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

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 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.

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.