ST Mary's College

ST. Mary’s College

Mitigation Policy

1      Introduction
1.1 Student Responsibility

Students are responsible for managing their learning and assessment activities throughout their study at ST. Mary’s College. It is recognised that occasionally illness or difficult circumstances arise but it is believed that this is part of normal life and should be managed by students to enable them to continue with their studies accordingly.

1.2 Exceptional Circumstances

However, where prolonged illness or exceptional circumstances arise, ST. Mary’s College operates a policy under which mitigating circumstances are recognised and appropriate action is taken to ensure that a student’s academic performance is not adversely affected by these circumstances.

1.3 Existing Circumstances Prior to Enrolment

It is important to note that circumstances which applied before the student enrolled on the programme, or which have developed during the programme but are ongoing (such as responsibility as a carer) do not constitute mitigating circumstances. A student is expected to manage their life circumstances and should not enrol for a programme if he/she is unable to commit sufficient time to it.

Students who find that their circumstances have changed should contact their Faculty Leader to discuss the option of intermission.

1.4 Computer Failure

Please note that students are required to back up their work and, therefore, computer failure will not normally be considered as grounds for mitigation.

1.5 Mitigation Process Principles

The principles governing the mitigation process are that it should be:

  • Clear – the claim form and process should be easily understood by all staff and students.
  • Timely – any mitigation claim should be dealt with at the relevant assessment point.
  • Fair – by dealing with claims under the same central system, decisions will be made by staff who are not directly concerned with the student, and who are following guidance laid down in the mitigation policy.
  • Confidential – only staff who are directly involved in the process will have knowledge of any claim.

1.6 If a student chooses not to notify ST. Mary’s College of mitigating circumstances at the time that they affect assessment, it is highly unlikely that any retrospective allowance will be made through the appeal process.

2      Essential Rules Governing the Process
A student is seeking mitigation for her/himself and, whilst staff will provide help and support, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to make a mitigation claim.

2.1 Mitigation Form

In all cases, a student wanting to make a claim for mitigation must submit a full completed mitigation form to the Academic Services Office prior to the module assessment deadline.

2.2 Faculty Leader Notification

A student should alert the Faculty Leader/Module Tutor prior to the assessment deadline that he/she intend to, or have, submitted a claim for mitigation to the Management Office.

2.3 Evidence

Evidence is needed to support any claim. Medical evidence must confirm a medical condition that is current; a doctor’s note indicating that a student was seen after the illness occurred and not including a professional diagnosis, will not, therefore, be accepted as evidence. A report from a professionally qualified counsellor will normally be required to support a claim of personal crisis.

3      Requests for extensions of one week or less to assessment deadlines
3.1 Formal Claim

 Where students seek an extension of one week or less, a formal claim must be submitted to the Management Office via completion of the mitigation form and the production of appropriate evidence. This claim must be received prior to the assessment deadline.

3.2 Consideration of Claim

The claim is considered by the Faculty Leader; in the event that he/she is satisfied that the student has particular or exceptional circumstances, he/she is able to grant an extension of up to one working week.

3.2 Extension Allowance

Only one week’s extension should be allowed per student for any module; no more than two such extensions should be permitted in total, per student per year.

3.3 Document Control

A copy of the claim form and supporting evidence will be maintained within the Management Office and a copy will be kept in the student file.

 

4      Requests for extensions of more than one week to assessment deadlines
 

4.1 Formal Claim

Where students seek extensions of more than one week, a formal claim must be submitted to the Management Office via completion of the mitigation form and the production of appropriate evidence. This claim must be received prior to the assessment deadline.

4.2 Consideration of Claim

The claim is considered by the Mitigation Panel, comprising the Faculty Leader, the Principal and the Academic Manager; where a member of the Panel is not available, he/she may nominate another member of their team to represent them. In the event that the Panel is satisfied that the student has particular or exceptional circumstances, the Panel is able to grant an extension of more than one week.

4.2. Evidence

No claim will be accepted by the Management Office unless it has been correctly completed and appropriate evidence has been provided.

4.2.1 It should be noted that the extension should match approximately the number of days lost due to illness or other reason as indicated by the evidence provided.

4.3 Continuation of Studies

Continuing students must complete all assignments before moving to the next stage of study.

