Making an extenuating circumstances claim

Changes due to COVID-19

Important information: Due to COVID-19 we’ve introduced new assessment methods and streamlined our extenuating circumstances processes. Find out more on our dedicated webpage.

Our Exam Boards will be taking a holistic approach when making outcome decisions this year. We therefore ask that you do not submit extenuating circumstances for the general disruption caused by Coronavirus. However, if your circumstances present individual difficulties which have a negative impact upon your ability to perform, you should submit an extenuating circumstances claim to bring the circumstances to the attention of the Board of Examiners.

Claim procedure

The following guidelines and form are for extenuating circumstances requests for all undergraduate and postgraduate taught (Masters) students.

To make an extenuating circumstances claim:

  1. Read the Extenuating Circumstances Policy (.pdf)
  2. Check the deadlines
  3. Complete the extenuating circumstances form
  4. Seek advice from the Student Service Hub or SU Advice if necessary

Declaring your extenuating circumstances and what you need to include

Declaring your extenuating circumstance

It is your responsibility to declare your extenuating circumstances. You can do this by completing an extenuating circumstances form which will be considered by an Extenuating Circumstances Committee who will then make recommendations to the Board of Examiners regarding the effect your circumstances have had on your performance (including non-submission of coursework).

Although you may have previously discussed your difficulties with staff in your department, this does not in itself constitute the submission of extenuating circumstances. You must formally submit an extenuating circumstances form to be considered; informal notifications will not be considered. You need to complete an extenuating circumstances form by the published deadline. We cannot guarantee that forms submitted after this date will be considered.

It is essential to formally declare any extenuating circumstances before the relevant deadline because you cannot subsequently appeal against any decision of the Board of Examiners on the grounds of extenuating circumstances if you could reasonably have been expected to declare them prior to the deadline. It is also your responsibility to explain fully the impact of extenuating circumstances on your work. If you do not sufficiently explain their impact then you cannot subsequently appeal and ask for additional information to be considered.

Information you need to include

Submitting a Notification of Exam Absence

You should include information on the online examination you have been unable to complete and why you were unable to complete this. Please note ALL reasons are VALID reasons. Any assessment you have submitted a Notification of Exam Absence form for you do not need to submit an extenuating circumstances claim form.

Submitting an Extenuating Circumstances Form

You should include on the form details of specific coursework or exams affected by your extenuating circumstances. Make sure you explain the impact these circumstances had on your performance. It is not the role of the Board of Examiners or Extenuating Circumstances Committees to try to work this out or to seek further information on your behalf. Make your submission clear and concise.

Remember that Extenuating Circumstances Committees and Boards of Examiners are trying to determine whether the circumstances are likely to have significantly affected your academic performance.

Deadlines and forms

Form

The extenuating circumstances form is for all undergraduate, taught postgraduate and pre-sessional students:

Deadlines

You need to apply by the published deadline below. We cannot guarantee that forms submitted after this date will be considered.

It is essential to formally declare any extenuating circumstances before it meets because you cannot subsequently appeal against any decision of the Board of Examiners on the grounds of extenuating circumstances if you could reasonably have been expected to declare them prior to the deadline.

Undergraduate students

Please ensure that you submit your claim before the relevant deadline shown below, so that your claim can be considered. It is important that you press submit on your claim.

If you are submitting your claim after the deadline – please contact your department to see whether it is too late to be considered.

Exam period  Deadline
Main summer exam period Monday 14 June 2021, 12pm

January exams (non-reassessment):

This only applies to the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering and the Department of Psychology. Students taking exams in other departments can submit forms up to the date of the main summer exam period deadline.

Monday 18 January 2021, 12pm
January reassessment, coursework and exams  Monday 18 January 2021, 12pm 
September reassessment period TBC

Literature, Film and Theatre Studies students

Exam period Deadline 

Main summer exam period for the following modules only:

Year 1: LT122-FY, LT131-FY, LT134-FY, LT135-FY, LT161-SP, TH144-SU.

Year 2: LT209-PS, LT226-SU, LT227-PS, LT230-SU, LT231-FY, LT232-FY, LT238-SU, LT240-FY, LT241-FY, LT258-SP, TH205-PS.

Year 3: LT312-FY, LT314-SP, TH206-PS, TH831-FY, TH836-FY.

This later deadline is due to the late teaching and coursework deadlines in these modules.

Monday 28 June 2021, 12pm 

Incoming Study Abroad students

 Exam period Deadline 

Autumn only incoming students

All other Study Abroad students follow the main undergraduate students' deadline above.

Monday 18 January 2021, 12pm

East 15 (Loughton and Southend) students

Exam period Deadline
 Summer period
  • Final year undergraduates: TBC
  • Postgraduate year two courses: TBC
  • CERT HE students: TBC
  • Year One and Year Two undergraduates: TBC
  • Postgraduate year 1 students: TBC
 September reassessment period
  • Undergraduate Students: TBC
  • Postgraduate students: TBC

Edge Hotel School

  • October 2019 entry, accelerated courses Level 5 students: 4 January 2021
  • October 2019 entry, accelerated courses Level 6 students: 27 August 2021
  • October 2019 entry, 3/4 year courses Level 5 students: 14 June 2021
  • October 2020 entry, 3/4 year courses Level 4 students: 28 June 2021
  • October 2020 entry, accelerated courses Level 4 students: 17 May 2021

Reassessment: within seven days of the published assignment submission deadline.

