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Section 7: Support to Study

Published for 2022-23


7.1 What is Support to Study?7.6 Stage 3: UCL Support to Study Panel
7.2 If there is an immediate risk of harm7.7 Outcomes of the Support to Study Panel
7.3 Stage 1: Support Plans7.8 Appealing a Support to Study Panel decision
7.4 Stage 2: Reviewing Your Support Plan7.9 Flow Chart: Support to Study Procedure 
7.5 Direct Referrals 

7.1 What is Support to Study? 

1.UCL has a wide range of options to support you during your time with us, including Extenuating Circumstances, Summaries of Reasonable Adjustments, Exam Adjustments, Academic Adjustments and Interruption of Study. You are encouraged and expected to engage actively with these processes and to make full use of the support available to you through UCL Student Support and Wellbeing
2.Your Department or Faculty may identify a need to use this Support to Study Procedure if you have already engaged with UCL’s standard support processes (such as Extenuating Circumstances, Summaries of Reasonable Adjustments etc.) but they are not providing the right level of support for you. This will usually be because you are having significant, persistent or long-term difficulties with one or more of the following: 
 a)Engaging with classes, scheduled activities, group work and/ or online participation 
 b)Completing formative assessments, submitting coursework, attending exams or otherwise making an attempt at assessments 
 c)Being unable to study at the level and intensity required by your programme 
 d)Circumstances where a student has exhibited behaviour which would normally be handled under the Student Disciplinary Code and Procedures, but which may be (or is suspected to be) the result of an underlying physical and/or mental health condition. 
3.You may need extra support for a wide range of reasons such as ongoing or repeated extenuating circumstances, a disability, a medical or mental health condition, caring or parenting responsibilities, commitments as a critical worker (e.g. NHS staff), or you are affected by long-term traumatic events such as war, harassment or discrimination. You may be affected by more than one issue or there may not be an underlying reason. This Support to Study Procedure is designed to put in place a tailored package of measures to support and safeguard both you as an individual and the UCL community. 
4.It is important to note that Support to Study is designed to help if UCL’s normal Student Support Framework mechanisms are not providing the right level of support. It should not be used for occasional or isolated incidents of extenuating circumstances, non-attendance or failure at assessment, for example. 
5.The need to use Support to Study will be identified by your Department or Faculty; you will not be able to apply for Support to Study yourself. However, if you think that you need extra support, please speak to your Personal Tutor, Student Adviser or another trusted member of staff in your Department, who can help you to look at your options.  
 Help and advice
6.If you need help with this procedure, further information about the support services available to you can be found in Section 1.2: Help and Advice
 Looking after your data
7.UCL will look after your data carefully and sensitively. Where your personal information needs to be shared with members of the UCL community in order to facilitate your support, this will only be done with your consent and on a 'need-to-know' basis. Section 1.4: Confidentiality and Looking After Your Data includes more information. 
 If you do not engage with the Support to Study process
8.Support to Study is, first and foremost, designed to help and support you so that you can get the most out of your time with UCL. However if, at any stage, you do not engage with the process, do not respond to communications or do not attend a meeting, your Faculty Tutor (or their nominee) may require you to attend a Mandatory Faculty Interview under the procedures in Chapter 6, Section 4.  

7.2 If there is an immediate risk of harm

 

Crisis support 

If you are in immediate danger of hurting yourself or others: 

If you are feeling distressed and need urgent support: 

  • Contact your GP surgery to request an emergency appointment. 
  • If your GP surgery isn't open, call the free NHS out-of-hours medical line on 111 for help accessing the right services. 
  • You can call the Samaritans on 116 123 to talk to someone at any time, day or night. 
  • Nightline are a listening service for students, by students - they are available overnight via live web chat from 6pm - 2am. 
1.Exceptionally, there may be circumstances where UCL needs to take swift action to protect the safety and wellbeing of an individual student or the wider UCL community. This might include circumstances where: 
 a)There is a serious and immediate risk of harm to you or others. 
 b)You are unable to study, work and/ or live co-operatively and in close proximity with others. 
 c)Your conduct is impacting negatively on the wellbeing of fellow students and staff. 
 d)UCL considers that the needs, rights, safety and security of the UCL community outweigh those of an individual. 
 e)There is a serious risk to the University’s reputation. 
 Student of Concern Procedure 
2.If there is an immediate risk of harm, the Student of Concern Procedure should be used in the first instance.  
3.

