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Mitigating Circumstances

Introduction

Mitigating (or Extenuating) Circumstances are unforeseen events or circumstances which have a significant negative impact on your ability to successfully complete, or study effectively in preparation for, summative assessment tasks.

If you want any such events or circumstances to be considered by the WMG PGT Board of Examiners you are required to communicate formally (normally in writing) about them.
Please note that while it is acknowledged that cultural attitudes to the disclosure of personal information may vary, students are expected to fully disclose all matters they wish to have taken into consideration by the Board of Examiners. If you are unsure whether something that has happened to you, or to someone close to you, is eligible to be considered as a Mitigating Circumstance, it is likely to be eligible if it was unforeseeable or beyond your control and if it also had a significant impact on your ability to prepare for or complete the assessment in question.

If you are in any doubt about whether something that has happened to you or someone close to you is eligible for consideration then you should consult your Personal Tutor, the WMG Senior Tutor (or Deputy Senior Tutor), the WMG MSc Programme Director, the WMG PGT Exam Board Secretary, Student Support or one of the advisers at the Students’ Union Advice Centre.
Even if the event or circumstance is not eligible for consideration in this way it may nevertheless be something for which you should seek support and the tables below indicate, in their final column, where to go to access that support.

Please refer to the two tables below for more detailed guidance on, and examples of, types of circumstance which are normally considered eligible (Table 1) and types which are not normally eligible (Table 2).

Submission of Mitigating Circumstances

If you think you do have an eligible Mitigating Circumstance you should complete and submit a Declaration Form (using the appropriate form on the RHS of this page) and submit it as soon as possible after the circumstance arises along with appropriate supporting documentation of the sort outlined in the ‘Supporting Documentation’ column of Table 1, below. The University recognises that it may be difficult to obtain supporting documentation in a timely fashion; however, you should still register the circumstance pending supply of supporting documentation.

Outcomes

Mitigating Circumstances can never result in the changing of marks for individual modules or assessments; however, what the Board might allow, if the circumstances are determined to have sufficient impact, is one or more of the following:

  • additional time to complete a course (where an extension was not possible),
  • waiving of late (or other) penalties
  • resubmission(s), possibly allowed as a first attempt (and hence not capped as is the normal convention)


Table 1: Circumstances normally eligible for consideration

Circumstance Examples Supporting Documentation Sources of support you can access
Serious illness or accident of the student (physical or mental health) Illness, accident or severe trauma at the time of an assessment, or during preparation for it earlier in the academic year. It should be a serious illness or an unanticipated deterioration in an ongoing illness or chronic medical condition. It can also be an assault of which the student is victim. Doctor’s note or letter confirming the illness or accident and attesting to its impact on the student.* If you are a victim of an assault, you should provide a crime number or Police report. • GP or hospital
• Personal Tutor
• Student Support
• SU Advice Centre
Death of someone close to the student Bereavement at assessment time or in preparation for it earlier in the academic year. ‘Someone close’ can mean parents or guardians, children, siblings, a spouse or partner. It may include friends, in-laws, grandparents and grandchildren, if it can be demonstrated that the relationship was close. Copy of the death certificate and evidence of closeness (e.g. statement from Personal Tutor, Student Support or counsellor*). • GP or hospital
• Personal Tutor
• Student Support
• University Counselling
Service
• SU Advice Centre
Serious illness or accident of someone close to the student (mental or physical health) Issue arising at assessment time or in preparation for it earlier in the academic year. ‘Someone close’ can mean parents or guardians, children, siblings, a spouse or partner. It may include friends, in-laws, grandparents and grandchildren if it can be demonstrated that the relationship was close. Doctor’s note or letter confirming the illness or accident* and statement by Personal Tutor or Student Support attesting to closeness and impact on the student. • GP or hospital
• Personal Tutor
• Student Support
• University Counselling
Service
• SU Advice Centre
Abrupt change in personal circumstances of the student or other serious unforeseen event Divorce; fire or burglary; the requirement to appear in Court at or near the time of the relevant assessment; acute accommodation issues; serious and unforeseeable transport disruptions (for example road closure due to fatal road traffic accident) Statement by Personal Tutor or Student Support and/or copies of relevant documentation (e.g. Court summons). • GP or hospital
• Personal Tutor
• Student Support
• University Counselling
Service
• SU Advice Centre
Significant change in employment circumstances beyond control of student affected For part-time students only (which may include students working through their resubmission period). Copy of letter from employer and statement attesting to impact on student by Personal Tutor or Student Support. • Personal Tutor
• Student Support
• SU Advice Centre
Diagnosis of Specific Learning Difference Only eligible when diagnosis is obtained too late for reasonable adjustments to be made by way of Special Exam Arrangements or in other ways. Copy of diagnosis letter and confirmation from Department that it was submitted too late for reasonable adjustments to be made in other ways. • Personal Tutor
• Student Support
• Disability Services
• SU Advice Centre
Deterioration of a permanent condition you have already told us about (physical or mental health) Where this permanent condition has already been adequately adjusted for through Special Exam arrangements or other reasonable adjustments only the deterioration counts as a Mitigating Circumstance Copy of letter from Disability Services, Student Support, GP or consultant or counsellor.* • Personal Tutor
• Student Support
• Disability Services
• SU Advice Centre
Bullying, harassment, victimisation or threatening behaviour Only eligible if student is victim or alleged victim. Report from Personal Tutor or Student Support Services.
Copies of emails or screenshots from social media platforms or other communications or police report.
• Personal Tutor
• SU Advice Centre
• Student Support
• campus police
* Where your Mitigating Circumstances relate to physical or mental health conditions or issues for which you have sought support you should provide documentation from a medical practitioner or a practitioner who is registered with an appropriate professional body such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the British Psychological Society, or an appropriately qualified Student Support professional. Medical practitioners in the UK should be members of a recognised professional body such as the General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Chiropractic Council, General Dental Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Health Professions Council or Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland. If you have sought medical attention abroad the certificator must be licensed to practise in the country in question. If the letter or note is in a language other than English you must provide both a copy of the original note and a certified translation into English. The University may seek to verify the accuracy of the translation provided.

