Extenuating Circumstances

If you experience circumstances that could affect your ability to perform in assessments you may be able to apply for Extenuating Circumstances.

We recognise that many students are facing disruption as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This may be because students themselves, or people close to them, are unwell or are in a high-risk group, or because they have needed to take time out to travel home, or have additional caring or work responsibilities. If you have Covid-19 symptoms, or you are unable to submit an assessment on time due to disruption caused by coronavirus, you can self-certificate. These claims will not require supporting evidence.

You can request: 

  • an extension to an assessment, for a maximum of 14 calendar days, over and above any cohort extension agreed by the Head of School (or nominee) 
  • a deferral 

Please note,  a decision on whether any deferral is until the next assessment window, or until the next academic year depends on the type of assessment and will be determined by the faculty. The format of the deferred assessment may remain the same as the online alternative, or may revert to the planned examination; however, we are unable to confirm this at the current time. 

This self-certification will not count towards a student’s one permissible self-certification claim under our procedures. So, if you have  already submitted one self-certification claim during this academic year, you  are still able to self-certify for anything that is related to Covid-19. There is no limit to the number of times you  can self-certify for Covid-19-related issues. 

Individual extenuating circumstances claims that are unrelated to Covid-19 can still be submitted.

The University’s definition is that they are “Exceptional circumstances which are outside of the control of the student and which have prevented, or will prevent them from performing in assessment at the level expected or required of them.” So if you are unable to submit coursework by the deadline or sit an exam or in-class test because of exceptional circumstances that you could not have prevented you should submit a claim.

A successful claim may result in being given an extension (maximum of 20 working days) or being granted Non-Submission a term used that means that you would be allowed to retake an assessment at the next available opportunity. This could be in the re-sit period or at a time agreed by your module tutor.

The University’s Extenuating Circumstances Regulations can be found here.

Claims should be submitted as soon as you are aware of the circumstances and no later than 5 working days after the original date of assessment. If your claim is late, you must complete the Late Claim section on the Extenuating Circumstances Form and provide evidence that supports your explanation of why the claim is late. Self-certification cannot be used as evidence for a late claim.

Claims must be made using the Extenuating Circumstances Claim Form. You can request one in Advice Zone Online. This applies to all students studying at the University, at the University’s partner institutions, students studying University of South Wales courses through distance delivery and students studying on work placements or engaged in work-based learning.

You will receive Guidance Notes with your Extenuating Circumstances Claim Form. Please read them and make sure that you complete all of the sections that are relevant to you.

When describing your circumstances, it is important that you clearly explain the effect of the situation or illness on your ability to study and complete your work or attend an exam.

The main principle of the University’s Extenuating Circumstances regulations is to provide equality for all students in relation to the assessments that they are required to undertake as part of their course.

In order to ensure fairness, all students must submit independent evidence of their exceptional circumstances with their claim. The only exception to this is for a short period of illness where it would be difficult to obtain evidence. In this situation, students are allowed to self-certificate for a period of 7 calendar days. Self-certification is allowed only once in each academic year.In order to comply with the General Data Protection Act any evidence that you provide to support your claim that relates to a Third Party must be accompanied by a signed Third Party Consent Form, unless the Third Party is under the age of 16 and is your child or a child for whom you are the legal guardian or carer. Third Party Consent Forms can be requested from Advice Zone Online.

Advice Zone Online has answers to a number of Frequently Asked Questions on Extenuating Circumstances. Visit Advice Zone Online to read them or to submit a question if you do not find the answer that you need.

If you would prefer to speak to someone in person you can phone the Advice Zone on 01443 482540. An Advice Zone Assistant will be able to discuss how to complete a claim and provide guidance on eligibility and on what grounds you may apply. They are not however able to give an opinion on the strength of your claim.

If you need additional support with completing your claim the Students’ Union may be able to help.

You will receive notification of the outcome of your claim and advice on what to do next via Advice Zone Online. If your claim is considered straightforward you should receive an outcome within 5 working days of the date you submitted the completed form and evidence to your campus Advice Zone. Complex claims are referred to an Extenuating Circumstances Panel. The Panel meets once a fortnight. You should receive an outcome within 5 working days of the panel’s decision.

If you have requested an extension, you should continue with your work and not wait for the outcome as any extension granted will be from the original submission date, not the date that you receive the outcome.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your claim you can make a Request for Review of the decision. Requests must be made within 10 working days of notification of the outcome and can be made on one of two grounds. The first being that there was a procedural error that you feel has disadvantaged you. The second is that you are now able to provide new evidence that was not available or known about at the time of your original claim.

The Request for Review Form is available from Advice Zone Online or on the Extenuating Circumstances Regulations page.