5      Requests for action other than an extension
 

5.1 Exceptional Circumstances When Extension is Not Appropriate.

It is anticipated that an extension of time in which to complete outstanding work will resolve the majority of claims under the mitigation process. Exceptionally, however, circumstances may be such that an extension is not the most appropriate way to resolve the situation; following discussion with the Faculty Leader, other types of action that could be requested are:

  • Where the student has produced sufficient work as a result of complete or partial fulfilment of a module, a mark may be awarded taking into account the student’s overall mark profile.
  • If agreed with the awarding body, a reduction in the assessment load may be negotiated, which ensures that appropriate learning outcomes are still met.
  • Where other action is requested, a formal claim must be submitted to theManagement Office via completion of the mitigation form and the production of appropriate evidence. This claim must be received prior to the assessment deadline.

5.3 Consideration of Claim

The Faculty Leader will review the form and supporting evidence. If fully satisfied with the claim, he/she should sign the form to signify their support and pass the form to the Principal.

5.4 Evidence

No claim will be accepted by the Principal unless it has been correctly completed and evidence has been provided.

5.5 Further Clarification

The Principal will review the claim to ensure clarity of information, appropriateness of claim in terms of the evidence provided, and consistency with claims from students in other programmes. Further clarification may be sought from the student as required.

5.6 Final Consideration

When a claim is received requesting action other than an extension of time, this will be considered by the Mitigation Panel.

6      Decisions under the mitigation process
 

6.1 Circumstances of Claim

When evaluating a mitigation claim, the following will be taken into consideration:

  • The severity and the timing of the circumstances alleged.
  • The appropriateness of the evidence provided.
  • The extent to which the circumstances would have affected the assessment indicated in the claim.
  • The extent of work affected by the mitigating circumstances and the implications of any extension of time or other requested action on the whole assessment portfolio.

6.2 How Decisions Are Made

In order to ensure parity of treatment for all students, decisions will always be made in the light of past practice with regard to similar claims.

6.3 Timeframe and Intermittence

ST. Mary’s College has a duty of care to its students; the decision taken on a mitigation claim will ensure that a realistic timeframe is agreed for a student which enables them to complete outstanding assessment requirements without undue pressure. Where there is clear evidence of mitigating circumstances affecting a student over a lengthy period of time, a student may be recommended to intermit and complete their studies in the following academic year.

7      Communication of the decision following a mitigation claim
7.1 It will be the responsibility of the Academic Manager to write to students informing them of the outcome, with copies sent to the Faculty Leader.

8      If a mitigation claim is rejected
8.1  If the claim of mitigating circumstances is rejected, the student will have failed to submit the assignment by the deadline and therefore will have failed the module.

8.2 In accordance with our Submissions Policy, the student is able to resubmit the work up to 3 times.

8.3 Resubmissions of failed assignments incur the following penalities:

1st resubmission: £50

2nd resubmission: £100

3rd resubmission: £150

9      Complaints and appeals
9.1 Appeal Process

If a student is not satisfied with the decision made, he/she are entitled to request that their claim is reviewed. The student should make this request in writing to the Principal, outlining the reasons for their request within10 days of notification of the decision. The Principal will, in the case of an application being declined by:

  • The Faculty Leader for a 7 day extension, request the Mitigation
  • Panel to review the decision.
  • The Mitigation Panel, request another member of senior academic staff, who has not had any connection with the original decision, to review the claim.

9.2 Grounds for Appeal

A student may appeal on the following grounds:

  • That new substantive evidence has become available which is pertinent to the case and has material impact such that the outcome may have been affected.
  • That due process was not followed and that this had a material bearing on the outcome of the case.
  • That the decision of the Mitigation Panel or Mitigation Board was perverse, taking into account all the evidence presented.

9.3 Further Action

The Principal will conduct a full review of the documentation relating to the case, including all documentation considered by the panel and its decision. She may recall the Mitigation Panel to clarify any point, though this is not essential. The Principal will reach

a judgement on the balance of the evidence, and will either:

  • Confirm the original decision
  • Uphold the appeal and require the Mitigation Panel to reconsider its original decision.

9.4 Confirmation of Decision

The Principal will write to the student to confirm his decision. This will normally be within 10 working days of receipt of the letter of appeal although, as this authority cannot be delegated, there may be occasions where a longer time period is required and, in these cases, the Principal’s Office will contact the relevant parties to explain the circumstances. The Principal’s letter of decision will also be copied to the Faculty Leaders to enable the record of decisions to be updated.

10 Equality and Impact Statement
This policy will be implemented in line with the principles of the college’s commitment to equality and diversity which is: ST. Mary’s College is committed to the principles of equality and diversity and aims to ensure that all employees and college users are treated fairly and equally regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

11 Document control including Archiving Arrangements
 

11.1 A log of all claims and decisions will be maintained within the College together with the original claim form. This log will be available through the year for oversight of the process.

11.2 Copies of all the documentation will be retained by the Management Office and in the student’s record for 7 years.

Revised: March 2017