UCL News


Extenuating circumstances and support for disabled students

13 November 2015

UCL takes its students' wellbeing extremely seriously and that's why in September we changed our policy, in consultation with students, on extenuating circumstances.

Extenuating circumstances and support for disabled students

The term 'extenuating circumstances' covers emergency situations that might mean you can't sit an exam or complete your coursework on time. The policy helps you to apply for an extension, deferral or other special arrangements so that you can complete your assessment and get the grade you deserve. We know that students often do not want to ask for help, but feel they must.

We believed there was not enough consistency in how departments were applying the previous policy. Our new policy, which was formed by staff, student representatives, and UCLU sabbatical officers, means any student - no matter which department they are in - will be treated in the same way. And that means with confidentiality, compassion, respect and speed.

Other help

Other help - different to extenuating circumstances - is in place for students with disabilities or long-term conditions. We are proud of our Student Disability Service, which currently supports about 3,000 students, and know the difference it makes.

Any student can contact our experts in Student Disability Services or Student Psychological Services who will work with you to put together an individual plan to support you throughout your studies. This might include an extension, extra time, specialist equipment or a wide range of other options.

The important thing is that we put in a long-term plan for all of your assessments so that you don't have to keep applying for support for every assignment.

Of course if you have a long-term condition, you may also face emergencies such as a flare-up of your condition or something else entirely, in which case you can make use of the extenuating circumstances policy, as well as the longer-term support provided by Student Disability Services and Student Psychological Services.

If you, or someone you know, would like to talk to our support services, please get in touch with them by phone on 020 7679 0100 or by email at disability@ucl.ac.uk.

You can also visit our team in person at the Student Support Centre, Level 4, UCL Institute of Education, and further information is available on our website.

If you are facing an emergency which you think will impact on your ability to complete an assignment, the Extenuating Circumstances Policy describes how you can access the help that you need.

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Derfel Owen, Director of Academic Services