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Academic

The Advice and Representation Centre is a service provided by the Union of Brunel Students. We provide a free, confidential and non-judgemental service for all students at Brunel University.
We are independent of the University which means we can represent you fully.

We offer practical advice on all kinds of subjects relating to student life

  • Academic misconduct

  • Disciplinaries

  • Academic Appeals

  • Fitness To Study

  • Professional Suitability

  • Change of Plan

 

Academic Misconduct

The University has a duty to respond to concerns about student Academic Misconduct. Student misconduct which can result in students facing disciplinary procedures is described by the University in section entitled Academic Misconduct Procedure  

  • Plagiarism, which is defined as the knowing or reckless presentation of another person’s work or ideas as one’s own, and includes the use of published or unpublished work without acknowledging the source; 
  • Cheating, which is defined as acting dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an academic advantage. This includes the falsification of information and cheating in examinations; 
  • Collusion, which is defined as aiding or attempting to aid another member of the University in gaining an unfair academic advantage by: 1. The unauthorised and/or unacknowledged collaboration of persons in a piece of assessed work, and/or; 2. Allowing a piece of assessed work to be copied by another person or persons. 
  • Obtaining or purchasing work from another person or organisation and submitting it as one’s own; 
  • Research misconduct, as defined in the Research Integrity Code of Practice (concerns about research misconduct should first be reported to the Secretary to Council, who may refer a matter for consideration under this Regulation); 
  • Breaches of any University rules, regulations, policies or procedures relating to academic activity or assessment, such as the Examinations Policy.

Concern about your academic misconduct must first be reported to the Deputy Dean (Academic Affairs) of your allocated College. 

An Investigating Officer will be allocated to your case and the Investigating Officer will write to you to notify you of the investigation.

The Investigating Officer may request to meet with you on one or more occasions during the course of the investigation. They will give you at least 5 working days’ notice of any such meetings.

The Investigating Officer may invite you to provide a written response to the concerns and to present any supporting information. You will normally be given 10 working days to respond.

Referral Once the Deputy Dean (Academic Affairs) has received the Officer’s report a decision may be made to hold a hearing or you may receive an outcome via letter.

The University will normally respond to concerns relating to the academic misconduct of a student in accordance with the Academic Misconduct Procedure.

This guide should be read in conjunction with Senate Regulation 6 – Student Conduct (Academic and Non-Academic).

More detailed information can be found below.

 

What is academic misconduct?

From the moment you register with the University, you agree to abide by Brunel rules and regulations. Academic integrity is vital to any Higher Education Institution and Brunel University is no different.

As you can see from the list on page 1, academic misconduct involves a varied range of possibilities and it may be that you are considered to be in breach of more than one regulation.

This guide is about conduct which breaches academic rules. If you are facing a disciplinary following an offence that is not academic in nature then please refer to the ARC guide on non-academic misconduct and the Universities information on Student Disciplinary Procedure.

What is Plagiarism, Collusion and Cheating?

The most common academic disciplinary offences considered under the academic disciplinary procedure are Plagiarism, Collusion and Cheating:  

Plagiarism can occur quite easily but can incur a penalty that is likely to impact your Grade Point Average (GPA).

Most assignments will involve some form of referencing and if you get it wrong, you could be seen to be trying to gain an unfair advantage by using work/sources that are not your ideas because you failed to acknowledge them.

Simply failing to proofread your work before submission or failing to understand how to properly reference can mean you may be investigated for academic misconduct.

It is also possible to plagiarise your own work if you use text that you have used in a prior assignment and not acknowledged in referencing in the current assessment.

Where group work contains plagiarised work, all group members will be in question.

 

Collusion in assessments is not allowed with the exception of some group work projects.

Discussing ideas is good practice but your work must always be your own independent work.

Seeking support from a friend is allowable but asking a friend to do your work is collusion.

Collusion does not necessarily mean your own work; it could be you helping a friend; this is still in breach of the rules.

 

Cheating generally involves examinations but can be in relation to any academic work, research, any assessment.

Taking a book into an examination that is not allowed will be considered as cheating.

Taking revision notes into an examination will normally be regarded as cheating.

Written notes on your hand, even if not associated to that exam may be considered as cheating

The University consider any attempted action, even if unsuccessful and this will result in a penalty, if proven.
 

Contract Cheating it goes without saying that buying an essay online is not acceptable and is considered as contract cheating.

The Academic Skills Service can help you further to improve your writing practice.

The Academic Misconduct Process

Reporting of concerns

A concern may arise when your work is being marked, when you are being monitored in an examination therefore it is likely to take several weeks before you receive a letter of concern.

A marker, module lead or invigilator may raise a concern and forward it to the Deputy Dean (Academic Affairs).

The Deputy Dean will decide whether the concern falls within the scope of the Academic Misconduct Policy (and SR6).

 

Where the concern does fall within the scope of this procedure, they will appoint an independent Investigating Officer to investigate the concern.

 

Where the concern does not fall within the scope of this procedure, they may either dismiss the concern or refer it for consideration under any other relevant University regulation or procedure. 

Investigation

The Investigating Officer will first write to you to notify you of the investigation. This will usually be via email and:

Inform you of the concern that has been raised, the purpose of the investigation and will provide a copy of the academic misconduct procedure and Senate Regulation 6.

Inform you that if you do not engage with the investigation, including attending any meetings when requested, the investigation may continue in your absence.

May include the gathering of written, oral and other information from relevant sources.

 

My letter mentions Temporary Suspension and/or Exclusion:

The University have the right to temporarily suspend you from all or part of your studies.

This may include suspension from placement or any other University activity, including examinations, receiving information about results or progression, and re-enrolment.

You are temporarily excluded as a student from using all or particular University services or facilities and/or entering the University campus.

This may also include temporarily withdrawing or amending your Brunel computer account access privileges.

If you breach the terms of your suspension and/or exclusion this will be considered a further potential breach of the Universities rules of Discipline. Therefore a further Disciplinary Procedure might be instigated against you.

It is vital that you do not come onto campus without permission from the Secretary to the Misconduct and Professional Suitability Board, Ms Liz Racz (01895 265472 / conduct@brunel.ac.uk)

The agreement shall normally be given for the purposes of seeking the advice or support from the ARC.

Can I appeal the decision to Temporary Suspend and/or Exclude me?

You do have the opportunity to appeal the decision, but it must fall within the below basis:

 

That there has been a procedural irregularity.

That there was bias on the part of the decision-maker.

That the decision is unreasonable and/or disproportionate.

d) That there is new material evidence which the student can demonstrate was for good reason not previously available.

 

If you DO decide to appeal, then you must let the Secretary to the Misconduct Panel know within 10 working days of the decision to temporarily suspend and/or exclude you.

 

The Academic Registrar will consider your appeal and will:

 

Reject your appeal - Maintain the terms of the temporary suspension and/or exclusion.

Partially accepted your appeal - Vary the terms of the temporary suspension and/or exclusion.

Uphold your appeal - End the temporary suspension and/or exclusion.

 

Meeting the Investigating Officer

The Investigating Officer may request to meet with you on one or more occasions during the course of the investigation and will:

Inform you of the purpose of any meetings in advance.

Give you at least 5 working days’ notice of any such meetings.

Inform you of your entitlement to be accompanied to and/or represented at any such meetings in accordance with Paragraph 12 of this procedure.

Normally take notes of any meetings and a copy will be made available to you.

 

What do I say when I meet the Investigating Officer?

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the concerns that have been raised and to help the Investigating Officer ascertain what has occurred.

We would always advise you to be honest in your response and explain what happened in your own words. It is vital you thoroughly look through any evidence that is presented against you in order to understand why the concern has been raised.

Written Response

The Investigating Officer may invite you to provide a written response to the concerns and to present any supporting information or evidence.

