IOE Student Helpdesk


Extenuating Circumstances

The EC guidance on this page is only for students studying in IOE (Faculty of Education and Society). We are not able to process ECs or respond to queries that are submitted by non-IOE students. Non-IOE students should refer to their own faculties for EC advice.

What are Extenuating Circumstances?

‘Extenuating Circumstances’ (often referred to as ‘ECs’) are events which are sudden, unexpected, significantly disruptive and beyond your control and which may affect your performance at summative assessment, such as a serious illness or the death of a close relative. 

  • You can submit an EC claim to access ‘mitigation’ such as an extension or deferring an assessment to a later date
  • Any student considering an EC application needs to meet the grounds for EC

Are you already on a Study Support Plan or a Learning Agreement?

Often students on a Study Support Plan or a Learning Agreement require extensions to their assessments as part of the agreed mitigation plan. If this is the case, you must discuss the requirements with the author of the Study Support Plan or the Learning Agreement (usually the Programme Leader). If an extension is found to be the best way to support you, you will then be able to apply for an extension via Portico and provide your completed and signed Study Support Plan or Learning Agreement as evidence. EC requests not mentioned on your Study Support Plan or Learning Agreement will not be accepted and any extensions given outside of the agreed plan will be void. 

If you are not sure whether you should use Extenuating Circumstances, Section 1: How to Use This Framework includes details of all the different support that is available to you. 

To contact the IOE EC team, please email ioe-ec@ucl.ac.uk
For further information visit the UCL Academic Manual

Longer-term conditions

ECs are designed for emergencies. If your circumstances are not sudden, unexpected and beyond your control, UCL has a wide range of other options to support your studies – please see Section 1: How to Use This Framework for more details.    

If you are disabled or have a health condition that you feel might impact on your ability to perform in assessments, you can apply for reasonable adjustments to your assessment(s).

Where a student with a disability or long-term condition needs regular extensions to coursework deadlines this should be explicitly stated in the Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SoRA). Such students do not need to submit a separate EC application as an extension will be automatically granted as per their SoRA.
If a student who already has a SoRA extension in place needs additional time and the
grounds for EC are met, they are able to apply for further extensions using this process.

For further information on SoRAs, please visit our SoRA FAQs

Applying for an EC


  • Check if your circumstance meets the grounds for EC. We may be able to support you better through the wider Student Support Framework.
  • Submit your EC application as soon as possible, normally no more than one week after the first affected assessment. See Section 2.9: If you miss the deadline for EC claims.  Extenuating Circumstances claims cannot be considered through these procedures once your formal results have been published. However, you have the right to appeal your results via the Academic Appeals Procedure
  • Select a form of mitigations. If you are not sure which mitigation is right for you, you can discuss this with your personal tutor or the IOE EC team. A wide range of UCL support services are available for you, too. Section 1.2: Help and Advice includes more information. 
  • Be clear on your assessment deadlines. On the application form you will be asked to state your deadline – this should be the most recent deadline. If you had a SoRA extension, please state the date after the SoRA extension was granted. If you had previous extensions for the same assessment, state the most recent deadline.


Most EC applications need to be supported by written evidence from an appropriate, independent and verifiable authority such as a doctor or registered medical practitioner. Further information about the types of evidence which you might be able to use is available in Section 1.5: Providing Supporting Evidence.  

Your evidence will need to cover the full period for which you are requesting mitigation.

If you cannot obtain the necessary evidence in time to submit your EC claim, you must still submit your application on time and indicate that your evidence is to follow.  You must submit your late evidence no more than four weeks after submitting your EC application. A decision cannot be made until your evidence is received. This may affect the type of mitigation that is available to you. 

Please be advised that all photographs of positive Covid-19 tests MUST have your student ID in the photograph and also have the date clearly visible on a phone or a laptop. Photographs of LFT Covid-19 tests on their own will NOT be accepted as evidence for EC. 

Applying for an EC using self-certification

You can self-certify for Extenuating Circumstances on a limited number of occasions, within the following defined criteria. See Section 2.7: Self-CertificationYou are expected to only submit self-certified claims that meet the criteria set out in Section 2.5: Grounds for Extenuating Circumstances.

  • You can only self-certify before the assessment takes place. Any claims submitted after the assessment has started must be accompanied by evidence.
  • Self-certification cannot be used to defer an assessment which you have already taken, or to suspend late submission penalties. 
  • Self-certification periods should be two weeks (ten working days) apart and self-certified claims cannot be accepted more than two weeks (ten working days) before the first affected assessment.   


After you have read all of the guidance and gathered your evidence, please submit your EC application on Portico

EC application using portico

  • Navigate to the MyStudies tab and
  • click on My Extenuating Circumstances
  • follow the on-screen prompts to complete your application

A comprehensive guide on submitting an EC claim can be found here: Guide to submitting your claim on Portico

If the EC Panel does not have enough evidence to make a decision, you may be asked to provide new or additional evidence. You will need to provide the additional evidence within four weeks of being contacted. If you do not submit the requested evidence, your claim will normally be rejected.  Your evidence will need to cover the full period for which you are requesting mitigation. See Section 1.5: Providing Supporting Evidence


All IOE EC requests are considered by the IOE EC panel.

The IOE EC panel will decide whether your claim meets the criteria and which mitigation is suitable for your circumstances. The IOE EC may also need to seek approval from your faculty or from the Vice-Provost (Education and Student Experience) for some types of mitigation.  

Please note that if we receive your EC request by Monday 11.59 pm (UK time) of every week, your EC application will be considered at Thursday panel in the same week. EC requests received after Monday 11.59 pm (UK time) will be considered at the next week's IOE EC panel.

You should receive a response as soon as possible and no more than ten working days after submitting your application (unless you are submitting your evidence late). There may be good reasons why a decision cannot be made within this timeframe – for example if your case needs to be escalated to your Faculty EC Panel. If this is the case, the panel will let you know, within ten working days of receiving your application, that more time is needed to process your claim.

If you have not received a decision on your EC claim at the time of the assessment /deadline and if it is possible for you to do so, you should attend/submit your assessment if the decision for your ECs is still pending. In the event your EC claim is approved then the mitigation will be applied retrospectively. If your claim is rejected then your marks will be taken from the assessment you attended/submitted. 

For further information on Extenuating Circumstances, please visit the UCL Academic Manual