6.  Student Circumstances and Absence

During the Teaching Period

6.1 If a student is absent due to illness or other cause for up to and including seven consecutive days in the teaching period, they should inform their home school as soon as possible and complete an absence form (available from: www.bristol.ac.uk/students/services/forms/).

6.2 If a student is absent due to illness or other cause for more than seven consecutive days in the teaching period, they should inform their home school as soon as possible and may complete an extenuating circumstances form. Additional evidence for the absence may be required, e.g. if the absence is due to illness the student should also attend an appointment with a Medical Practitioner (e.g. a GP) (with the completed form) to obtain a medical certificate (‘sick-note’). Both the form and any documented evidence must then be submitted to the relevant school office.

In the submission of summative coursework in undergraduate programmes

6.3 Where a circumstance significantly affects the ability of a student to submit work by a deadline the student may present a request for an extension.

6.4 The form of the request and how it will be considered will depend on the nature of the coursework (i.e. how much the coursework mark contributes to the unit mark) and the period of time between when it is set and the deadline.

6.5 Students must otherwise submit work on time unless an extension has been agreed by the School. Schools will not accept late submission without penalty where no extension has been granted, unless exceptionally:

Coursework that is high-stake and set well in advance of the deadline

6.6 For coursework that is determined by a programme to be ‘high-stake’ (the coursework contributes more than 25% to the unit mark) and set well in advance of the deadline, a student may present a request for an extension using the designated University extensions request form. The request must be submitted to the school in which the unit resides before the coursework submission deadline.

6.7 Deadlines are set such that students, in planning their work, are expected to be able to work around or factor in the potential for short disruptions to their study. An extension will not normally be permitted, therefore, to account for ‘acute’ circumstances where ‘acute’ means a student unexpectedly experiences and is impacted by a circumstance or event of a short duration, unless it can be shown and evidenced that the acute circumstance has had a significant and disproportionate effect on the ability of the student to submit the coursework by the deadline.

6.8 Evidence of the circumstance must be provided, unless in exceptional cases. Students may refer to previously submitted evidence of chronic conditions or persistent circumstances where it is relevant to the reason for the extension request. Evidence need not be presented at the time of submission but must be provided within a specified timeframe; otherwise the submission will be treated as late. Evidence may take various forms; but must be independent and sufficiently detailed to support the narrative provided by the student. Where an illness has not or cannot be observed by a doctor, a medical note is not sufficient evidence of the impact of the circumstance.

6.9 Schools will consider the request and provide a response to the student, before the original submission date where that is practicable. Schools should have in place a role or team that is responsible for considering requests; this role will normally be undertaken by the school office, in consultation with academic members of staff.

6.10 Extensions of up to seven days may be granted to ensure that a student’s learning is not held up; however, where a circumstance has had a serious impact upon a student, then a longer extension of up to 21 days may be agreed.

6.11 Where a circumstance demands an extension beyond 21 days, consideration should be given to a suspension of studies or permitting the student to attempt the assessment without penalty at a later date.

Coursework that is not high-stake or set well in advance of the deadline

6.12 For coursework that is determined by a programme to not be ‘high-stake’ (the coursework contributes 25% or less to the unit mark) or is not set well in advance of the deadline, the process for reporting and considering circumstances that affect the submission of this coursework will be at the discretion of an individual school. Any such process should be made clear to the relevant students.

6.13 No evidence is required, but schools reserve the right to request evidence in exceptional cases or where multiple extensions are being or have been requested.

In the submission of summative coursework in taught postgraduate programmes

6.14 If an absence from the teaching period means a student is unable to submit a summative coursework assignment by the agreed deadline, the student should contact the relevant school and request an extension before the assignment deadline and may need to complete an extenuating circumstances form. Schools may ask for evidence of the reason for the absence in agreeing an extension. Students who are ill for a period of time during the teaching period, whether close to the deadline or not, must submit work on time unless an extension has been agreed by the School. Schools will not accept late submission without penalty where no extension has been granted.

Examinations

6.15 Students who are unable to attend a summative examination/s must inform the school of their non-attendance as soon as possible and before the start of the exam.

6.16 Where the absence is due to illness a student should either:

6.17 Where the absence is due to a reason other than illness, the student should complete the University’s extenuating circumstances form and submit it along with any appropriate evidence to the relevant school office.

6.18 Students who start but are unable to complete a summative examination due to illness must inform the examination invigilator before leaving the examination and, if they require medical attention, attending an appointment with a medical practitioner. A completed extenuating circumstances form, supported by evidence, must subsequently be submitted to the relevant school office.

6.19 For further information on the process for notifying the University of any Extenuating Circumstances during the examination period, see section 18.

6.20 Students should also ensure they meet any school or programme requirements concerning notification of absence.

6.21 The information provided in the forms will be held by the University and processed by staff in schools and Faculty Offices in order to keep a record of student absence. Schools will monitor the frequency of individual absence and may request that the student provides medical certification in multiple and sustained instances of self-certified illness. Information will be recorded and processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

6.22 The completed form should be submitted by the student to their school, as follows: