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Exceptional circumstances – Bath Spa University

Extensions and Exceptional Circumstances

Extensions and Exceptional Circumstances are two separate processes. Please see below for more details.

Extensions policy

For more information on our processes on extensions, please find below.

What is an extension?

An extension request is a request made by a student to a tutor to ask for a short extension (usually one week, but can be longer than this at the tutor’s discretion) of a set coursework submission deadline.

Requesting an extension to a coursework deadline

The University expects students to cope with normal / minor life events without requiring adjustments to assessment deadlines. Some examples of these events are colds and minor illness, dental treatment, ‘bunching’ of assessment deadlines or normal examination stresses. Students are expected to plan their work schedules sufficiently well so that minor illnesses or problems should not normally affect their abilities to meet an assessment deadline.

If students experience a short-term problem which impacts their ability to submit an assessment or reassessment on time, module leaders can approve a short extension to a deadline, usually for one week (which can be extended by agreement from the module leader). Extensions may not be appropriate for certain types of assessment (e.g. group performances, exhibitions). Extensions will be agreed at the module leader’s discretion and further supporting documentation may be requested before the extension is granted.

The following examples are likely to be considered acceptable grounds for an extension:

  • Short-term illness / hospitalisation
  • Court attendance
  • Illness of close family member, dependant or friend.

The following examples are not considered acceptable grounds for an extension:

  • Misreading assessment deadline
  • Poor time-management
  • Submitting the wrong piece of work for assessment, or draft version
  • Books not available in Library
  • Travel difficulties that cannot be verified (traffic delays)
  • An existing long-term condition where support is already in place.

Please note: the Assessment and Feedback Policy states the following:

5 a) The deadline for all assessments submitted as a hard copy or electronically is normally 12.00 (noon) UK time, with Turnitin accepting submissions without penalty until 17.00.

If a student wishes to submit an extension request, they should send a completed extension request form to their module tutor:

Teach First

  • If you are a Teach First student, the extension and Exceptional Circumstance processes at Bath Spa University apply to your final assignment submissions only. Please visit your programme Ultra platform to complete the online extension or Exceptional Circumstances forms (do not use the forms on this page).  
  • If you need support with your draft submissions, please contact your Development Lead at Teach First. The University does not process extensions or Exceptional Circumstances for draft/formative submissions. 

Exceptional Circumstances Policy

Please download our Exceptional Circumstances Policy (.pdf).

What are Exceptional Circumstances?

Exceptional Circumstances are defined as

“unexpected exceptional events outside of a student’s control that occurred during or shortly before the assessment which are likely to have a negative impact on a student’s ability to complete and where appropriate submit an assessment”.

This policy applies to all students registered on taught programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

As a Bath Spa student, it's expected you will normally be able to meet set assessment deadlines throughout the academic year. However, the University recognises that this may not always be possible for a wide variety of reasons. You're able submit work late (for a capped mark) in line with the Assessment and Feedback Policy or request a formal extension to the deadline. However, if there are unexpected events outside of your control that have affected your ability to complete and, where appropriate, submit an assessment, an Exceptional Circumstances claim can be submitted to inform the University.

It is the University’s responsibility to ensure that you're not unfairly disadvantaged by such circumstances and to treat all claims fairly and equitably.

If Exceptional Circumstances are approved, this would normally ‘defer’ your coursework deadline to the next assessment deadline in the academic year. Deferred assessment is treated as a first attempt (i.e. uncapped), with the full range of marks available. You can also seek to ‘defer’ a referred (capped) piece of work to the next assessment period through this policy.

Details of the reassessment coursework submission deadlines throughout the year are available on the Central Assessment Board schedules on the Policies page under “Academic and Student”. An approved Exceptional Circumstances claim will not excuse you from completing your assessment(s), but will defer the coursework deadline for those modules or assessments approved on the claim to the next University assessment point. You'll still be required to demonstrate that you can achieve the required learning outcomes to successfully pass each of your modules and to meet the programme requirements for progression or award.

