Amendments to Regulations 2016-2017

AMENDMENTS TO STUDENT CASEWORK REGULATIONS FOR THE 2016-2017 ACADEMIC YEAR

Introduction

All amendments to these regulations have been made to improve the student experience and/or to take account of external guidance/sector best practice.

1. Academic Appeals

A major review of the Academic Appeals Regulations took place during the 2015/16 academic year in light of the publication of the OIA’s ‘Good Practice Framework for handling complaints and academic appeals’.

Grounds for appeal were amended to provide clarity to students. Faculty stage appeals will be considered either by a nominee within the faculty at head of school level or above who will not have been involved in the consideration of the student’s results or the extenuating circumstances panel, depending on the ground under which the appeal was submitted.

Amendments to the procedure for second stage appeal have been made including: changes to terminology, specifically from ‘appeal’ to ‘review’; amendments to the grounds under which students can request a review; the removal of the requirement for a formal hearing at which the student is present.

The following specific additions/amendments have also been made:

  • Clarification around which students the regulations apply to (section 1.1)
  • Clarification on where students can seek advice (section 2.1)
  • A section on group appeals (section 3.2)
  • A section on malicious and vexatious appeals (section 3.4)
  • A section on the potential implications of submitting an appeal on attendance at graduation (section 3.6)
  • A section on the status of students during appeal (section 3.7)
  • A section on possible actions (section 3.8)
  • A section on early resolution (section 7.1)
  • A section on monitoring (section 8)

2. Academic Misconduct

The wording of the regulations has been amended to make it clearer for students.

The following specific amendments have been made:

  • Clarification around which students the regulations apply to (sections 1.3 and 1.4)
  • Clarification on where students can seek support and advice (section 2.3)
  • Amendments to the wording of the definitions of academic misconduct (section 3)
  • Amendment to the General Principles section to acknowledge that students may inadvertently commit academic misconduct (section 4.1)
  • Introduction of a ‘Timescales’ section and amendment to timescales (section 4.2)
  • Amendment to the wording of the ‘Faculty level’ section so that it is in chronological order (section 4.3)
  • Amendment to the composition of the Academic Misconduct Committee to include a vice-chair (section 4.4.2)
  • Amendment to the composition of an academic misconduct panel to enable the vice-chair of the Academic Misconduct Committee to chair a panel meeting (section 4.4.3)
  • Amendment to the ‘Academic misconduct panel meeting’ section to ensure parity with faculty level meetings (section 4.4.6)
  • Clarification of the penalties available when considering academic misconduct by research students (sections 4.5.2 and 4.5.3)
  • Amendments to the procedure for appeal, including: changes to terminology, specifically from ‘appeal’ to ‘review’; changes to the grounds under which a student can request a review; the removal of the requirement for a formal hearing at which the student is present (section 5)
  • Inclusion of a section specifically related to international students who are sponsored by the University on a Tier 4 visa (section 6)

3. Extenuating Circumstances

The following amendments have been made:

  • Inclusion of ‘victim of serious crime’ within the list of what the University would regard as extenuating circumstances that could have affected performance (section 2.3)
  • Additions to the section on examples of issues the University will not accept as extenuating circumstances (section 2.4)
  • Clarification that sensitive personal, family or cultural reasons will not be accepted as good reason why a student did not submit a claim within the specified deadlines (section 2.6)
  • Amendment to the examples of exceptions to the deadline for claims (section 3.3)
  • Clarification that the decision of the Head of Student Casework (or nominee) overrides the original fit to sit declaration in relation to exceptional reasons for cases of poor performance (section 5.2)
  • Insertion of a section on the process for re-submission where a student submits an assessment pending the decision of an extenuating circumstances panel (section 5.3)
  • Clarification that the advice centre will not accept a claim without evidence (section 6.5)
  • Clarification that the chairs of the sift and extenuating circumstances panels, in signing the form, authorise the decision of the panels (sections 7.1 and 10.3)
  • Amendment to the timescale for review of claims from once a term to once a year (section 7.2)
  • Clarification that the award and progression board may ask the subject assessment board whether the module grade may be judged on the performance in other elements of assessment for cases of poor performance (section 9.6.1)
  • Amendment to the section on the implications of extenuating circumstances decisions on students with a Tier 4 visa and inclusion of a recommendation that students seek advice from the Immigration and International Student Advice team sections 9.8 and 9.9)
  • Amendment to the constitution of the extenuating circumstances panel (section 10.1)
  • Inclusion of a table providing an indication of the types of evidence students will be required to provide in order to support an extenuating circumstances claim or an appeal submitted under ground b) (appendix 1)

4. Fitness to Practise

A major review of the Fitness to Practise Regulations took place during the 2015/16 academic year.

