You may be able to make an exceptional circumstances claim if something affects your performance in an exam or other assessment.
Important: This update relates to the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and how it might affect your assessments during the 2020/2021 academic year.
Returning students should note that arrangements for submitting exceptional circumstances this academic year will differ from those in place for the previous academic year. This is because the circumstances you may encounter this year will not necessarily be in the context of a local or national lockdown. Returning students should particularly note that the ‘impairment’ option for making a claim has been restored. Please see the guidance below for further details.
You will be able to submit exceptional circumstances claims following the usual procedure throughout this academic year. Please see below for details on how to submit your claim.
However, we do understand that some students may be affected by the ongoing pandemic is a variety of ways. For example, you may be living in an area subject to a local lockdown or may be required to self-isolate. Therefore, the University will continue to offer students the option of submitting a self-declaration form where it is not possible to obtain evidence to support your claim. You can upload this form to your exceptional circumstances claim within the same section you would normally upload supporting evidence.
However, where possible, we would encourage you to obtain and submit evidence to support your claim in the usual way.
You can also submit a self-declaration form [DOCX 45KB] instead of supporting evidence if you:
- Have been advised (either now or in the past) to self-isolate by NHS 111, by the NHS Test and Trace app, your GP (local doctor) or hospital doctor, meaning that you cannot obtain evidence in the usual way
- Have/had symptoms of Covid-19
- Have tested positive for Covid-19
- Have been in contact with someone who tested positive and are waiting for the results of a Covid-19 test.
- Have/had exacerbated symptoms of an existing condition or you became unwell with something unrelated to Covid-19 and were/are unable to obtain medical evidence
- Have been called back into service either within the NHS or the Military
- Have been caring for someone who is unwell
- Have been caring for children who as a result of COVID-19 have been at home
- Have not had access to IT and/or wifi in order to study remotely
Please note that the occurrence of the pandemic more generally and/or having to self-isolate will not be admissible for exceptional circumstances by themselves. However, if either of these occurrences have exacerbated an existing condition or have resulted in someone being unwell then a claim will be considered together with the evidence supplied.
Why you might make a claim
You might make an exceptional circumstances claim if you experience something sudden, temporary and unforeseen, which has an impact on your assessment.
What you can claim for
You can normally make a claim if, for example:
- you become ill and this affects your assessment
- you experience bereavement from the loss of a relative or partner
- you have a scheduled medical operation that conflicts with an assessment
- someone else’s circumstances affect your assessment, such as caring for a relative who has been discharged from hospital.
And, as a result, you are unable to:
- submit an assessment on time
- submit a piece of work by the late submission deadline (if there is one)
- attend an assessment, such as an exam
- complete your assessment to the best of your ability due to impairment.
Impairment in an assessment is where you are able to submit your assessment on time, but your performance is physically or mentally affected, for example by an illness or a bereavement.
When the Progression and Award Board (PAB) meets to consider your assessment, it will consider whether the mark you have achieved is significantly ‘out of line’ with your other marks. If the Board considers that this is the case, you will be offered an uncapped sit or submission. If the Board does not consider your mark to be ‘out of line’, the mark will stand.
If you’re not sure, check what you cannot claim for.
Important: If you have a long-term condition, you should consider reasonable adjustments. If you have a temporary condition, such as a broken limb, or you’re pregnant, you can also be considered for reasonable adjustments.
If you have queries about an assessment, talk to your academic advisor in your School.
Talk to a Student Life Advisor in the Student Life Centre if you need non-academic advice or welfare support.
How to make a claim
You make a claim through Sussex Direct. Select the Study tab and choose Exceptional Circumstances from the drop-down menu.
Use the form to outline your claim, including:
- a short description of your extenuating circumstances
- supporting evidence
- which assessment was affected, and
- the type of claim (late submission, non-submission, absence or impairment).
Once you’ve done this, select the Submit button. You’ll get an email confirming your claim has been received.
If you don’t get an email, we haven’t received your claim. Go back and submit your claim.
Examples of evidence to support your claim include a:
- doctor’s letter or medical document for an illness
- death certificate or a letter from a relative for a bereavement.
If you’re using the on-campus health centre, follow its exceptional circumstances process.
Important: Your supporting evidence needs to confirm that the circumstances were sudden, unforeseen and temporary when you were due to complete your assessment.
