The University’s appeals procedure allows you to appeal against a Board of Studies’ academic decision. *Please note that there are set times when you can appeal and this is usually on receiving your results at the end of an academic year or at a progression stage in your studies.

This page details our recommendations, to help highlight the key elements of the process and the help available to you throughout the processes.

Your right to an appeal

An academic appeal is a request that the Board of Studies changes their original decision in light of the circumstances you present to them. The appeal must relate to a decision taken by a Board of Studies in respect to one or more of the following outcomes and the grounds below:

  • Your progression, e.g. requesting that you resit or resubmit an assessment, retake a unit, retake a semester, retake a year or withdraw from your course.
  • Marks which will have an effect on your overall classification, e.g. a mark for a specific assessment or unit.
  • Your final classification.

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The process for appealing against an academic decision 

1. Read through the updated University guidance on Appeals

The university have published key guidance here, which includes sections detailing how the COVID-19 no-detriment measures have aimed to support you, how to make an appeal and what support is available. We recommend reading through this prior to submitting an appeal.

The main changes introduced for this appeals period is around the evidence you need to provide, dependent on the grounds you’re appealing on to support your case.

What are the grounds for appeal?

There are specific grounds for appeal under University Regulation 17. You must show how your case fits within one of these grounds: 

1. New evidence of mitigating circumstances - there were circumstances that affected your performance, such as illness, personal issues (including COVID-19 impact), which you could not, for significant reasons, disclose prior to the assessment or within the time frame allowed this academic year.

2. Procedural irregularities - procedures were being followed incorrectly or mistakes made in adding up marks, or the marks considered for the assessment had been incorrectly recorded or the calculation of the total marks was incorrect.

3. Prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment - there is positive evidence of prejudice or inadequate assessment on the part of one or more of the examiners

There is an additional ground for review for Postgraduate Research students only:

4. For Postgraduate Research degrees only - A difference in academic approach or theories/concepts which were not apparent when examiners were appointed.

Note that dissatisfaction with a mark or set of marks, or dissatisfaction with the academic judgement of the examiners, are not considered valid grounds of an academic appeal.

Changes to evidence required for this assessment period:

If you’re applying on the ground of ‘New evidence of mitigating circumstances’ you do not need to provide formal medical evidence, as per the process for IMCs earlier in this assessment period.

If you are able to provide evidence however, they do suggest submitting to help further detail your circumstances. This can include but is not limited to, supporting statements from Student Services, family and friends and screenshots of e.g. medications etc.

For the 3 other grounds, you will need to provide as much evidence as you can. However, if your ability to provide this evidence has been affected by COVID-19 disruption, you should explain clearly what you intended to provide and why it is unavailable to you at this time.

2. Consider whether you want to seek further advice to the written guidance

Before submitting an appeal, it's advised that you read through the University guidance on 'Semester 1 Provisional Results'. This page details how results are considered by Boards of Examiners. We also recommend visiting ‘No-detriment and assessment guidance 20/21’ to get the up-to-date information on how these affect you this year.

If you would like further clarification, you can speak with your Director of Studies, Personal Tutor or the Head of your Department or School. Where appropriate, they can talk through your unit marks or classification and provide valuable feedback. For example, if you are considering appealing against a specific mark, it is a good idea to try to get some feedback about why you received that mark before submitting your appeal. Do also check you can appeal at that time (i.e. your Board of Studies have met and results aren’t provisional).

You can also speak with the SU Advice and Support Centre, who can:

  • Discuss your case with you,
  • Talk through your options and the support available,
  • Support you through the Appeals process (e.g. provide guidance on what information to include and review your form and evidence before you submit them).
  • Continue to support you in the stages following submission.

3. Guidance on completing the appeal form and the evidence to include

As detailed above, the University provide their guidance here Appealing against an academic decision.

The form can be found on the page above and here.

How should my appeal statement be structured?

  • Start with an introductory paragraph. In this you should state what it is you’re appealing, your basis (grounds) for doing so and what the ideal outcome of your appeal would be.
  • Following this, you should outline your case in a clear way, and in chronological order. Try to include names and dates where necessary and refer to any evidence you’ll be including with your appeal in the body of the text, at the relevant points.
  • Detail your grounds and evidence:
    • If you have mitigating circumstances, you will need to give details of your circumstances, when they occurred and how long they lasted, how they’ve impacted you personally, and how they’ve affected your academic performance. This could include circumstances that occurred due to COVID-19, that wouldn’t already have been addressed through no-detriment measures.
      • You’ll need to demonstrate that had the circumstances not existed, you would likely have not been impacted academically.
      • It’s also a good idea to emphasise the steps that you’re taking to overcome your mitigating circumstances, to ensure that they don’t continue to affect your studies and also show your commitment to the course.
      • You do not need to provide formal medical evidence for this period, however if you do have some we recommend providing and detail this evidence that you’ll be attaching to your appeal in your statement. You also need to explain why you didn’t inform your department and submit a mitigating circumstance form at the time the circumstances occurred.
    • For procedural irregularities, you need to explain in your statement what procedural irregularities you feel have occurred, how they affected your studies, how things might have been different if the irregularities hadn’t occurred, and how your evidence demonstrates this.
      • *If you can’t provide evidence due to COVID-19 disruption, explain why you’re unable to provide this and what you would have provided.
    • Similarly, for prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment, in your statement you need to explain what you believe has taken place, how it affected your studies, how things might have been different if the prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment hadn’t occurred, and how your evidence demonstrates this.
      • *If you can’t provide evidence due to COVID-19 disruption, explain why you’re unable to provide this and what you would have provided.