You will normally get 10 working days from the date of the letter/email to submit your response.

 

What do I write in my Response?

As with the meeting, you just need to be honest and respond in your own words. It would be useful if you could include:

Whether you admit or deny the allegations?

If you admit them then was it intentional/or not?

If after seeing the evidence, you can understand why the concern has been raised?

If there may have been any circumstances that impacted on the work involved or may have impacted your academic ability.

Evidence to support any issues you may have encountered.

Consider if you have any preparatory materials and draft work that may assist you in evidencing the work is yours if applicable.

Whether you understand how to reference.

Whether you proofread the work before submission.

 

Investigation conclusion

The Investigating Officer will provide a report and copies of information to the Deputy Dean (Academic Affairs). The report should be copied to you also. They can decide to:

Dismiss the concern and take no further action.

Determine that the concern relates to poor academic practice, in which case the concern will be dismissed. Your work will be marked on its merits for the sections of work that are yours and this could mean the work does not pass.

Refer the concern back to the Investigating Officer for further investigation.

Refer the concern to the Clerk to the MPS board for further action.

Refer the concern for consideration under another University regulation or procedure.

The Clerk to the MPS board will take one of the following actions:

If it is considered to be less serious, where the matter may be considered a first offence (no previous history of academic misconduct).

Refer the concern for consideration by the Vice-Chancellor’s Representative (VCR).

You will be informed of the outcome by letter which will be emailed to you.

It is considered to be more serious, where the matter may be considered a second offence (previous history of academic misconduct).

Refer the concern for consideration at an Academic Misconduct Panel hearing. A hearing will convene.

Refer a case back to the Deputy Dean (Academic Affairs) for further investigation.

 

Academic Misconduct Hearing

 

You will be written to confirming the date and time of the Hearing and will normally at least 10 working days prior to the date of the Academic Misconduct Panel Hearing and you will be informed of the following:

 

The name of the Panel members.

A copy of the academic misconduct procedure and Senate Regulation 6.

A statement setting out the University’s case against you.

A copy of the evidence and documentation in support of the allegation that will be submitted to the Panel. 

The name of the person acting as the University Representative.

 

You will be asked:

 

Whether you will be bringing an ARC Advisor, Brunel friend or Brunel Academic (for example personal tutor) to the hearing.

Whether you will be calling any witnesses to appear at the hearing.

To make a written response to the University’s case and the allegation of academic misconduct. This is likely to be the second opportunity you have been given to respond – you may want to use your previously submitted response.

You will need to submit your statement no later than five working days before the scheduled date of the hearing.

You will be sent a copy of all documentation and evidence no later than five working days before the scheduled date of the hearing.

The order of proceedings will be stuck to stringently please find an overview of the order of proceedings here.

 

You will normally receive an outcome within 5 working days of the hearing.

Outcomes

The Misconduct Panel can decide that you have no case to answer but The Misconduct Panel may find that you do have a case to answer and apply a penalty.

What penalties can be applied?

Penalties are described in Appendix A of the Academic Misconduct Procedure

In general, a UG or PG student facing a first offence will receive a zero:

“A mark of zero/grade F is assigned to the piece of work and to the associated assessment block; reassessment will be permitted (or further attempt in the case of an offence during reassessment), for a maximum grade of D- in the assessment block.” 

 

The decision about whether or not you may re-sit the work is made by your College. Therefore, you should approach them to find out whether they allow re-sits and, if so, when these are likely to take place.

If you are allowed a re-sit you must obtain the minimum number of credits as specified in the Senate Regulations) in order to be eligible for the award for which you are registered.

The mark of zero for the module in which you were found guilty of an academic offence will be taken into account in the calculation of your final marks which determine the Class of your Degree.

As every student’s situation is different, you should seek further advice from your College in order to determine what the likely effect of being found guilty on the award for which you are registered.

A second offence carries a heavier penalty and it is likely that you will be expelled.