You should consider the current University Progression Rules when working towards your modules and assessments and considering whether to submit an Exceptional Circumstances claim. The August reassessment period represents the last assessment point within each academic year and you should check whether deferring your assessment/s to the next academic year would impact upon your eligibility to progress to their next year of studies (this relates to undergraduate students who have started their course at a September entry point – this may differ if you are studying at a different level of study or if your course entry point was at a different time of year. Please contact MyServices if you have any queries).

For further guidance, please refer to MyServices and the Undergraduate Progression Flowchart (.pdf).

If you’re a final year student, you'll be informed that you will not be eligible to attend graduation until all assessments have been successfully completed. Therefore, deferring coursework through Exceptional Circumstances may result in you becoming ineligible to graduate with the majority of your cohort. You will be invited to a later winter or summer graduation, depending on when you successfully complete your award.

What is the Fit to Sit/Submit Principle?

The University Exceptional Circumstances Policy is based on the Fit to Sit/Submit principle. When you submit an assessment or sit an examination, you are declaring that you are fit to do so. You should not then claim at a later date that your performance in an assessment or examination was affected by Exceptional Circumstances.

If you are not fit to sit/submit, a short extension (usually one week, but this can be extended by agreement of the module tutor) can be requested from the module tutor, or an Exceptional Circumstances claim can be submitted to request that the assessment is deferred to the next assessment point in the academic year.

How do I apply for Exceptional Circumstances?

Information, updates and how to apply can be found on MyServices. The Student Information team is also able to help you if you need any advice or guidance when applying for Exceptional Circumstances. The Students' Union Advice Centre can also help you with any queries regarding your Exceptional Circumstances claim.

Exceptional Circumstances claims must be submitted as close as possible to the date of the affected assessment. Claims should not be submitted so far in advance that the impact of the Exceptional Circumstances cannot be assessed.

You should refer to the “Examples of eligible and ineligible Exceptional Circumstances” section below prior to submitting a claim.

You may apply for Exceptional Circumstances for more than one module if the same circumstances have affected more than one assessment. The claim form should clearly explain the details of the circumstances, which assessments and modules have been affected, and how these circumstances have affected your ability to submit.

If you have agreed Exceptional Circumstances in place for an assessment, you can still submit the assessment on time for the original submission deadline. This will “void” the Exceptional Circumstances claim and the mark ratified at the Central Assessment Board will stand. You cannot subsequently ask for an Exceptional Circumstances claim to be reinstated once the assessment has been submitted.

Exceptional Circumstances cannot be used to waive the late submission penalty when coursework is submitted after the published deadline.

Claims will initially be considered by the Assistant Registrar - Assessments and Progression or their nominee who will make a decision to approve or not approve the claim if their findings demonstrate clear information or supporting documentation to enable them to make a decision on your claim. In all other cases, the claim will be considered by the Exceptional Circumstances Panel. Details of the membership and terms for reference for the Exceptional Circumstances Panel are available in Section 3 of the Exceptional Circumstances Policy.

Retrospective Exceptional Circumstances

Retrospective or late claims for Exceptional Circumstances can be submitted up to 10 working days following your receipt of your official University results email. The claim should be submitted via the online form on the Exceptional Circumstances MyServices page and should be accompanied by a clear explanation as to why it was not possible for you to submit the claim on time.

Support for your Exceptional Circumstances and your studies

The University offers a range of support services and opportunities to enable you to manage the challenges and demands of academic study. You're encouraged to seek support from:

You're encouraged to use the University's Assessment Action Plan Template (.docx) to help to map out their assessments and reassessments, where appropriate, throughout the academic year.

Examples of eligible Exceptional Circumstances
  • Serious personal accident or injury
  • Hospitalisation (including operations)
  • Death or serious illness of close family member, dependent, partner or friend
  • National disruption or national mourning
  • Serious complications in pregnancy or maternity
  • Unexpected caring duties for child, family member or friend
  • Sudden deterioration or escalation of ongoing illness, condition or disability
  • Serious personal disruption (such as a relationship breakdown, separation, divorce, house move, victim of crime)
  • Serious incident (such as assault or harassment)
  • Major household problem (such as break-in, fire, homelessness)
  • Absence for public service (such as jury service, service with reserved forces)
  • Recent diagnosis of disability or long-term condition
  • Recent change, commencement or cessation of medication
  • Delay in the receipt of appropriate support for disability or long-term condition
  • IT issues (such as digital poverty or laptop malfunction or theft)


Examples of other Exceptional Circumstances

In line with the University’s definition of exceptional circumstances, the following examples may be considered eligible exceptional circumstances as part of supporting significant and impactful student opportunities to develop your studies, careers and employability skills. Additional evidence to support the claim may be requested.

