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Exceptional Circumstances

Let your School know when your work is affected

We hope that during your time at Keele you will feel able to perform at your best in your assessments. However, sometimes unexpected things can happen that have an impact on your performance, ability to sit your exams or submit your assessments on time. When this happens, you can ask for an extension or a further assessment attempt through the Exceptional Circumstances form.

There have been more changes to ECs for the 2022/23 academic year, so if you're a returning student who has previously submitted ECs you will still need to read this page carefully.

You can find more information about ECs and details about the process in the University’s Exceptional Circumstances page. The University has also produced a video to guide you through how to make a claim online. *The information is now slightly out of date because of changes to extension requests but the video is still helpful in guiding you through the form*

 

 

Extensions//

Extensions are available to students on Undergraduate, Foundation Year, and Postgraduate Taught programmes (including apprenticeships), online courses, International College programmes, Keele programmes taught at international partner institutions, and those studying a taught module for a Doctoral Research programme.

If you are studying a course with additional requirements from a professional body, there may be different rules.

Postgraduate Research students who are affected by exceptional circumstances related to anything other than a taught module should refer to the PGR Code of Practice.

You can request an extension using the  Exceptional Circumstances form on eVision.

Just select the assessment from the list of current assessments, then choose the extension option; you can include multiple assessments in the same request.  Extensions are automatically granted so there is no need to write a statement or upload any evidence.

If your assessment isn't listed this may be because it's not eligible for an extension or you have missed the deadline - if you think there has been a mistake, contact your module leader or the School office.

You can only get an extension of 7 calendar days for a  15 credit module, or 14 calendar days for a 60 credit module.

You must submit your work by 1 pm on the day of your new deadline.

**When requesting an extension you must make sure you give the correct submission date - if you put the wrong date you will be given the wrong extension deadline and risk submitting the work late. The School will always go by what should have been the correct extension deadline; not what you were given after putting in the wrong date.**

You can submit an extension request up until the deadline for submitting your work.

Unfortunately it is not possible to get more than one extension per assessment, but if your work is still being affected you do have the option to submit an EC claim asking for another assessment opportunity - make sure you do this within 7 days of the original deadline.

If your circumstances are long-term you may want to consider taking a Leave of Absence (LOA). This could be for a few weeks or it could be for a longer time - you may decide to suspend your studies for the year and come back next year to repeat in full or in part . You can read more about LOAs on the University website.

There is also a Support to Study process to give you extra support and tailored deadlines. Information about Support to Study is on the University website and you can talk to your School and Student Services if you'd like to know more.

You can ask for extensions on up to 3 assessments each Semester.

If you've already had 3 extensions, remember you can still submit an EC form to ask for another assessment opportunity (see below).

This extension is available to you in addition to any other adjustments you have in place.

The extension is automatic, which means it does not need to be approved by anyone and your claim is unlikely to be read. If you  would like any support, you can tick a box on the form to ask for a Student Experience and Support Officer to contact you.  

 

 

Another Assessment Opportunity//

EC claims can be made by students on Undergraduate, Foundation Year, and Postgraduate Taught programmes (including apprenticeships), online courses, International College programmes, Keele programmes taught at international partner institutions, and those studying a taught module for a Doctoral Research programme.

If you are studying a course with additional requirements from a professional body, there may be different rules.

Postgraduate Research students who are affected by exceptional circumstances related to anything other than a taught module should refer to the PGR Code of Practice.

You can request another assessment opportunity using the  Exceptional Circumstances form on eVision. ASK can help you to complete the form if any part of it doesn’t make sense.

Select the assessment from the menu, then select the outcome for 'Another Assessment Opportunity'. You can include multiple assessments in the same request.  If your assessment isn't listed this may be because you have missed the deadline - if you think there has been a mistake, contact your module leader or the School office.

You must submit your request  within 7 calendar days of the original submission deadline. For example, if your assessment was due on 1 March, you can submit a request up to and including 8 March.

If you already have an extension, your deadline for submitting an EC claim will still be 7 days from the original submission deadline.

ECs are defined as circumstances outside of your control, which negatively affect your academic performance or prevent you from completing your assessment. In most cases these circumstances should be unforeseen or unexpected, but the University understands there are some exceptions.

The circumstances should have occurred close to the date of your assessment(s) or during a period when you were preparing for the assessment(s).

The following are some examples of exceptional circumstances:

  • Serious, short-term illness or injury.
  • Ongoing illness or disability that has worsened, including mental health conditions.
  • Symptoms of an infectious disease that could be harmful if passed to others.
  • Death or signifiant illness of a close relative or friend.
  • Unexpected caring responsibilities.
  • Significant domestic and/or personal problems that led to acute stress.
  • Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic incident.
  • A crime that had a substantial impact on you.
  • An accommodation crisis, such as eviction or an uninhabitable home.
  • An emergency or crisis that prevents you from doing your assessment.
  • A technical problem outside of your control, which prevented you from accessing an online assessment or teaching.
  • Safeguarding concerns.
  • Undertaking public duties, such as jury service or international sporting events.

