The extenuating circumstances panel will initially consider the documentation provided and determine whether it provides sufficient evidence of impact on the ability to study and take assessments and they will decide whether to approve or decline the claim.
The extenuating circumstances panel then makes specific recommendations to the relevant Board of Examiners based on the evidence before them. The recommendations available are listed below.
Claims should be considered in the first instance by the student’s home School/Department. The home School/Department has responsibility for determining if the claim is approved. If the claim is approved and relates to an assignment/examination owned by another School/Department, the appropriate recommendation should be reached in conjunction with the other School/Department.
3.1.1. Terms of reference of extenuating circumstances panels
An extenuating circumstances panel acts as a sub-Committee of relevant Board(s) of Examiners.
Each School/Department will appoint an extenuating circumstances panel for the consideration of claims. The Panel should assess the validity of claims and recommend appropriate outcomes.
In addition to the terms of reference outlined here, extenuating circumstances panels will take due account of any requirements from relevant professional or regulatory bodies which govern the registration of students entering a relevant profession.
Each extenuating circumstances panel for undergraduate and taught postgraduate claims shall comprise a minimum of 3 members of School/Departmental staff and shall be constituted as follows:
- A Chair: usually an Examinations Officer
- Senior Tutor(s), or nominee
- Other members may include:
- Directors of Programmes or nominees
- Module Conveners
- Co-opted members as deemed necessary by the Chair
Each extenuating circumstances panel for consideration of PGR claims shall comprise a minimum of 3 members of School/Research Group staff with appropriate PGR knowledge and experience, and shall be constituted as follows:
- A Chair with experience of PGR supervision and examination
- Either or both of the PGR Director/School postgraduate student advisor (SPSA)/Senior Tutor (when the Senior Tutor has PGR responsibilities)
- Other Co-opted members as deemed necessary by the Chair
All extenuating circumstances panels will be deemed to be quorate provided the Chair and at least 2 other members are present.
The panel may be supported by a note-taker who is not part of the panel.
Support and Wellbeing Officers should be in attendance to provide advice on student cases, where necessary, but are not part of the Panel. The Panel may also consult and/or take advice from other professional services.
The role of the Chair is to ensure that the Board carries out its responsibilities in a fair, transparent and impartial manner and in accordance with relevant University and programme regulations and procedures. The Chair ensures that members have the opportunity to contribute to discussions and that business is conducted collegially.
For the consideration of claims for an extension to a submission deadline(s), the case should be reviewed by a single Panel member in order that the decision is made promptly. The decision should be made in conjunction with the relevant module convener (whether in the same School/Department or not). The recommendations made by Panel member should be reported at the next meeting of the full Panel.
Other time-critical decisions may be made by Chair’s action and reported to the next meeting of the full Panel.
Extenuating Circumstances Panels shall be responsible for scheduling their own regular meetings to be held at least once prior to each meeting of the relevant Boards of Examiners. Each extenuating circumstances panel may decide to schedule more regular meetings or arrange extraordinary meetings when necessary.
It is not necessary for extenuating circumstances panels to meet during exam periods – students need to decide whether or not they are fit to attend the exam. Extenuating circumstance claims relating to exams will be considered prior to the Exam Board. If an extenuating circumstances claim is upheld for an exam and the student is granted an additional equivalent sit attempt, the previous attempt will not be marked. The additional sit will not be optional.
Members of extenuating circumstances panels who are also the Personal Tutor or supervisor of a student making a claim should recuse themselves from making a decision in connection with that claim. They may, however, provide the student with a supporting statement to be included as evidence, if appropriate.
All extenuating circumstances panels are required to keep formal records of their proceedings. The purpose of the records is to document decisions, to summarise any discussion relevant to those decisions (where this is required to give a context or rationale for the decision, or to establish precedents), and to capture for further consideration any areas of discussion or requirements for future action. It is also necessary to record the circumstance for the decision in order that extenuating circumstances panels can determine if the student has used that circumstance previously.
3.1.2. The Board of Examiners for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students
Boards of Examiners shall consider recommendations from extenuating circumstances panels before making a final determination of the student's classification or progression decision arising from the result, subject to the provisions of the Regulations for Undergraduate, Taught Masters, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate certificate courses.
When a student has experienced circumstances affecting their ability to study/take assessments in their final year of study, a Board of Examiners may accept a recommendation from an extenuating circumstances panel and make a case to QSC to revisit performance in earlier years for the purposes of recommending a degree classification outside regulations. This recommendation should only be used in exceptional circumstances for cases where there is no prospect of the student undertaking first attempts within a reasonable period of time, for example, in the case of chronic or terminal illness of the student or the dependent of a student.
In all cases the Board of Examiners must be assured that overall programme learning outcomes have been met before implementing a recommendation by the extenuating circumstances panel.