  • Competing in national/international sports
  • Participation in cultural events
  • Faith-related observances and practices
  • Significant opportunities to benefit your career or studies
  • Significant financial issues which impact your studies and ability to complete assessments


Not normally considered valid Exceptional Circumstances
  • Short-term or minor illness (e.g sore throat, cough, cold)
  • Transport issues
  • Misreading of assessment submission dates and times
  • Personal events that could have been anticipated (such as a holiday, wedding, sports event or field trip) and where you have control over the date or may choose not to participate
  • Inadequate planning, organisation or time management or pressure of work
  • Pressure of academic workload, including the management of multiple submission deadlines (there may be exceptions related to disruption pertaining to placement modules, semesters abroad and where an assessment is contingent on work-related activities,which will be assessed on a case-by-case basis)
  • Demands of paid employment
  • Language of assessment not being the student’s main language


What supporting documentation might be required for my Exceptional Circumstances claim?

You will not need to submit supporting documentation as part of your application. Where deemed relevant, you may be asked for supporting documentation to support your claim. Examples include:

  • Medical certification (doctor’s note, hospital appointment, hospital or letter from a medical or specialist service)
  • Letter from solicitor or court
  • Written evidence from police (including crime reference number)

If you submit a claim or supporting documentation which is found to be false, forged or has been tampered with in any way, it will result in disciplinary action being taken against you.

How long will my Exceptional Circumstances claim last?

Exceptional Circumstances are normally only approved for one assessment period. If you feel that you are not able to submit work for your deferred reassessment submission deadline (which you were given in your approval outcome for your initial Exceptional Circumstances claim), a new Exceptional Circumstances claim should be submitted to defer your submission deadline to the following reassessment point in the academic year.

For example, if you submit an Exceptional Circumstances claim to defer one or more assessments which were due to be taken to the Semester One Undergraduate Central Assessment Board (29 March 2023) and your claim is approved, your new coursework submission deadline would be 31 May 2023. If you felt unable to meet the 31 May 2023 coursework submission deadline due to Exceptional Circumstances, a new Exceptional Circumstances claim should be submitted prior to the 31 May 2023 deadline, outlining the circumstances preventing you from submitting for this deadline. If this claim is then approved, your assessment deadline would be moved to 8 August 2023. Please note that if you are studying at one of our partner institutions, these dates may vary and we advise you to contact your institution's student administration teams to clarify your relevant deadlines.

Final year students should note that they will not be eligible to attend Graduation until all assessments have been successfully completed.

I've had my Exceptional Circumstances claim approved, but I now feel I'm able to submit my work on time. Can I still submit?

If you have submitted an Exceptional Circumstances claim, which has been approved, but then decide that you are able to meet the original submission deadline, this is permitted and you do not need to notify your tutor or Student and Registry Services that you no longer wish to use you Exceptional Circumstances claim to defer your assessment.

You should proceed to submit your coursework in line with the guidance for your original assessment submission (if you are unsure about how to submit your assessment, please contact your module tutor) and your Exceptional Circumstances claim will be automatically "voided" upon submission of the assessment in time for the original deadline.

The submitted assessment will then be marked within the timelines of the assessment and feedback procedures for the original assessments and marks and results issued to the student in line with these processes. Please bear in mind the Fit to Sit/Submit principle – if you choose not to use your approved Exceptional Circumstances claim and to instead submit your work in time for the original assessment submission deadline, you cannot then ask for your Exceptional Circumstances claim for the submitted assessment to be reinstated or for any mark that you receive for the submitted work to be discounted.

By submitting the work for the original assessment deadline, you are declaring that you are fit to do so.

Requests for review

Stage Two: Review

If you wish to request a review of the outcome of your Exceptional Circumstances claim, please read the Stage Two: Review information on the Appeals Policy and Procedure pages and submit your completed Review form within 10 working days of the date of written notification of the Panel outcome.

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