Can I appeal the Misconduct Panel’s decision?

The Appeal process is described in paragraphs 69-84 of the Academic Misconduct Procedure

You can appeal the panel’s decision within 10 working days of the receipt of the result from the hearing. It is highly recommended that you seek advice on this from the ARC.

The appeal needs to confirm on what basis you are appealing on. These are the following permitted grounds for an appeal:

there has been procedural irregularity, i.e. that some rules or procedures were not applied correctly;

there was prejudice or bias on part of the decision- maker or decision-making body;

the decision is unreasonable and/or the sanction or outcome disproportionate

there is new evidence important to the case which the student can demonstrate was for good reason not previously available.

We can help you decide whether appealing is a realistic option and whether you have a case for an appeal.

Should I disclose difficulties I had with the work and in my personal life?

If you do have particular extenuating circumstances that may have had an effect on you at the time of writing the piece of work or attending an exam, it may be helpful to get a supporting letter from an objective third party.

This could be a doctor or counsellor if they were aware of your personal circumstances at the time.

Where possible you should discuss the letter with your counsellor or doctor to make sure that they are aware you agree to your personal data being released. These details should include (where possible) confirmation of diagnosis, confirmation of time affected by the situation and an indication of the severity of your condition and the likely impact.

It is recommended that you show a draft copy to the ARC before submission (you should not however let this cause you to miss the 10 working days deadline). You should also read our guide on Extenuating Circumstances.

There are many examples of circumstances which could have impacted on your academic work, so if you are in any doubt whether you should include this in your response to the allegations, please speak to an ARC adviser.

What is poor academic practice?

Poor academic practice refers to unintentional and inadequate academic practice rather than plagiarism; if it is decided that your work resembles that of poor academic practice rather than plagiarism, your work should be marked or graded in the normal way (on its academic merits).

If you are a final year student, Poor Academic Practice may be treated as an unacceptable response to allegations of plagiarism. You have after all managed to successfully progress to level 3, after 2 years of studying and it will be expected that you know how to reference correctly.

What is URKUND?

Brunel University uses URKUND is a fully-automatic machine learning text-recognition system made for detecting plagiarism, no matter which language you are writing in.

URKUND compare your work with the other sources and produces an originality report. This report highlights where matches have been found in the text and indicates the sources of the match. Reports are colour coded to indicate the percentage of text matched.

If you receive a URKUND report as part of the evidence for plagiarism allegations, you should immediately arrange to meet your personal tutor or speak to us if you are unsure what it shows/means.

 

 

 

What advice and help can I expect to receive from the Advice & Representation Centre?

Help you to understand the process.

Talk through with you what has gone wrong and how to convey this to your College and the Misconduct and Professional Suitability Board.

Check draft letters and oral statements before you submit them.

Talk through realistic outcomes and what you could expect.

Support you at the Disciplinary Panel and through the process.

Help you decide whether appealing is a realistic option.

If you would like advice on the Academic Misconduct process then please complete our online enquiry form on Brunelstudents.com and a member of the ARC Team will get in touch!

 

 

ACADEMIC DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES

This guide is about conduct which breaches academic rules. If you are facing a disciplinary following a non-academic offences, please refer to our guide on Non-Academic Disciplinaries.

ØWhat is Plagiarism, Collusion and Cheating?

 

The most common academic disciplinary offences considered under the academic disciplinary procedure are Plagiarism Collusion and Cheating:  

  • Plagiarism is the knowing or reckless presentation of another person’s thoughts, writings, and inventions, as one’s own. It includes the incorporation of another person’s work from published or unpublished sources, without indicating that the material is derived from those sources. It includes the use of material obtained from the internet.
  • Collusion involves helping, or attempting to help, another student to gain an unfair advantage in any formal assessment or examination.
  • Cheating is understood to be any attempted or actual dishonest action in relation to any academic work or research, including in respect of any assessment or examination. For example, taking unauthorised material into an examination (including revision notes or unauthorised equipment) shall normally be regarded as cheating.