Health and Social Care

Deadlines for the submission of extenuating circumstances forms have been set based on the date of the Board of Examiners meeting for each course/CPD module.

Please check the ‘Board of Examiners Dates & EC Deadlines’ document on the Health and Social Care Information for Current Students Moodle page for your courses’ extenuating circumstances deadline.

Postgraduate taught and research students

Postgraduate taught

Main summer assessment period (for Interim Exam Board) and dissertation submissions and September reassessment period (for Final Exam Board):

  • Deadline: Check with your department
Postgraduate research

Postgraduate Research students should follow the extenuating circumstances procedures for postgraduate research students. If you are enrolled on the first year of an Integrated PhD course, you should follow the procedure for taught Masters. If you are registered on a Professional Doctorate course and your extenuating circumstances impacted a taught module, you should also follow the taught Masters procedure.

Evidence

We understand that you may not be able to provide evidence to support your claim and so do not require this. If you do have evidence you would like to submit this can be done via the online form.

Documentary evidence you need to provide

We understand that you may not be able to obtain evidence to support your claim, and so we will not require it. You can self-certify. If you have evidence available which you would like to submit this can be done via the form, but there is no requirement for you to do this.

We ask that you do not upload supporting evidence which includes images that staff reviewing your claim may find distressing. We would normally only need to receive documentary evidence to support a claim. You can always write that further evidence is available if we wish to request it.

Additional information 

There is additional information that you need to consider:

False claims

You should note that submitting a false claim or false documentation is a serious matter and would be regarded as an attempt to gain unfair advantage. This would be a breach of student conduct and would be dealt with under the Code of Student Conduct. The University reserves the right to check on the validity of the document(s) you submit by contacting the third party directly.

Data Protection Act 2018

By submitting an extenuating circumstances form you are agreeing to the University holding this personal data for the purposes of processing your claim. The University will hold this data in accordance with its notification under the 2018 Data Protection Act.

Equality Act 2010 and information for disabled students

If you find that you are unable to submit an electronic copy of the Extenuating Circumstances Form, you can contact your department or Student Wellbeing to ask for the form to be emailed to you. The form should be submitted to your department.

If you have any queries about a claim which has been rejected, please email the Assessment Team at examboards@essex.ac.uk or your department to request further information. You can also discuss this feedback with staff in the Student Services Hub if you believe that your individual needs have not been understood or adequately taken into account.

If you are providing information about your disability on your extenuating circumstances form, please note that this does not count as disclosure to the University as these forms are intended for use only by the Board of Examiners. We strongly urge you to disclose any persistent medical condition, specific learning difficulty or disability to the Student Services Hub.

Professional suitability and fitness to practice

Important - information about you that may affect professional suitability:

The University is committed to a fair and confidential process for handling extenuating circumstances and recognises that this process may involve the disclosure and handling of sensitive personal information.

The University is committed to full compliance with its obligations related to professional suitability in order to uphold the highest standards of conduct among its students both during and beyond their period as a student at the University.

All University students are required to comply with the University’s Code of Student Conduct Regulations and other regulations of the University regarding conduct. Students enrolled on courses where a practical professional placement is required have additional responsibilities placed upon them regarding their professional suitability. Failure to meet these responsibilities can lead to the Breach of Professional Conduct, Fitness to Practise and Termination of Training Procedure being invoked. You will have been informed when you registered as a student if your degree scheme is subject to this Procedure

Breaches of professional standards by students may involve a range of actions or omissions but may include:

  • actions that are harmful to service users, other members of the public or service provides
  • actions that are likely to constitute an unacceptable risk to students or others
  • failure to disclose information about previous matters relating to professional suitability prior to enrolment on the course
  • contravention of the relevant professional code of conduct
  • actions that are prejudicial to the development or standing of professional practice

In addition, for students studying law, the University has an obligation to report relevant information related to professional suitability to the Law Society.

Any information that is provided on any extenuating circumstances form that raises issues of professional suitability, whether it has been disclosed by you and about you or by another student on another form but relates to you will be disclosed as necessary to the relevant internal or external authorities. Information will only ever be disclosed on a need to know basis to ensure the University is able to comply with its obligations related to professional suitability. These authorities may include the Professional Practice and Conduct Committee, your employer if your registration as a student relates to Continuing Professional Development or any relevant Professional or Regulatory Body.

What happens next

Extenuating circumstances will normally be considered by a pre-board or small designated group within each department; the Extenuating Circumstances Committee. 

Find out more about how your extenuating circumstances are evaluated.

Student Services Hub
Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub or SU Advice who will be happy to assist you.