting a disengaged student should be followed. Staff can contact the Student and Campus Life Wellbeing team for guidance. 

For more information, please email: ss-sup-engagement@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk Email

2.1.10   Where the student is not engaging at all, the procedure in the All students - total absence section (below) should be followed.


Research students: poor engagement

2.2.1   This section of the procedure applies where:  

  • The student is not attending or cancelling supervision meetings to the extent that, if continued, it is unlikely that the minimum number of supervision meetings will take place; or
  • The student is not engaging and/or not attending satisfactorily such other activities (for example, laboratory sessions) deemed by the supervisor to be requisite to the student's research studies; or
  • The student is deemed by the supervisor not to be engaging appropriately with their research. 

2.2.2   If a student is identified as ‘not engaging’ and has not notified their absence, the process for contacting a disengaged student should be followed. Staff can contact the Student and Campus Life Wellbeing team for guidance. 

For more information, please email: ss-sup-engagement@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk Email

2.2.3   Where the student is not engaging at all, the procedure in the All students - total absence section (below) should be followed.

All students - total absence

2.3.1   If data in the Student Engagement Dashboard indicates that a student is not attending any modules, supervision or other required activities and the School has confirmed that the student is not engaging and student provides no explanation for this non-attendance when invited to do so and does not engage with the process for contacting a disengaged student, the matter should be reported to Registry and Academic Affairs. Registry and Academic Affairs will write to the student stating that they will be deemed to have withdrawn from the University unless a reply to the contrary is received within 10 working days from the date of the letter.. If a student is deemed to have withdrawn their registration as a student will be discontinued in accordance with the Regulations Governing Registration.

For more information about these regulations, please consult the following page:

Regulations governing registration

2.3.2   Where a student replies to the Assumed Withdrawal communication and provides an explanation for their absence, this will be considered by the School and any other relevant departments (such as the Visa and Immigration team and Student Account Services) who must determine whether the explanation provides good cause for the absence and whether a return to studies is viable. If the explanation offered does not establish good cause, the Assumed Withdrawal process will stand.    

2.3.3   If a student is identified in the Student Engagement Dashboard as having zero attendance and the School has no knowledge at all as to the student's whereabouts the School should contact the Student and Campus Life and the emergency contact protocol will be applied.

For more information about the emergency contact protocol, please consult the following:

Emergency contact protocol

Specific to apprenticeships: No evidence of active learning

2.4.1   This is applicable to all apprentices commencing study from August 2022.

2.4.2   Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funding rules require that active learning must take place at least every four weeks and evidence must be provided, otherwise break in learning must be enacted to stop funding to the University. The Professional and Work-based learning team routinely measure evidence of active learning and will notify an apprentice where a non-compliance is found, giving five working days to respond and provide evidence. 

For more information about ESFA funding rules, please consult the following:

Apprenticeship funding rules

2.4.3   If evidence is not received within those five working days, Registry and Academic Affairs will apply a suspension from studies.

2.4.4   Apprentices commencing study from August 2022 will have contractual obligations outlining this requirement, and any queries should be directed to the Professional and Work-based learning team. 

If you have any problems or queries relating to this page, please contact:

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This content was last modified on 30 October 2023

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