Table 2: Circumstances not normally eligible for consideration

Circumstances Examples Sources of Support
A permanent condition which you have already told us about unless you can provide appropriate evidence that there has been a worsening of your condition during the assessment period (see Table 1). An ongoing mental or physical health condition, or Specific Learning Difference or disability. You should tell the University, (Disability Services) and your Personal Tutor about any disability, Specific Learning Difference, or ongoing mental or physical health condition as soon as possible in your University career so that appropriate adjustments can be made to support you. If in doubt speak to your Personal Tutor. • GP or hospital
• Personal Tutor
• Student Support
• Disability Services
• SU Advice Centre
Minor illnesses or ailments Aches and pains, colds, sore throats and coughs where these are not symptoms of a more serious medical condition. However, if you feel that your ailments are impacting on your ability to study you should seek medical attention and notify your Personal Tutor. • GP or hospital
• Personal Tutor
• Student Support
• SU Advice Centre
Examination stress and worry Exams and other University assessments are tests of your performance and inevitably involve a certain amount of stress. Having feelings of stress or worry at such times does not necessarily mean you are unwell or have an eligible Mitigating Circumstance. However, if you experience a more acute form of anxiety (a ‘panic attack’ or ‘anxiety attack’) it may be eligible and you should seek medical or professional attention, as well as notify your Personal Tutor. • GP or hospital
• Student Support
(Mental Health and
Wellbeing Team, in
particular Wellbeing
Drop-in)
• Student Careers and
Skills
• Personal Tutor
• University Library
• SU Advice Centre
Computer, printer or other IT failure Failure to keep adequate back-ups; computer ‘crash’. However, theft of computer equipment may be eligible if you have reported it to the police and can provide a crime number. • Personal Tutor
• IT Services
Pressure of academic workload Essay deadlines falling on the same day or in close proximity. However, this may be eligible as an aggravating factor if you also have a diagnosis of a relevant medical condition (see Table 1, above). • GP or hospital
• Personal Tutor
• Student Support
• SU Advice Centre
Non-academic activities and foreseeable events Holidays, weddings, rites of passage ceremonies whether religious or secular, sporting fixtures or training in preparation for them and other similarly foreseeable events.  
Temporary self-induced conditions Hangovers; ill-effects from the use of recreational or performance-enhancing drugs, whether legal (e.g. caffeine, energy drinks) or illegal. If in doubt please consult one of the sources of support in the box immediately to the right. • GP or hospital
• Personal Tutor
• Student Support
• SU Advice Centre

These guidelines are based on the University guidance on Extenuating (or Mitigating) circumstances that can be found here and WMG follows the University procedures outlined there.