Safety Net 2020/21

We are committed to your academic success this year, in the face of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the 2019/20 academic year, we took a series of steps in response to the immediate emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, to support continued student engagement with learning and the completion of examinations, to provide reassurance to students concerning their academic outcomes and maintain the robustness of our academic standards. 

For 2020/21, we have invested in our new blended model of programme delivery, designed with a clear focus on supporting your learning and enabling you to achieve wherever you are. 

Our priority remains to help students to progress to the next year of study or complete their programme and graduate. We have therefore adopted three COVID-19 related mechanisms to support you and your studies this academic year:

Extenuating Circumstances

We strongly recommend you endeavour to meet your current published assessment deadlines.  In light of the current situation however, students who are unable to submit by those deadlines should submit a claim for Extenuating Circumstances.  You will then be permitted to submit up to ten working days late without incurring a penalty for late submission.  If you are unable to submit assessments within an additional ten working days, you should submit a claim for Extenuating Circumstances which will be for non-submission and you may be offered re-assessment without penalty (i.e. at the same attempt).  

Please note, where formal, invigilated examinations are replaced by alternative time-limited assessments, there will be no opportunity to submit these assessments late. However, in the event you are unable to submit by the published deadline, you should submit a claim for Extenuating Circumstances which will mean you will be offered a re-assessment opportunity without penalty in the same way as you would under the standard Extenuating Circumstances regulations for a non-attendance at a formal examination.  

There is no requirement to submit independent, supporting documentation or evidence, as there has been in the past.   But you must complete and submit the form.

Any extenuating circumstances submitted after the 4th January 2021, will be automatically validated. This means you don’t need to wait to hear back for approval or submit any evidence. You must still complete EC forms if you wish to apply for 10 working days or, non-submission.   

More information and the online form can be found on our dedicated Extenuating Circumstances webpage.

For advice and guidance on extenuating circumstances, please make contact with the Student Support Hub via email on [email protected] or phone 01803 540788.


If you have failed to achieve your credits in which you are enrolled on this academic year, you may be able to be considered for referral in up to 80 credits. This regulation has changed to increase from 60 credits.

If you submit or attend an assessment and fail, or have applied for Extenuating Circumstances for non-submission/non-attendance, your referral or your repeat will be at the same attempt, without being penalised. 

If you fail to achieve your referral/s, you may be able to be considered for an extended referral which allows students to progress to the next level of study while completing referral work in a maximum of 40 credits. You will be required to complete that extended referral work by 9 December 2021. This regulation has changed to increase from 20 credits.

If you have applied for Extenuating Circumstances for non-submission/non-attendance, your referral or your repeat will be at the same attempt, without being penalised. 

If you fail more than 80 credits worth of modules, you may come back next year and repeat those modules.



If you progressed from the 2019/20 academic year and are now enrolled on the final stage of your programme, your aggregate mark awarded for 2019/20 will be honoured and used to calculate your final programme aggregate.


What is compensation?

If you fail one or more taught modules, an Award Assessment Board will normally compensate for the failure if the module(s) mark you were awarded is within 10 marks of the pass mark for a module(s).

How much compensation can I have?

The maximum compensation allowed is up to 20 credits per level of study.

Can I have compensation for any module?

No, some modules are designated as ‘non-compensatable’.  This means that even if you had a module mark of, for example, 35% for a module you could not be compensated for a non-compensatable module.  Your module leader will be able to let you know if a module is non-compensatable.  Please note, modules on programmes which are subject to PSRB requirements may not be eligible for compensation.

If I fail all my modules will any of them be compensated?

The Award Assessment Board will only compensate up to 20 credits.

What happens if I am compensated for one module but have failed other modules?

If you have failed up to 80 credits and have been compensated for 20 credits, you will need to submit referred assessments during the referral period for the remaining credits.  For example, if you have failed 60 credits and the Award Assessment Board awards compensation for 20 credits, you will need to submit referred assessments for the remaining 40 credits.

Can I be awarded compensation if I am a part-time student?

Compensation is considered at the Award Assessment Board when the full module profile for the level is known, i.e when you have completed all 120 credits of a level.

How do I know if I have been awarded compensation?

If the Award Assessment Board has made the decision to award you a compensated pass, this will be shown on your transcript with a module decision code of CP.

Can I choose which module will be compensated?

Compensation will be applied to the module(s) with the highest mark between 30% and 39%.  For example, if you had failed 40 credits and Module A had a mark of 32% and Module B had a mark of 37%, the Award Assessment Board would award a compensated pass for Module B and you would be referred in Module A.

Please note: the above amendments reflect the changes made to the Safety Net in January 2021 and therefore supersede previous changes applied. 

Full details of the temporary amendments above are available on our Academic Regulations, Procedures and Policies webpage.

The Student Support Hub also remains available for you during these difficult times and can provide support with areas of academic development and practice, employability and your next steps, wellbeing and counselling as well as supporting students with a disability.