Lastly, in the relevant box towards the end of the form, you’ll need to provide details of your what you expect the outcome of your appeal to be. This will need to be in line with University Regulations, as an appeal which seeks an outcome which isn’t permitted within Regulations will not proceed to a panel.

What types of evidence do I need to attach?

Evidence of procedural irregularity, prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment, should clearly demonstrate the circumstances that you discuss in your appeal. Examples of evidence could include but aren’t limited to copies of emails, relevant sections of your course or module handbooks, information published on Moodle, and information in the University Regulations and University Policies which demonstrate what has not been adhered to.

It is your responsibility to provide evidence, and it must be written in English. Any evidence not written in English should be submitted with a verified translation. If you aren’t able to provide any evidence, explain why and detail your case as clearly as possible.

If you’re appealing on the grounds of new mitigating circumstances and you have evidence that you can provide (*note you do not need to provide formal medical evidence for this period) it should aim to demonstrate several things:

  1. What the circumstances are and how they impacted you personally.
  2. How they affected you and how they specifically impacted particular exams or assignments.
  3. When you were affected (the evidence where possible should cover the dates detailed in your appeal.
  4. How long you were affected, or how long you will be affected (if the situation is ongoing).

Clearly label each of your evidence items, in chronological order and with a relevant name. Then attach to the document or email in that order.  

4. Overview of the appeal process and support available

The following details the steps we recommend you following for the appeals process.

  1. Understand the process and your results - Read through all of the available guidance (detailed above) and consult with your department where needed.
  2. Check you’re able to appeal at this stage – As above, appeals can only be done at a progression stage in your studies. Speak with your department or us to check if you’re not sure.
  3. Collate evidence – Any evidence you can provide to demonstrate your grounds is helpful to include within your appeal, to help provide further insight to your appeal.
  4. Complete the form – Fill in all aspects of the form. Outline your circumstances, the context and facts of the situation. Then how the issues have affected your performance including details about the impact on revision and assessment/s for you.
  5. Request feedback from SU Advice and Support Centre (optional) – Email with your completed form and we’ll review and provide recommendations to help you communicate your experiences.
    1. *Please try to do this with as much notice as possible to ensure we’re able to review the form for you in time, ideally 2 days’ notice to the appeals deadline. We advise that you try not to leave this until the last minute, as we need time to go through your appeal and help you strengthen it, sometimes this requires multiple drafts and we are a small team.
  6. Submit to the Chair of Board of Studies by the 14-day deadline– Email your form to the relevant Chair, this can be found in the section 'Where to submit my appeal,' by the deadline, or any time before.
  7. Keep a record – File the email and form in a safe place, so you can revisit it should you need to.
  8. Access the support you need – The appeal form is one element of the process, it’s also an opportunity for you to speak to your department and services that can provide support to you wherever you may need. There are various support services available including the Wellbeing Service, Be Well Talk Now Service and the SU Advice and Support Centre.  

5. Guidance on how your appeal is considered and the next stages of the process

The process for how your Stage 1 appeal is considered is detailed in Regulation 17, 17.10 onwards. This details what happens when the Chair receives your appeal and the processes they need to go through to decide the next steps with your appeal. The Chair will normally seek to communicate the decision to you no more than 28 calendar days after they receive your appeal.

There are 3 main outcomes possible from this consideration:

  1. Executive ActionPrima facie has been established and the Chair has decided that Executive Action can be taken. They will consult where relevant with your Director of Studies and internal examiners to identify the best action for you and will notify you of this outcome.
  2. Appeal HearingPrima facie has been established and the Chair will request that an Appeal Hearing take place to find out more information about your case and they will establish the action.
  3. Appeal not upheld Prima facie has not been established, you will be notified of your appeal being unsuccessful and your right to ‘Request a review of a Stage 1 appeal decision.’

With all of the above outcomes, you are able to ‘Request a review of an appeal outcome’ (Stage 2 of the appeals process).

The SU Advice & Support Centre can also help you through all of these further stages, by providing advice on the processes, feedback on further documents and evidence you need to provide and signposting you to other support. Where possible, we can also attend in an Adviser role to meetings held e.g. the Appeal Hearing. *This is dependent on the team’s capacity at the time of your meeting, we will do our best to attend.

At the end of the University procedures, if you’re unsatisfied with the overall outcome of your appeal including the review, you can submit a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). The SU Advice & Support Centre can also assist with this process.