Skip to main content

1. Principles

(a) Students' responsibilities

Students are autonomous learners and active participants in their education. They take responsibility for managing their learning and their engagement is demonstrated in many ways:

  • in attending all prescribed lectures, seminars, classes, meetings with their personal tutors/supervisor(s).
  • in preparing for and participating in classes or carrying out their own research
  • in directing their own learning beyond that specified by their teachers
  • in completing formative and summative assessment tasks
  • in monitoring and reflecting on their own progress
  • in taking the initiative in seeking support when necessary from their department and the wider University (e.g. Director of Graduate or Undergraduate Studies, Centre for Student Careers and Skills, Students’ Union, Senior Tutor, Disability Coordinator)

(b) Departments' responsibilities

Departments are responsible for designing and delivering high-quality courses which enable students to achieve high standards of learning, by providing appropriate teaching and learning resources, monitoring students’ progress, assessing students’ work and providing feedback to students which helps them learn. In the case of postgraduate research students, departments’ responsibilities are set out in more detail in the Guidelines on the Supervision and Monitoring of Research Degree Students and Guidelines on the Supervision of Students Based Away from the University(PDF Document).

Departments are required to report to the Teaching Quality section of the Academic Office annually setting out:

  • Monitoring schemes for courses of study, aligned to the template in Appendix A, including for new courses.
  • Monitoring schemes for courses of study to which Appendix A cannot be applied, for approval by AQSC.
  • Plans for monitoring attendance on joint and cross-departmental courses (see Section 6);
  • Follow up action for specific student cases.

The annual reporting point will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the processes and to gather good practice at appropriate intervals. Appendix B details a top level flow chart of department’s monitoring responsibilities.

Departments are advised to offer support to students whenever it becomes apparent that they may be experiencing problems. Additionally (as a minimum),

  • Where a student has missed three formal “monitoring points” in one academic year the student’s main point of contact for overseeing their academic progress should meet with the student to discuss progress and consider referring the student where appropriate to the relevant University Support Service(s). The main point of contact may be the personal tutor/supervisor, or in some departments may be the Director of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies (see Section 3). The Academic Office will write to all students
    that have missed three monitoring points and the student’s department will receive a copy of the e-mail.
  • Where a student has missed six formal “monitoring points” in one academic year the Academic Office will notify the Director of Undergraduate/Graduate Studies that the Department should refer the student to the Continuation of Registration Committee as set out in University Regulation 36 - Governing Student registration, attendance and progress, unless the Department wishes to present reasons why referral is not appropriate. Valid reasons may include, for instance, evidence that a student has resumed their studies. Correspondence to the student from the Academic Office at this point is also sent to the Director of Undergraduate/Graduate Studies
  • Where a student has missed eight formal “monitoring points” in one academic year the Department or the Academic Registrar will invoke the process outlined in University Regulation 36 - Governing Student registration, attendance and progress.



At the start of each Academic year, Departments will publish a clear statement of the level of attendance and engagement expected from students. This is normally communicated at Induction events and will be set out in Programme Handbooks. This information will include:

  • General information on attendance requirements which may be specific to the Department

Typically, all taught sessions are compulsory; in some departments students are recommended to attend lectures, but required to attend all other teaching sessions. Postgraduate research students are typically required to attend all agreed supervisions, training sessions. Similarly, all assessment tasks set are generally compulsory. This section may also include a statement on the value not only of attendance but also of engagement and participation in a student's classes.

  • Details on the monitoring points that students are required to meet

Departments should make it clear to students that they monitor their academic engagement and progress in order to offer them appropriate academic and pastoral support and to identify where support from outside the department may be necessary. Departments should set out what the monitoring points are that students are required to meet.

  • Consequences of missed monitoring points

Departments should make clear to students the consequences of inadequate engagement and what will happen if they miss monitoring points (as set out in Section 4). This should include a specific statement on the implications for international students of missing monitoring points. A sample statement is included below.

International students should be particularly aware of the consequences of missing contact points: the Academic Office is obliged to report to the Home Office UK Visas and Immigration (formerly the UK Border Agency) if any Tier 4 students have been found not to be engaging with and attending their degree course. This will normally lead to the curtailment of their visas.

  • The main point of contact for students with responsibility for overseeing their academic progress (see Section 3) and information on where students can seek advice on the implications of any changes in registration status for their right to remain in the UK.

Where a department identifies that a student’s attendance or academic progress is unsatisfactory, there are procedures in place within the department to support the student, or refer them to other sources of support. In the case of poor attendance the matter will normally only be escalated as set out below where the absences are unauthorised or give rise for concern.

Where a student’s attendance record, submission of work or academic progress continue to be unsatisfactory, the consequences for the student are transparent, proportionate and fair. University Regulations set out the formal procedures to be followed where students have persistently failed to engage in their course (or meet the requirements of their course).

(c) University's Responsibilities

In addition, the University has legal obligations under UK immigration legislation to monitor continually attendance of all students whom it has sponsored to come to the UK for study on a Tier 4 visa. The scheme for monitoring attendance set out in this Good Practice Guide is in line with the requirements set out in legislation and it is therefore also the University's responsibility to ensure that the measures set out in this Guide are implemented.

(d) Consistency of principles, variety of methods appropriate to context

Departments monitor the attendance and academic progress of students on all courses across all levels of study: undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research postgraduate, incoming and outgoing students on visiting and
exchange programmes and students on placements and intercalated years. While these principles are consistent across the University’s courses at all levels, how they are implemented varies as appropriate to the department and course.