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing also publish a range of policies and protocols for emergencies, including:

4.This Support to Study Procedure may subsequently be used to provide you with longer-term help. This may include using the expedited procedure in Section 7.5: Direct Referrals

7.3 Stage 1: Support Plans

1.The first step in the process is normally to set up a Support Plan. A Support Plan is a tailored support package that includes actions for you and your Department.  
2.Actions can take a wide range of forms depending on your specific circumstances. The following examples are provided to help you understand the types of support that might be available (please note that some adjustments are subject to eligibility criteria): 

Recommendations for you to apply for: 

 

Recommendations for you to contact and engage with: 

 

Actions for your Department: 

 

  • To provide pastoral support to help you apply for Extenuating Circumstances, SoRAs, Interruptions, Academic Adjustments, Exam Adjustments or other support 
  • To provide pastoral support to help you contact and engage with UCL support services such as Student Support and Wellbeing or Student Psychological and Counselling Services. 

Actions for you: 

  • To attend all personal tutorials, academic tutorials and meetings with UCL staff as requested. 
  • To respond appropriately and in a timely manner to UCL communications, including providing requested information within a specified time period. 
  • To maintain a certain level of attendance and/ or engagement for the remainder of the module, term or academic session. This may be higher than the minimum attendance/ engagement requirement
  • To make an assessable attempt at formative and summative assessments. 
  • Where appropriate, to follow the Extenuating Circumstances procedures to obtain an extension or a deferral in advance of any assessments affected by adverse circumstances. 
  • To complete additional work to ensure sufficient coverage of the syllabus.  
  • To complete 'Understanding Academic Integrity', UCL's online and self-paced course designed to help you develop good academic practice. 
  • To complete an Academic Writing in English or English Language Skills for Academic Purposes course.  
  • To provide evidence of continuing medical or specialist treatment. 
3.All UCL programmes require you to reach specific academic standards in order to be awarded a UCL qualification. Some programmes also have Fitness to Practise requirements or Professional Competency Standards (e.g. for clinicians or teacher training). UCL cannot reduce or change our academic or professional standards, but we can provide additional support to help you attain them. 
 Setting up a Support Plan
4.The Support Plan ‘Author’ will normally be your Departmental Tutor. Support Plans may also be set up by your Faculty Tutor or their nominee, or the Vice-Provost (Education & Student Experience) or their nominee. 
5.Support Plans should be set up in a meeting between you and the author, which may be in person or online. The author may invite your Personal Tutor, Student Adviser or another appropriate member of departmental staff to attend the meeting. You may invite a friend, who should be a member of staff at UCL, Students’ Union Adviser, or a student currently registered at UCL. 
6.At the meeting, you will be given the opportunity to discuss your difficulties and the steps which you, your Department and your Faculty might be able to take to support you. 
7.Templates are available to departments to help them write an effective plan. 
8.The Support Plan must specify a duration and when your progress will be reviewed
9.Support Plans should be sent to you as soon as possible and no more than ten working days after your meeting with the author. 
10.If you do not engage with the process, do not respond to communications or do not attend a meeting, your Faculty Tutor (or their nominee) may require you to attend a Mandatory Faculty Interview.  

