Extenuating Circumstances

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Extenuating circumstances (ECs) are events that affect your ability to study or your performance in an assessment and are usually either unforeseen or unpreventable and outside your immediate control.

Here are some examples:

  • Sudden illness, such as appendicitis or food poisoning

  • A flare up of a chronic condition

  • A mental health difficulty

  • Bereavement

  • Responsibilities such as caring for someone close to you

If your studies have been affected you can make an EC Claim to ask for an extension or another attempt.  

Minor ailments such as colds and normal levels of exam stress or anxiety are not generally considered to be extenuating circumstances. Your circumstances will be taken more seriously if you can show that they were significant, unexpected, unavoidable and happened around the time of the assessment.

Extenuating Circumstances (ECs) is the university’s procedure which enables you to ask for more time to submit or a new attempt at an assessment when you have temporary, unexpected circumstances which affect your studies.

Extenuating Circumstances are usually issues such as illness (both physical and mental), bereavement, urgent caring responsibilities, or being a victim of crime. Your circumstance may not be listed but the key point is that your circumstances are temporary and unexpected.

If your circumstances are short-term and have affected your ability to complete an assessment, it’s likely they are extenuating. We suggest applying for extenuating circumstances as soon as possible. If you’re unsure, log an enquiry to talk to our Advice Team.

If your circumstances are longer term and affecting your studies you may benefit from the help of the Disability Support or Mental Health and Wellbeing team. It is unlikely that you will be able to claim ECs for the same reason on an ongoing basis. You might need to even take a break from your studies. If you need advice on suspending your studies, talk to our Advice Team.

While there is no limit on how many assessments you can apply for, any deferred assessments could be become due in a short space of time, for example, in the summer resit period. So, think carefully about the impact this will have and whether it would be better to attempt at least some of the assessments.

If your assessments are delayed until the summer resit period or beyond, this can also have an impact on your progression/completing your degree on time. You may want to speak to a tutor for advice on the impact before you claim.

You should apply for extenuating circumstances as soon as you are aware you need them. This is likely to be just before or after your assessment date. For your claim to be on time, you need to complete the form within 5 working days of your assessment deadline. Your evidence can follow later.

Claims made outside of the 5 working day deadline are considered late, and you will need a good reason for your late claim, and evidence to confirm your reason for lateness, such as an ongoing illness that prevented you from being well enough to claim on time. It is worth speaking to our Advice Team if your claim is late so we can advise. The university does not accept waiting for your results as a reason to claim late.

ECs claims are made on the mySRS portal. Log in and find Extenuating Circumstances under the ‘Support’ tab at the top. Click for guidance on how to use the claim form, found on iCity. If you’re struggling with the form, our Advice Team can help you or check our helpful guide below


How much detail do I need to give?

We suggest writing several sentences that are brief but factual without losing any key information. Ideally, you need to cover:

• what the circumstances are

• when the circumstances occurred (this may be an exact date or a period of time)

• how they affected your ability to study for the assessment(s) you are claiming for

You don’t need to go into great detail about the history of your circumstances. More important is what is happening now or recently that has affected your ability to study.

Which attempt do I choose?

You will be asked which module(s) and assessment(s) you want to apply for. If you’ve already had several attempts at an assessment, you need to choose the assessment attempt that was affected by your circumstances. This will usually be your most recent attempt. However, there are instances in which you can also ask for other older attempts to be to be considered. If unsure, talk to our Advice Team.

What can I claim for?

Here’s an explanation of the options:

Extension - provides you with an extra 10 working days to submit an assignment. You can’t get an extension for a resit or for an exam.

Review of Performance - that attempt is not considered a fail and you do it at the next opportunity, e.g. during the summer.

Another way review of performance can be used is if you think your studies have been affected but you’re not sure how much so you still want to attempt the assessment. If the claim is successful and you subsequently pass, your overall performance for the year will be looked at, and that piece of work compared to it. If the grade for that work falls 2% or more below your yearly average, you will be awarded another optional attempt. You can then choose to take that attempt again or stick with your pass grade.

Disability related repeats and remarks – you should choose this option if you’ve recently had a Disability Support Summary (DSS) put in place and want to ask for an earlier attempt(s) you did without support to be ignored or remarked. If considering this option, it is best to talk to our Advice Team.

What evidence do I need to provide?

It is important that you provide evidence to back up your claim for ECs. On Page 7 of the University’s Procedure there is a list of what types of evidence the university will/will not accept. Claims without evidence are highly likely to be rejected.

Your evidence needs to contain a few key points:

1. Evidence must cover the date of assessment. You need to show that the reasons you’re claiming are affecting you at the time of assessment.

2. Evidence needs to say how your circumstances are affected you i.e., how they prevented you from studying.

3. If you’re claiming late, your evidence needs to show that you could not reasonably make the claim any earlier than you have. For example, was your illness so bad that it prevented you from engaging with university procedures until now?

If you are struggling to obtain evidence to back up your claims, please speak to the Advice Team so we can explore if there are any alternatives.

When will I receive a decision?

Check your university email for an automated email which details whether your claim was successful or unsuccessful, and any comments on the claim. The university aims to reply to all claims within 5 working days of a completed form, with evidence. Sometimes there can be delays in response time; the university will let you know through your student inbox with any updates to your claim.

If response time is delayed to the point your deadlines are approaching, you need to choose to either submit to the original deadline or, if asking for an extension, take a risk and submit to the extended deadline in the hope that it is successful. If not accepted, you will receive a late penalty if you submit within 5 working days of the original deadline. Beyond 5 working days it will be considered a fail.

If your claim was successful, Student Governance will inform your School Office that you have ECs, and your tutors should be able to advise you on your new deadlines or assessment dates.

Can I appeal?

If your claim was unsuccessful, you can raise a query against the decision and provide further evidence within 10 working days of the decision being made. You should speak to the Advice Team about raising a query against the decision. There should be a reason why your claim was rejected, and there may be steps you can take which can change the decision in your favour. If not happy with the query decision, you can also make a formal academic appeal within 10 working days.


Watch our 12 minute guide on Extenuating Circumstances


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