What are Extenuating Circumstances?

You are here: Home >

What are Extenuating Circumstances?

These can be difficult to define as everyone reacts differently to the circumstances that affect them.  In general terms, the Extenuating Circumstances procedure is intended to support you if you experience exceptional, unforeseeable, short-term circumstances which affect your ability to study or take assessments.  The procedures should be reserved for circumstances with a genuine, significant and demonstrable negative impact.  There are some guiding principles as to what the University considers to be extenuating circumstances:

They have to be out of your control; you could not have prevented them.

So, if you decide to take on part-time work and you take on extra shifts and then miss a submission deadline, you won’t have grounds for a claim.  Day-to-day social commitments and ensuring you leave a reasonable contingency time in any travel arrangements made are all within your control and also can’t be considered.

They must have had a significant impact; they must have had a clearly negative impact on your ability to study or to undertake an assessment.

Extenuating circumstances should be exceptional.  In the main, you’re expected to manage your health and minor illnesses or disruptions alongside your studies.  Claims should be reserved for serious situations: significant illness, bereavements, being a victim of crime or the sudden significant illness of a close family member.  So, if you have several weeks or even months to complete a written assignment, you’ll be expected to work round short-term issues such as a cold or migraine.

The University would normally expect only a minority of students to need to make a claim during their time here. If you’re finding that you need to submit a claim every semester, then there may be further support needed and you should speak to your Personal Tutor or a Welfare Officer for advice.  It might even be appropriate to consider a Voluntary Interruption of Study.

Make sure you’re aware of the University’s Regulations on Attendance, especially if you think you are going to be unable to attend University for more than two weeks.

The timing of the circumstances must be relevant to the claimed impact.

When the University considers claims, it will always look to see that the timing of events appears to match any claim of impact.  So, if your house flooded in March and you had to move suddenly, you might be able to claim for an extension to a deadline at the end of March, but you’re unlikely to be able to use those same circumstances for examinations in May. 

Long-term illness and Disability

If you have a long-term illness or a disability, the University can support you with the management of those conditions.  These conditions don’t generally fall under the Extenuating Circumstances procedure as other measures, such as reasonable adjustments, may be more appropriate forms of support.  Please see the University Policy on Long Term Conditions or Disabilities affecting the Ability to Study and or Comply with Assessment Requirements.

Further information on Acceptable Circumstances can be found on the University’s web pages.