7.4 Stage 2: Reviewing Your Support Plan

1.Your Support Plan will be reviewed at an appropriate point in time to ensure that it is supporting you effectively. Departments should aim to schedule the review around four weeks (and no more than eight weeks) after the Support Plan is first set up. 
2.The review should take the form of a meeting between you and the author, which may take place in person or online. The author may invite your Personal Tutor, Student Adviser or another appropriate member of departmental staff to attend the meeting. You may invite a friend, who should be a member of staff at UCL, Students’ Union Adviser, or a student currently registered at UCL. 
3.The review meeting will lead to one of the following outcomes: 
 a)If your Support Plan is working effectively, it may be established as a long-term support mechanism for you. Your Department should arrange periodic check-ins with you to ensure that the Support Plan is continuing to work effectively. If your circumstances change, or your Support Plan stops working effectively, either you or your Department can initiate a more formal Stage 2 Review at an appropriate time. The Stage 2 Review may lead to a referral to the Support to Study Panel (see Stage 3 below). 
 b)If the Support Plan has worked effectively and you are no longer having difficulties, the author may close your Support Plan and you will not be required to undertake any further actions. 
 c)If the Support Plan is not working effectively and you are still having significant and persistent difficulties: 
  i.You will normally be referred to the UCL Support to Study Panel (see Stage 3 below), or  
  ii.The author may draw up a revised Support Plan with new or amended actions for you and your Department. If you are given a revised Support Plan, a second review meeting should be scheduled for an appropriate date. You will normally only be given a revised Support Plan on one occasion – if you are continuing to have difficulties, your Department should refer you to the Support to Study Panel for further help (see Stage 3 below). 
4.You should receive the decision in writing within five working days of the Review Meeting. 

7.5 Direct Referrals

1.Exceptionally, it may be necessary to refer you directly to the Support to Study Panel without putting a Support Plan in place first. This may be needed if, for example, you have very complex needs, you have already had a Support Plan in the past, or if you need more urgent help. 
2.If your Department feels that a direct referral is needed, they will contact your Faculty Tutor (or their nominee) who will review your circumstances and make the referral if they think that would be the most effective and appropriate way of supporting you. 
 Provisional Mandatory Interruption 
3.In very exceptional circumstances it may be necessary for UCL to immediately apply a Provisional Mandatory Interruption until the Support to Study Panel can meet. This should only be used when there are no other ways for UCL to ensure your safety or the safety of others.  
4.A Provisional Mandatory Interruption must be approved by the Director of UCL Academic Services or their nominee. The Support to Study Panel will then meet as quickly as is practicable. 