Don’t worry if your circumstances don’t fit within the above examples, you can still submit a claim under the 'Other' category.

 

Are there any circumstances that would not be accepted?

The following circumstances would not usually be accepted:

  • Mistaking the date/time of an examination or coursework deadline
  • General pressure of academic work e.g. a number of assignments with similar deadlines, as you are expected to plan your work schedule.
  • Employment commitments (though there are some exceptions – seek advice).
  • Alarm failure on the morning of the examination
  • Holidays, house moves or other events that were planned or could be reasonably expected.
  • Minor transport disruption.
  • Computer, printer or other IT device failure where you should have backed up your work or left adequate time to access facilities.
  • Minor illnesses such as colds, unless symptoms are severe.
  • Minor life events, unless they had a disproportionate impact on you.

Your request will be considered by your School's Student Experience and Support Officer (SESO), who is a part of Student Services.  Your SESO is there to support you, so you can approach them if you're having problems or if you have any questions about your claim.

If you are struggling to write the statement  you can try using the headings below:

 

What are your exceptional circumstances?

Give details of what has happened. If you have multiple circumstances that have impacted on you then put them in separate paragraphs to keep it clear.

 

How have these circumstances prevented you from studying/revising/attending lectures?

Talk about how you felt and how you were personally affected by these circumstances, then give details of how this then affected your performance. Be specific, even if it seems obvious!  For example, if you have been ill you may have had no energy to study or you could not concentrate on studying. If you have had to return home because of a family emergency then state that you were not at Keele so could not attend the exam. Remember that your circumstances will be treated sensitively and will not be disclosed to staff not involved in the EC process.

It's really important that you include as much evidence as you can. The Code of Practice has information on the types of evidence that might be accepted, but in general it must be independent. Medical evidence , such as a fit note, doctor's letter or a counselling letter are ideal when you have been unwell. You can also submit professional documents and letters from third parties, provided they are sent on an official letterhead or from a business email address.

Please note, statements from family and friends will not be taken into consideration. You are also not allowed to submit medical information about another person if your claim is related to their illness - instead, you should give evidence of the impact this has had on you or of any practical support you've provided.

If your evidence is not in English, you will need to provide an authenticated translation.

Explain in your EC claim that you are in the process of gathering appropriate evidence and will be sending it soon. You can also contact your Student Experience and Support Officer to talk about this.

The deadline to send evidence is 14 calendar days after you submit the EC claim; you must send the evidence to your SESO. If you miss this deadline then your claim will likely be rejected unless you have a vaild reason for being unable to meet the deadline. If you manage to get evidence but it's too late, you could try appealing when results come out.

There is no limit on requests for another assessment opportunity. However, if you are submitting a lot of requests your SESO will likely advise you on other options to support you, such as  Support to Study or Leave of Absence.

It is really important that you submit an EC form at the time of the assessment - if you miss your opportunity then change you mind when results come out, you will need to appeal and provide a very good reason why you didn't submit ECs at the time. The majority of failed appeals are rejected because the appeals committee didn't accept the student's reason for failing to submit ECs.

There are a few possible outcomes:

  • Your request for a further assessment opportunity is granted. Note that if you're submitting ECs for your first attempt, you can get an uncapped resit.
  • The SESO decides you would benefit from another route, such as Support to Study or a Leave of Absence.
  • You are asked to provide more evidence.
  • Your request is rejected.

The University is not able to raise your mark or give you a pass when you haven't reached the pass mark or condonement threshold.

Depending on why your claim was rejected, you may be able to submit another EC with more information, evidence, or a clarification of what happened.

If the University won't change the decision, you may have grounds for an appeal but you cannot submit an appeal until you have your official results. Make sure to note the deadline on your results email as you will only have 10 days to appeal.

 

 

Other Support//

 

If your circumstances are long-term you may want to consider taking a Leave of Absence (LOA). This could be for a few weeks, in addition to any ECs claims, or it could be for a longer time - you may decide to suspend your studies for the year and come back next year, to repeat the year or Semester 2 (depending on when you went on LOA). You can read more about LOAs on the University website.

If you're continuing, the University may decide to put you on their Support to Study process to give you extra support and tailored deadlines. You can also request to be put on this process if you think it would help you complete your work. Information about Support to Study is on the University website and you can talk to your School and Student Services if you'd like to know more.

If you have a long-term disability or condition you may be able to get adjustments for your studies and assessments by speaking to Disability and Dyslexia Support. Students who have an adjustment that allows for flexible deadlines should not need to submit ECs; you can instead speak to your School's Student Experience and Support Officer or Disability Liaison Officer, who will consult with your module leader to arrange a suitable deadline.

The University has a free counselling service, which is still operating remotely. You can visit the Counselling webpage for information about their service, how to contact them, and for some great self-help resources.

In addition to all other University support services, Keele University is working with Health Assured to enable all students to access to a 24 hour confidential helpline and digital resources to help you through any of life’s issues or problems. This service is sometimes called a ‘Student Assistance Programme’.

You can also talk to your GP to discuss support, which could include accessing NHS mental health services or trying medication.

Our Mental Health page has links to a number of support services you can contact, including Samaritans.