The Faculty Advisory Committee and the Faculty Fitness to Practise Committee have been replaced by a Cause for Concern Panel that will consider potential issues with a student’s professional standards or conduct and alleged breaches of professional standards and conduct. The Cause for Concern Panel may put in place measures to support the student, for example through the implementation and monitoring of action plans and will refer all serious cases to a university-level committee.

Amendments to the procedure for appeal have been made including: changes to terminology, specifically from ‘appeal’ to ‘review’; the inclusion of grounds under which students can request a review; the removal of the requirement for a formal hearing at which the student is present.

The following additions have also been made:

  • Inclusion of definitions of professional misconduct and professional unsuitability and the addition of a section on health concerns (section 2)
  • Enhancement of the section on suspension/withdrawal for the purpose of investigation (section 4)
  • Clarification that where a fitness to practise issue is also a criminal offence the procedures under section 6 of the Student Conduct Regulations will be followed (section 5)
  • Clarification that decisions will be made on the balance of probabilities (section 7.1.4)
  • Inclusion of a section on advice and support for staff (section 10)
  • Additions to the list of courses covered by the Fitness to Practise Regulations (appendix 1)
  • Clarification under the ‘Procedure for reporting concerns regarding post-registration students’ that, where appropriate, the student’s employer should be informed (appendix 2)

5. Fitness to Study

The following amendments have been made:

  • Confirmation that the regulations apply to students studying at the University’s partner colleges (section 1.1)
  • Clarification of the process to be followed where a student is unable/unwilling to attend a case conference (section 8.3)
  • Inclusion of a revised section on the implications of the Fitness to Study Regulations for international students (section 9)

6. Student Complaints

The following amendments have been made:

  • A section on the consideration of complaints being pursued in an unreasonably persistent or vexatious manner (section 4.4)
  • Inclusion of a section confirming that students can complain about a decision made by the University in relation to adjustments on the grounds of disability and dyslexia, ie the Exceptional Case Process (section 5.5)
  • Additions to the reasons for extension of deadlines to include ‘unforeseen circumstances’ (section 8.5)
  • Amendment to the criteria for the appointment of investigating officers to include the opportunity for a member of staff with subject expertise to be appointed in certain circumstances (section 9.3.6)
  • Amendment to the student’s response time following provision of the outcome of the complaint to one month, in-line with guidance from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (sections 9.3.12, 9.4.3)
  • Amendment to the grounds under which a complaint may be considered at the review stage (section 9.4.4 a) and c))
  • Clarification on the circumstances in which a Completion of Procedures letter will be issued (sections 9.4.10, 9.4.11)

7. Student Conduct

The following amendments have been made:

  • Clarification that student conduct matters for courses leading to professional registration and/or a license to practise in a professional context will be dealt with under the University’s Fitness to Practise Regulations (section 1.3 and section 6)
  • Clarification that where a legal representative is permitted to attend any meeting/hearing they will be there as support for the student, not in any legal capacity (section 4.4.9)
  • Inclusion of a 5 working day deadline for representations on suspension to be made to the Vice-Chancellor (section 5.3)
  • Inclusion of a section advising students to seek advice and guidance from the Student Money Advice team regarding their financial circumstances and the implications of suspension (section 5.4)
  • Clarification that misconduct which is also a criminal offence may be dealt with under the Fitness to Practise Regulations (section 6.2)
  • Inclusion of information on suspension and expulsion with regard to students who are found guilty of a criminal act and receive a custodial sentence (section 6.3 d) and e))
  • Removal of the verbal formal warning penalty (section 8.1)
  • Amendments to the procedure for appeal, including: changes to terminology, specifically from ‘appeal’ to ‘review’; changes to the grounds under which a student can request a review; the removal of the requirement for a formal hearing at which the student is present (section 9)
  • Inclusion of a section on advice and support for staff (section 10)