 

Please note: attempted action, even if unsuccessful, will result in a penalty, if proven.

 

The Academic Skills Service can help you further to improve your writing practice.

 

 

How can plagiarism occur?

 

Most essays, reports, assignments and occasionally exams will need to include sections or ideas from other people’s work; this is standard academic practice. However, it is important that where you have included other people’s ideas, text or diagrams in an assignment, they must be clearly referenced (please see section below). This will leave the examiners in no doubt that you are only expecting to be marked for identifying or analysing a relevant source and not trying to claim someone else’s work as your own original idea. If it is found that you have attempted to pass someone else’s work off as your own, this will be classed as plagiarism.

Examples of actions which result in plagiarism:

  • Simply copying out other authors own words, word for word without any acknowledgement. This is the most obvious case.
  • Using substantial extracts of other authors’ answers but transposing the order of some paragraphs, omitting odd sentences and making slight changes, without any acknowledgement of the source. This form of plagiarism is more common.
  • Rewriting another person’s answer entirely in your own words, but preserving essentially intact both the sequence and structure of his/her argument, without acknowledging it as being the source of the material.
  • Taking a paragraph from one source, then a paragraph from another and so on, all without acknowledgement of these sources, and linking them with a few words of your own. 
  • All (or any) of the above, and not acknowledging (in the text and/or in the footnotes/ endnotes) the source as necessary, but listing the work in the bibliography. Simply listing a source in your bibliography without indicating clearly in your essay which material from that source is used in your essay (and where it is used) is NOT sufficient acknowledgement of the source, and DOES constitute plagiarism.

 

ØHow can collusion occur?

 

It will not be surprising if the members of a group who study together produce answers which are broadly similar, however if two or more students’ work is substantially identical, they will all be presumed to be cases of plagiarism and/or collusion, unless a student can prove that he/she is not responsible for copying and has not given his/her work to another student to copy. Therefore it is important to make sure that you recognise the importance of safeguarding the confidentiality and originality of your work prior to submission.

 

Steps to avoid collusion:

  • Do not read each other’s essays. Do not read out your essays to each other, either in draft or in final form. Where it is suggested that your English needs amendment, do not show that part of your essay to the listener(s).
  • Do not circulate or exchange essays before submission. You must absolutely ensure that you do not show your essay to any other student before submission.
  • Do not progress from discussing how a question might be answered to working out a common essay plan that you will use.
  • Do not ask another student to type your essay on his or her computer; it can lead to different students’ work becoming conflated.

 

ØHow can cheating occur?

 

Taking unauthorised material into an examination (including revision notes or unauthorised equipment) is quite common but is still regarded as attempted deception and therefore cheating. Examination invigilators are alert and monitor the exams very closely, so do not take the risk.

Steps to avoid cheating:

  • Always ensure you have read the rules for each exam you are due to take; your College will provide you with rules well in advance of the examination date and these rules will clearly detail what you are allowed to take into that specific examination with you.
  • The examination rules will also detail whether you are allowed an annotated or un-annotated book (if you are allowed a book at all), you need to ensure you fully understand what this means. If you are uncertain please contact your College.

 

ØWhat is Contract Cheating and how can it occur?

 

Contract Cheating means acquiring an assignment on the open market (e.g. via the internet) and/or paying for someone’s services to write the assignment for you. Whether this was paid or not paid is irrelevant and it is still classed as a disciplinary offence. Furthermore, posting a request for an assignment is also considered to be an offence.

It may be that you are legitimately seeking advice on a subject and not asking for a completed assignment, in which case you still need to be careful. If this is the case you must ensure you cite the source in your assignment and provide a copy of the help provided so as to prove the usage was:

- To inform the development of your own ideas

- To clarify a concept you were struggling to understand

Do remember, your College and the University have a responsibility to offer you assistance in such a case, free of charge.

 

ØWhat is Referencing?