7.6 Stage 3: UCL Support to Study Panel 

1.If your Support Plan is not providing the right level of support, or you are continuing to have significant and persistent difficulties that are affecting your studies, you may be referred to the UCL Support to Study Panel. The Panel is a small group of independent and experienced UCL staff who can look at the difficulties that you are having and how best UCL can support you. 
 Setting up a Support to Study Panel
2.The Secretary of the Support to Study Panel should let you know of the decision to hold a Panel as early as possible: 
 a)If you are referred via a Support Plan, you should receive notice within fifteen working days of your Support Plan Review Meeting.  
 b)If you have a Direct Referral from your Faculty Tutor (or their nominee) i.e. without a Support Plan being put in place first, the Secretary will let you know you as soon as possible. 
3.The Secretary will send you: 
 a)An invitation to agree a suitable date, time, and location for the Panel meeting. 
 b)An invitation for you to submit a statement and/ or supporting evidence (see below). 
 c)An invitation for you to bring a friend – this may be a friend, relative, Students’ Union Adviser or another person who can support you through the process. Please note that, while the person may be legally qualified, they will not be acting in a legal capacity.  
 d)A link to these Support to Study procedures. 
 Your statement and supporting evidence
4.You will be invited to submit a statement in advance of the meeting. This is optional, but it can help the Panel to understand your circumstances and the difficulties that you have been having. Your statement can be written or you may prefer to submit a video or audio recording. You will also have the opportunity to talk about your circumstances at the Panel meeting itself. 
5.Your statement should include details of any ‘mitigating factors’ which you wish to be taken into consideration, such as Extenuating Circumstances, a disability or long-term medical or mental health condition, or other difficulties that are affecting your ability to study. 
6.You will also be asked if you would like to submit any supporting evidence e.g. from a registered doctor or medical practitioner (see Section 1.5: Providing Supporting Evidence).  
7.If you are in touch with UCL Student Support and Wellbeing or UCL Student Psychological and Counselling Services you may be able to ask them to provide some supporting evidence. 
8.The Students’ Union Advice Service can advise you on how to put together your statement and evidence, and what it would be helpful and appropriate to include. 
9.You will need to send the Secretary your statement and supporting evidence at least two working days before the Support to Study Panel meeting. 
10.If you need more time to gather evidence, you should submit your statement on time and tell the Secretary that your evidence is to follow. The Panel Chair will assess whether the Panel meeting should be postponed until your evidence is available, or whether the Panel should meet and allow you to submit your evidence afterwards.  
 You Department’s statement and supporting evidence
11.The Secretary will also write to your Support Plan Author and Faculty Tutor (or their nominee) to ask them to provide a statement. This may include a case history, supporting evidence and any recommendations which they may have for possible panel outcomes. 
 Panel membership
12.The Panel will include:  
 a)A Faculty Tutor (or equivalent) from another faculty, who will be Chair of the Panel; and  
 b)A Sabbatical Officer of the Students' Union UCL; and 
 c)The Director of Student Support and Wellbeing or their nominee; and 
 d)The Director of UCL Academic Services or their nominee. 
13.The quorum (minimum number of members present) for the Support to Study Panel is four, which must include the Chair or their nominee. 
14.A Panel Secretary will also be appointed and will be responsible for communicating with you, circulating papers, organising meetings etc.  
 Panel meeting
15.The Panel meeting should take place no more than one calendar month after you receive the decision from the Support Plan Author, unless: 
 a)There are reasonable circumstances that make this impractical, in which case you will be kept informed of this; or  
 b)You have reasonable grounds to request a postponement of the Panel meeting to a later date. 
16.The Secretary will provide both you and the Panel members with: 
 a)A copy of your Support Plan(s). 
 b)Your statement and/ or supporting evidence. 
 c)The statement and/ or supporting evidence from your Support Plan Author/ Faculty Tutor. 
 d)The Panel may also invite UCL Student Support and Wellbeing to provide a statement, if you are in touch with their service. 
17.The meeting may take place in person or online. An audio recording of the meeting will be taken to act as a record in the event of an appeal. 
18.At the meeting, the Support to Study Panel will: 
 a)Ask you about any mitigating factors which you would like to be taken into consideration and what outcomes and/or support you would like to see. 
 b)Discuss how UCL can provide immediate and/ or longer-term support with your mental and/ or physical health and wellbeing. 
 c)Explain the possible outcomes of the meeting. 
19.If you do not engage with the Support to Study Panel process, do not respond to communications or do not attend the Panel meeting, the Chair may agree to hold the Panel meeting in your absence and/ or your Faculty Tutor (or their nominee) may require you to attend a Mandatory Faculty Interview, under the procedures in Chapter 6, Section 4.  

7.7 Outcomes of the Support to Study Panel

1.Following the meeting, the Panel will agree a plan of action. The Panel should consult with your Department and/ or Faculty to determine what outcomes are possible and appropriate on your particular programme. This may include one or more of the following:

Outcome 

What this means 

1. New Support Plan 

  • All students who are continuing their studies at UCL should have a new Support Plan put in place to provide continued support. 
  • Relevant regulations: Section 7.3: Support Plans

2. Any Extenuating Circumstances mitigation 

  • The Panel may offer you any of the options available through the Extenuating Circumstances procedures, which includes (but is not limited to) extensions, deferrals, alternative methods of assessment and component or module exclusions.  
  • Mitigations should be processed by the Support to Study Panel, but they may consult with your Department and/ or Faculty Extenuating Circumstances Panel to ensure that the mitigation is possible and appropriate. 
  • You may be asked to provide supporting evidence to receive some mitigations, although the Support to Study Panel may agree to waive the evidence requirement in exceptional circumstances. 
  • Relevant regulations: Section 2: Short-term Illness and Other Extenuating Circumstances

3. Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SoRA) 

4. Academic Adjustments 

  • The Panel may recommend specific Academic Adjustments to support long-term commitments and responsibilities such as parenting, caring or religious observance. 
  • Relevant regulations: Section 4: Academic Adjustments

5. Exam Adjustments 

6. Change of Programme Diet and Module Substitutions 

  • Your ‘Programme Diet’ is the combination of modules which you need to complete for a particular programme of study. It may be possible to change your programme diet by allowing you to change or substitute one or more modules. 
  • Your Programme Diet still needs to meet the requirements of UCL’s Qualifications and Credit Framework in terms of the number of credits completed at each level of study. 
  • Relevant regulations: Chapter 3, Section 2: Module Selection

7. Mandatory Deferral with Tuition in specified module(s) 

  • You will need to retake the affected module(s) with attendance in the following academic session, but you will not pay additional tuition fees or forfeit an assessment attempt.  
  • The marks for a Deferral of a first attempt will be uncapped; the marks for a Deferral of a second attempt will be capped at the Pass Mark. 
  • Deferrals are subject to the regulations in Chapter 4,Part A, Section 8: Deferred Assessment

8. Mandatory Repeat in specified module(s) 

  • You will need to retake the affected module(s) with attendance and tuition fees in the following academic session and you will forfeit an assessment attempt.  
  • The marks for any modules successfully completed on Repeat will be capped at the Pass Mark. 
  • Repeats are subject to the regulations in Chapter 4, Part A, Section 9: Consequences of Failure

9. Mandatory Interruption of Study 

  • You will be required to take time out of your studies and return the following academic session. 
  • The Panel will determine the following, using Section 6: Interruption of Study to guide their decisions: 
    • Your Date of Interruption. 
    • Your Return Date. 
    • Which modules you will carry forwards and which modules you will need to Repeat on your return from interruption.  
    • Whether Extenuating Circumstances make you eligible for a Deferral with Tuition instead of a Repeat in any modules. 
    • Whether Extenuating Circumstances make you eligible for an early Return Date. 
    • Whether you require a Student Support and Wellbeing Welfare Review before you can return to UCL. 
  • The Panel may need to consult with UCL‘s Fees, Funding and Scholarship teams, or UCL’s Visa and Immigration Compliance Team to ensure that these are taken into consideration.  
  • The Panel may need to consult with your Department and/ or Faculty on the details of your interruption to ensure that you are properly supported. 
  • The Panel should also make arrangements to put in place a new Support Plan for when you return to UCL: 
    • The new Support Plan should set out the steps which you need to take to maintain your performance and/ or engagement, and the support that is available from your Department, Faculty and UCL Student Support and Wellbeing. 
    • Provisions must be made for the new Support Plan to be reviewed at an appropriate point in time to ensure that you are properly supported.  
  • If you do not engage with your new Support Plan, you will not normally be eligible for another Mandatory Interruption and you may be at risk of a Mandatory Withdrawal
  • You should be invited to attend an informal meeting with your Personal Tutor or another member of staff in your Department to help you complete a Return to Study Plan in Portico. This meeting is designed to help you think through the implications of interrupting – for example on fees, funding, visas, accommodation etc. - and to make sure there is a plan in place to make your return to UCL as smooth as possible. 
  • Once the Mandatory Interruption is confirmed, you will be subject to the regulations in Sections 6.8 to 6.11: Interruption of Study.  
  • Relevant regulations: Section 6: Interruption of Study 
  • Student guidance: Interrupting or withdrawing from your studies

10. Mandatory Change of Mode of Attendance 

  • You will be required to transfer to Part-time or Flexible/ Modular study, if this is possible in the curriculum. 
    • UCL Undergraduate programmes generally only operate in Full-time mode. If the curriculum will allow, it may be possible to create an exceptional Part-time mode for you.  
    • Some Taught Postgraduate programmes already have Part-time or Flexible/ Modular modes of attendance to which you can be transferred. If a different mode does not currently exist, it may be possible to create a Part-time or Flexible/ Modular mode for you, if the curriculum can accommodate this. 
  • Relevant regulations: Chapter 3, Section 6: Change of Mode of Attendance.  