What should not be submitted as evidence
Only give us images of documents relating to your claim.
Don’t upload any other type of image – instead, explain your mitigating circumstances in the short description.
Only send evidence relating to the assessment you’re claiming for. If you don’t have any recent evidence, you’ll be asked to provide some.
When to submit your claim
Submit the following documents through Sussex Direct:
- your claim – within seven days of your assessment deadline or date
- supporting evidence – within 21 days of your assessment deadline or date.
You may still submit a claim after this, but you’ll need to explain why it’s late.
Final claim deadlines
These are the final claim deadlines for this academic year.
You must provide your claim and evidence by 5.30pm on the deadline day.
|Level of study||Assessment period||Deadlines for 2021|
|Undergraduate, including foundation-year||Assessments during Semesters 1 and 2||Tuesday 15 June|
|Resits in A3||Tuesday 24 August|
|Final-year undergraduate||Assessments during Semesters 1 and 2||Tuesday 1 June|
|Resits in A3||Tuesday 24 August|
|Taught postgraduate||Resits during A1 period||Thursday 25 February|
|Assessments during Semesters 1 and 2||Tuesday 29 June|
|Resits in A3 and dissertation/project||Thursday 7 October|
You can also see the final deadline on the exceptional circumstances claim form within Sussex Direct. This is before your exam board meets.
Claims after this deadline will be rejected. If this happens, you may wish to consider an academic-related appeal.
You can’t submit a claim for an assessment already considered by an exam board. See academic-related appeals instead.
Deleting a claim
If you have made a claim and you no longer want it to be considered, delete it in Sussex Direct. A claim can be deleted as long as a decision hasn’t been made.
After you make a claim
This is what happens after you submit your claim:
- We consider your claim and evidence – you’ll receive an email confirming we have your claim. After we have reviewed your claim, you will normally get an email confirming its outcome. We may need more information to process your claim.
- Exam board consideration – if we accept your claim, the exam board will take your claim into consideration and decide the appropriate outcome.
Who sees your claim
Your claim will be considered by a designated member of staff.
The Director of Student Experience within your School will also be able to view all claims made within your School. They’re supported by another member of staff who can also view these claims. This is so they can support you in your studies.
Access to view claims is protected by the Data Protection Act and GDPR legislation.
Details of claims will not be shared elsewhere within the School. Your Academic Advisor and your tutors will not know you have made a claim.
If your claim is more complex or unclear, we may discuss this with the:
- Chair of the University Education Committee, in confidence
- Student Support Unit (SSU), if we think you might benefit from reasonable adjustments. The SSU provides a confidential service
- Student Life Centre, if your claim raises a cause for concern. If that happens, you’ll be contacted.
If your claim is accepted
If you ask for a late submission to be excused, the late penalty will be removed.
If you then don’t submit your work at all, your accepted claim will be updated and treated as non-submission.
If your claim is because of a non-submission or an absence from an exam or other in-person assessment, the exam board may offer you another assessment opportunity.
If you’re claiming impairment, the exam board will consider if your performance is out of line with your usual standard and may offer you another assessment opportunity.
You cannot normally make a claim if you have:
- technology problems, such as losing files
- issues with printing your work
- jury service
- to go on holiday or to a wedding
- a minor illness, such as a cold.
On a placement or study abroad year
If you’re on a work placement, ask your employer what the sickness reporting system is and follow that. If you are away for more than six days in a row, you should also tell your School office.
You don’t need to make an exceptional circumstances claim to cover short periods of absence. Your assessment will be by portfolio or project; a claim is only appropriate if you don’t hand in your assessment or if it’s late.
If you are studying at a different institution, it is your responsibility to find out the regulations in place to support you. You can’t submit a claim for exceptional circumstances through Sussex. Contact your host institution for advice.
If you haven’t been able to retrieve the credits at your host university, or need more help, contact the Study Abroad office.
See our regulations for more information.
Visiting from another university
If you are at Sussex as a visiting or exchange student – on a semester/year abroad or taking standalone modules – you can claim for exceptional circumstances through Sussex Direct.
We may only let you take an uncapped resit of an assessment if you failed a module at the first attempt.
You won’t get an uncapped resit if you passed your module or failed a resit.
You can’t claim impairment for any of your assessments.
See our exam and assessment regulations, which includes exceptional circumstances.