 

Obviously, in student essays and examinations, truly original ideas will be rare.  You will, for the most part, be presenting opinions derived from teachers, textbook writers and other authors.

It is therefore not plagiarism to write an essay which begins “In answering this question I cannot do better than to quote in full the view presented by Jones in his book ‘Standard Answers to Common Essay Questions’, who writes “........” and ends: “Thus Mr Jones has given us an excellent answer to this very interesting question”.

Although not plagiarised, such an essay will fail (on other grounds, because we are seeking your own words and your ideas, not Jones’). More specifically, we are looking to see why you may agree or disagree with published commentaries on the points raised in assessment questions (e.g., as may be found in textbooks, journal articles, judicial opinions) and/or whether you may come up with any novel ideas and/or criticisms on the subject area to be analysed.

As a general guide, be aware that in all the following circumstances you must include a correct reference when:

  • Quoting sections from a book;
  • Including text that you have cut and pasted from the internet;
  • ‘Paraphrasing’ or summarising someone else’s argument or idea;
  • Using another student’s notes (even in group work projects);
  • Including points from lecture notes.

 

Plagiarism can not only occur when quoting from books or websites but also in the copying of another students work. This is treated very seriously and should never occur in academic practice.

Although there are several systems of referencing, the Harvard System version is generally used for assignments at Brunel. You may want to clarify with your College what referencing style they prefer.

You do not need to avoid direct quotation entirely. Quotations are an integral part of most essay writing. However, they should be used sensibly and not so frequently so as to make the assessment into a disjointed piece of work, characterised by excessively short paragraphs. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE YOU FULLY UNDERSTAND REFERENCING.

 

ØPreparatory Materials and Copies of Coursework

 

For Good Practice you should always try to retain all preparatory notes and/or photocopies of materials used for assessments at the very least, until you receive notification of your mark/grade for the associated assessment.

Some Colleges require a sample of student cohort who will be required to submit these preparatory notes and materials (in original or photocopied form) and these are often expected to be available on request at any time after submission of your assessment. These notes and materials are to include hard copies of any materials used, including web materials. You are also expected to keep at least one hard copy of your coursework/report and a copy of your assessment electronically on computer and on disk/CD/DVD.

It is vital you retain all of your Preparatory Materials (including written notes), not only in case you do not pass the assessment first time around but because this clearly shows how you compiled your assessment and what you used to successfully complete the assessment.

 

ØWhat is poor academic practice?

 

Poor academic practice refers to unintentional and inadequate academic practice rather than plagiarism; if it is decided that your work resembles that of poor academic practice rather than plagiarism, your work should be marked or graded in the normal way (on its academic merits).

If you are a final year student, Poor Academic Practice may be treated as an unacceptable response to allegations of plagiarism. You have after all managed to successfully progress to level 3, after 2 years of studying and it will be expected that you know how to reference correctly.

 

ØWhat is TURNITIN?

 

Brunel University uses TURNITIN in an effort to identify plagiarism; students' papers are submitted electronically and then they are compared against:

  • previously submitted material held in the database
  • over 1.8 billion web sites
  • essays from cheat sites
  • selected subscription services

 

The service compares the student's work with the other sources and produces an originality report. This report highlights where matches have been found in the text and indicates the sources of the match. Reports are colour coded to indicate the percentage of text matched.

The report is non-judgmental in that it does not distinguish between properly referenced and acknowledged quotations and unacknowledged information sources.

Academic judgment is still required to determine whether plagiarism has occurred therefore Turnitin is only available to academic staff at Brunel University.

If you receive a Turnitin report as part of the evidence in the plagiarism allegations, you should immediately arrange to meet your tutor or speak to your programme or course leader to clarify which parts of the report apply to the those allegations and which are innocent matches or properly referenced sections.

 

ØI HAVE BEEN ACCUSED OF DISCIPLINARY OFFENCE- WHAT SHALL I DO?