11. Mandatory Programme Transfer  

  • You will be required to transfer to a different programme of study, where an appropriate programme is available. 
  • This may include transfers: 
    • From a Study Abroad programme onto a standard programme 
    • From a Placement programme onto a standard programme 
    • From an Integrated Masters programme onto a Bachelors programme 
    • To a programme with a curriculum more suited to your abilities. 
  • Relevant regulations: Chapter 3, Section 5: Programme Transfers

12. Mandatory Withdrawal from UCL  

  • You will be required to discontinue your studies at UCL. 
  • The Panel will: 
    • Consider whether you require any immediate or longer-term support with your mental and physical health and wellbeing. 
    • Consider whether you might be eligible for an Interim Qualification. 
    • Confirm the arrangements for providing you with a transcript for any modules successfully completed. 
    • Confirm the formal date of withdrawal. 
    • Ensure that you are aware of how to formally appeal the decision. 
  • Once you are withdrawn, you will not normally be eligible to have your UCL record re-opened. 
  • Relevant regulations: Chapter 3, Section 7: Withdrawing from UCL
  • Student guidance: Withdrawing from your programme 
 Once a decision has been made
2.After the Panel, you will be invited to a follow-up meeting with the Chair or their nominee to discuss the outcome.  
3.The meeting may take place in person or online. The Chair may invite your Personal Tutor, Student Adviser or another appropriate member of departmental staff to attend the meeting. You may invite a friend, who should be a member of staff at UCL, Students’ Union Adviser, or a student currently registered at UCL. 
4.You should also receive a formal written notification of the decision within ten working days of the follow-up meeting. If you do not wish to attend the follow-up meeting, or you do not respond to reasonable attempts to communicate with you, the Panel will issue a written decision. 
5.The outcome of the Panel should not be formally applied to your student record until the ten-working day appeals window has closed (see Section 7.8 below). 

7.8 Appealing a Support to Study Panel decision

1.If you are dissatisfied with a decision made by the Support to Study Panel, appeals may be considered on the grounds that there was a significant procedural irregularity in the conduct of the Support to Study Panel that had a material impact on the fairness of the panel outcome. 
2.Appeals must be submitted to the Support to Study Panel Secretary within ten working days of the official notification of the panel’s decision. 
3.Appeals will be considered by a senior member of staff nominated by the Vice-Provost (Education & Student Experience)/ Director of Academic Services. The Appeal Assessor must not have been involved in the case previously.  
4.Where an appeal is upheld in part or in full the Appeal Assessor will either: 
 a)Request that the original Support to Study Panel reviews its decision, with recommendations as required. 
 b)Appoint a new Support to Study Panel with members who were not involved in the original decision to look at the case and make a new decision. 
5.Where an appeal is upheld, an outcome letter will be issued explaining what actions will be taken. A Completion of Procedures letter can be issued upon request. 
6.Where an appeal is not upheld and is rejected the Appeal Assessor must provide a clear reason for any decisions reached and confirm that the original decision being appealed against will stand. 
7.The outcome of an appeal that is not upheld will be issued in the form of a Completion of Procedures letter.  
8.If you remain dissatisfied, once you have received a Completion of Procedures letter confirming that the internal procedures of UCL have been concluded, you have the right to submit a complaint for review to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). OIA complaints must be submitted no more than 12 months from the date of the Completion of Procedures letter, using the OIA’s Scheme Application form, available from the OIA website

 7.9 Flow Chart: Support to Study Procedure

 Solid boxes/ lines indicate expected process. Dotted lines indicate other possible options.