Student Services

What are extenuating circumstances (ECs)?

Extenuating circumstances are situations or events that have happened in your life that make it difficult or impossible for you to undertake an assessment (such as submitting coursework, making a presentation or sitting an exam) or made you do less well than you could have done. They would usually be something that happened at the same time as, or when you were preparing for, the assessment.

Extenuating circumstances are situation or events that are:

  • Exceptional - different to what you have to deal with in your usual day-to-day life.
  • Unforeseen - you couldn't know that it was going to happen or to have planned for it.
  • Outside of your control - there was nothing that you could do to stop it happening.
  • Short-term - you don't expect what is happening to last very long.

We also expect them to have a substantial impact on your ability to prepare for or take an assessment.  This means that the circumstances must have a bigger impact than everyday things like a poor night's sleep, a minor illness (such as a cough or cold), a minor injury or if you are anxious about the assessment.

We understand that in some cultures it is not usual to disclose the details of some of these kinds of circumstances outside of immediate family. We are fully supportive of students in difficult circumstances and want to assist you where possible. If you feel uncomfortable talking to a tutor or other member of faculty staff in the first instance, you might prefer to approach the Students’ Union or Wellbeing Services for initial informal confidential advice.

Without wanting to invade your privacy, you do need to formally advise us by making an extenuating circumstances claim so that we can consider your circumstances, despite the discomfort you might feel. If you don’t disclose your circumstances at a time when you could have done so, we might not be able to take them into account at a later date.