 

If you are identified by your College as having committed an academic offence, the Investigating Officer will write to you explaining the allegations and the process. With the letter you will receive evidence of the academic offence, for example copies of your work, identifying where the plagiarism has occurred and copies of the source (extracts from books, journals or websites) that the material may have been plagiarised from. The letter will contain what regulation you are believed to have breached. The process is described in detailed in paragraphs 27- 32 of the Academic Misconduct Procedure

 

ØWill I get an opportunity to explain myself?

Yes, you will have a chance to either respond in writing or attend a meeting to explain your actions.

Examples of what you can write in your email or letter are:

  • Whether you admit or deny the allegation(s)
  • Your explanation of what happened

 

If you are admitting to the allegation:

  • Whether you knew that this was wrong at the time that you did it
  • Details of why you think this may have happened – i.e. what your motivation for doing this was
  • An explanation of why you believe that you acted this way – if you were experiencing difficult circumstances that may have affected you it is important to explain this.
  • Have you ever received any feedback which mentioned that your referencing style is incorrect? And have you always referenced this way?

If you are denying the allegation you should explain how you prepared the piece of work and, if possible, how you think that the allegation may have arisen.

 

 

ØShould I disclose difficulties I had with the work and in my personal life?

 

If you do have particular extenuating circumstances that may have had an effect on you at the time of writing the piece of work or attending an exam, it may be helpful to get a supporting letter from an objective third party. This could be a doctor or counsellor if they were aware of your personal circumstances at the time. Where possible you should discuss the letter with your counsellor or doctor to make sure that they are aware you agree to your personal data being released. These details should include (where possible) confirmation of diagnosis, confirmation of time affected by the situation and an indication of the severity of your condition and the likely impact. It is recommended that you show a draft copy to the ARC before submission (you should not however let this cause you to miss the 10 working days deadline). You should also read our guide on Extenuating Circumstances.

There are many examples of circumstances which could have impacted on your academic work, so if you are in any doubt whether you should include this in your response to plagiarism allegations, please speak to an ARC adviser.

 

ØI have sent a response to my College and/OR attended a meeting; what now?

 

Once you have written your response, the Deputy Dean (Academic Affairs) will conclude whether the work is either an example of poor academic practice (please see below) or that you have committed an academic offence.. If it is concluded that your work is poor academic practice rather than plagiarism, it will be marked or graded in the normal way based on its academic merits. If, on the other hand, Deputy Dean (Academic Affairs) believes that academic offence has taken place, your work will be referred to the Clerk to the Misconduct and Professional Suitability Board.

Alternatively your case might be referred back to the Investigating Officer for further investigation, or dismissed or referred to another University department to consider your case under another procedure, for example Professional Suitability.

 

ØMy response AND EXPLANATION has been rejected by the College

 

If, following the investigation, your case is forwarded to the Clerk to the Misconduct and Professional Suitability Board, the Clerk will decide whether your case is less serious (if for example this is your first offence) or more serious (for example because you’ve committed previous academic offences).

In less serious cases, the Vice-Chancellor’s Representative (VCR) will deal with your case. He or she will write to you, and you will need to respond within 5 working days to provide any further explanation or clarification. You won’t need to attend a hearing. VCR will decide on basis of evidence and documents (including your letter). The options available to VCR are described in paragraphs 40- 45 of the Academic Misconduct Procedure

 

 

ØWill I have to attend a hearing?
 

If your case is deemed to be more serious, the Clerk to MPS will write to you confirming the allegations and evidence against you, along with the regulation you are alleged to have breached.

The pack contains the hearing details and most importantly Order of Proceedings which shows you how the day is formatted and confirms when you will be required to speak.

The procedure is described in detail in paragraphs 46-68 of the Academic Misconduct Procedure

 

ØWhat happens at a hearing?

 

You will be given 10 days’ notice if you are required to attend a hearing and you can be accompanied by a current student, a current academic, or an adviser from the ARC. Please bear in mind we won’t be able to attend at short notice. You must tell us if you wish us to attend with you as soon as you receive notification about the hearing from the University. We may not be able to attend at less than 7 days notice.

