Chapter 12 - Student absence

  1. Introduction
    1. It is recognised that students can suffer illness or other adverse personal circumstances which affect their ability to attend and engage with their programme of study and/or complete an examination/assignment.
    2. Although students are expected to attend all formal assessments and examinations, if a taught student is ill or experiencing other adverse personal circumstances at the time of an assessment or examination, they should consult the University's Mitigation system for considering the possible effects of such circumstances on students' performance.
    3. Taught students must report their absence via iExeter or as directed by their College for all absences from their programme of study. Postgraduate research students must report their absence using the Personal Absence Form. Students are reminded that many medical practices are unable to provide a medical certificate unless they are consulted during the illness. Students are therefore advised to contact their medical practitioner as soon as possible when a medical certificate is required (see below).
  2. Submission of absence report
    1. Any absence reports and medical certificates or other corroborating evidence must be submitted to the relevant College Office at the earliest opportunity in order for them to be considered. Colleges should keep medical certificates and corroborating evidence until the end of the year following the student's graduation or leaving the University.
  3. Ability to work significantly affected by a medical condition.
    1. Where a student’s ability to work has been significantly affected by a medical condition which has continued over a period of time, even though actual absences may have been occasional or intermittent, the student should arrange for a note from a medical practitioner to explain the condition and its effect.
    2. This note should be submitted to the appropriate office, and an application for consideration of mitigation made at the point of assessment.
  4. Absence from programme of study
    1. The following arrangements normally apply in instances of absence from programme of study due to ill health, with exceptions relating to assessments and examinations detailed below.
    2. Absence of seven consecutive days or fewer.
      For an absence of seven consecutive days or fewer, the student must:
      i) If an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student, report their absence via the iExeter absence reporting tool or as directed by their College; or 
      ii) If a postgraduate research student, normally complete and send to the relevant College PGR Support Team a .
    3. For Taught Students the reasons for short term absence which are eligible for consideration are;

      a. Disability (in accordance with ILP and HWSS recommendations
      b. Illness
      c. Illness of a dependent or other immediate relative for whom they have caring responsibilities
      d. Self-isolation for Covid-19 in accordance with Government guidance
      e. Medical Appointments
      f. Bereavement or other compassionate grounds
      g. Police incident
      h. Jury service
      i. Unforeseen emergencies
      j. Interview/ career related appointments
      k. Approved University visits, courses, exchanges
    4. For these short term absences listed above, additional evidence is not required.
    5. Absence of more than seven days
      For any absence of more than seven consecutive days the student must provide a medical certificate from a medical practitioner or evidence of the reason for prolonged absence eg. jury service.
    6. Persistent absence
      Where a student is persistently absent from their programme of study due to illness the College may require a medical certificate for all future absences, however long. In such cases the College Office will notify the student of this requirement.
    7. Absence from teaching practice
      An education student on teaching practice must inform the College's ITT Partnership Office of any absence within 24 hours.
    8. Absence from clinical practice
      A medical or healthcare student on clinical placement must inform their placement provider of any absence as soon as practically possible.
    9. In exceptional circumstances where a student has a severe or incapacitating condition, the relevant Dean of Faculty may authorise the appropriate absence from study or change of programme status e.g. interruption.
  5. Taught Students Only: Absence from examination or assessment due to illness
    1. The University has established a mitigation system for considering the possible effects of illness on an examination or assessment.
  6. Taught Students Only: Submission deadline affected by illness
    1. The University has established a mitigation system for considering the possible effects of illness on submission deadlines.
  7. Other special circumstances
    1. Return to the University following interruption on medical grounds. 
      Students must provide a certificate from a medical practitioner to their College Office to support their return to the University following interruption on medical grounds. For more information about interruptions, please see the Procedure for the Interruption and Voluntary Withdrawal of Taught Students or the Statement of Procedures: Periods of registration and changes to registration status for graduate research students.
    2. Aegrotat awards.
      A certificate from a medical practitioner must be sent to the appropriate Faculty Office to support consideration of any request for an aegrotat award (see Ordinance 16). For more information on Aegrotat awards, please see Ordinance 16
    3. Progression requiring special permission of the relevant Faculty Dean. 
      A medical certificate must be sent from the College to the relevant Faculty Dean to support recommendations on medical grounds concerning student progression which requires the special permission of the relevant Faculty Dean.

Personal Absence Certificate

This form is to be completed by PGR students who have been absent from academic study owing to illness, or for other reasons deemed valid by the University, which may include self-isolation for Covid-19 in accordance with Government guidance. It should be submitted without delay to the relevant College PGR Support Team. If the illness, or other reason for absence, continues for more than seven consecutive days, or it results in absence from a viva examination, a doctor’s certificate or other appropriate form of evidence may be required. Students should also consult the Statement of Procedures: Periods of registration and changes to registration status for graduate research students: Interruption of Studies with reference to absences of one month or longer.

PGR students- for more information and to access the form, please see the section under 'sickness' in the 'Your Enrolment' section of the Doctoral College's PGR Student Handbook.‌

Last reviewed February 2021

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