"When I came into the Students’ Union Advice Centre I was a 'mess'. Just before starting my final year at University I had lost my father to a long term illness, I felt lonely and kept going back home to see my Mum which therefore meant I had not attended classes regularly and as a result I was falling behind with work. I had received a letter from my school asking me to a meeting with the Dean to explain my attendance which had dropped to 52%.
Jillian, one of the advisers, sat down with me and I explained what had happened. Jillian arranged to attend the meeting with me and also directed me to the “Back on Track” service in the University, my family doctor and the student counselling service, all of which helped me enormously.
At the meeting with the Dean, I was able to tell the school how he had sought help, and was now attending regularly and catching up on work, I also explained that I had been given extensions by tutors to complete assignments and how “Back On Track” had helped me as had one of the counsellors. The outcome of the meeting was positive, I had demonstrated I was sorting my issues and the Dean recommended no further action to be taken, reminding me to seek help if I required it.
Over the next few months I regularly popped in to see Jillian, seeking advice or clarification on everyday matters. Jillian also encouraged me to join one of the many club & societies and as a result I joined FRAG, the gaming society, making my student life even more comfortable."
STOP PRESS: Results day, 18th June, Andy came into the advice centre ecstatic, he had secured himself a 2:1 in Politics with History, his Mum was very proud and we are sure his Dad would have been too.
Issue: Academic Misconduct
"I received a letter asking me to attend a meeting to discuss an allegation of academic misconduct, I got in touch with the Advice Centre in order to discuss what would happen and how they could support me. The allegation concerned similarities in a piece of coursework to other sources that I had not acknowledged. Bruce, one of the advisers, explained that this was plagiarism and explained the misconduct process with me.
Bruce and I attended the meeting to discuss the allegation, I accepted that the work had not been appropriately referenced but explained that this had not been my intention. Bruce and I had indentified that I had some extenuating circumstances which I believed had affected my performance in the coursework. I had recently been advised by my tutor to go for a learning needs assessment. I had an appointment arranged for later that week and therefore the Academic Misconduct Officer agreed to postpone making a decision on any penalty pending the initial report being forwarded to him.
I forwarded the interim report which identified learning support needs and the assessment also stated that my academic performance would have been affected. The Academic Misconduct Officer agreed a lesser penalty in view of the circumstances and urged me to seek the support of the Academic Skills group in my school."
"I had recently received her results. I had been disappointed to find out that I had been referred in some of my coursework and exams and therefore would be capped at 40% when resubmitting the work. I visited the Advice Centre to seek out help.
I had been struggling with some of the academic aspects of my course for a few months and had been referred to the University Disability Support Services in January. Following an initial assessment they had referred me for a further diagnostic assessment to identify any additional learning needs that I may have. The earliest date the assessment could take place was a few months later and this identified a specific learning difficulty and recommended additional support and extra time in exams.
The report was not received until after coursework and exams had been completed by which time it had been too late for any of the recommendations to be implemented. It had also been too late to submit a claim for extenuating circumstances as the deadline had passed.
I was advised by Charlotte, one of the advisers, to appeal against the decision of the Course Assessment Board (CAB) on the grounds that I had extenuating circumstances (EC) that for good reason were not submitted to the EC Panel for consideration before the CAB decision was made.
The appeal was successful and I was granted deferrals in the assessments I had not passed and given the opportunity to resit as a first attempt with the appropriate support in place."
*Disclaimer: All names have been changed to ensure the confidentiality of clients.