There are in 3 members who sit on the panel. These consist of 2 Senior members of University Staff, often Heads of College and 1 Student Union Officer. Also present would be a note taker, a member of staff from your College acting as a College Representative, you and your representative (if you choose to take one).

The hearing is your opportunity to state exactly why you think the academic offence has occurred. It is highly important to be honest. It is a confidential space and any information you tell the panel would not be discussed with anyone else without your permission. You can prepare an written statement detailing similar information to that of your previous written responses. This may help you to remember everything that you want to get across to the panel.

Hearings usually last about one hour, sometimes a little bit longer. When it is over you will be asked to leave and the panel will make their conclusions which will be communicated to you usually with 5 working days. You can ask for a decision to be sent to your and your representative’s email address.

Remember to dress smart, have a bottle of water and most importantly to be on time.

 

ØHearings; Order of Proceeding

  1. Introduction of those present, outline of the proceedings, and reminder of confidentiality of the proceedings by the Chair

The Chair will start by asking everyone present to introduce themselves, he/she will then go through the proceedings of the day and remind all present that what is discussed should remain confidential.

 

  1. Declarations of interest

Do you know anyone on the Panel that may mean a conflict of interests? You need to notify the secretary as a matter of urgency if you believe there is. The Panel members should not be from your College.

 

  1. The University Representative

A senior member of staff from your College will be present during the hearing to state the College’s case against you and to answer any questions the Panel may have concerning the case against you.

 

It is important that you write questions down as they arise as you may not remember by the time you need to ask.

 

  1. Questions to the University Representative
    1. From the members of the Panel

The panel have an opportunity to question the University Representative concerning any queries they have relating to your case.

  1. From the Student (or representative)

You or your representative will also have an opportunity to ask the University Representative questions which may help your case. It may be that the Panel members already asked the question, in which case it is not necessary to go over the same ground.

 

  1. Witnesses called by the University Representative (where applicable)

In Academic Disciplinary Hearings it is unlikely that there will be witnesses called by your College but you will be notified if there are before the meeting takes place.

 

Questions to the Witness(es)

 

- From members of the Panel

The panel have an opportunity to question the University Representative concerning any queries they have relating to your case.

 

- From the Student (or representative) – if present

You or your representative will also have an opportunity to ask the Witness(es) questions which may help your case. It may be that the Panel members already asked the question, in which case it is not necessary to go over the same ground.

 

  1. The Student

This is your chance to have your say, so it is important that you have prepared brief bullet points as reminders for you to refer to on the day (keeps words to a minimum, it’s hard to read blocks of text under pressure).

You may know what you want to say but under the pressure you may forget and there is nothing worse than leaving the hearing having not said everything you had wanted to say. Points that should be considered are:

  • Whether you admit the allegations or not
  • If you do, what happened and how have you learnt from this
  • If you do not admit the allegation then how do you explain the evidence against you?
  • Were there any extenuating circumstances at the time that may have also affected you and impaired your judgment
  • Whether you proof read your work before submission
  • How many Assignments you have submitted previously, is this your first one?
  • Has any feedback you have received ever mentioned that your referencing style is incorrect? And have you always referenced this way?
  • Intention- plagiarism is an offence of intention to cheat. If you think you have simply made a mistake, then admit it and argue that you have poor scholarship skills and that if your intention was not to deceive
  • Evidence is key: Do you any have preparatory notes from when you were compiling your assignment, anything that can help prove that you did the work
  • What your understanding of plagiarism, collusion or cheating are and if its different in your home country
  • How you have learnt from this, will you be proactive in making sure your understanding is correct, perhaps by visiting ASK?

If you attended a meeting in your College to discuss the matter and felt it was not fair or you were not fully prepared on the day then it is important you mention this. Furthermore, if you have any minutes from such a meeting that you do not agree with, your College need to be aware of this.

  1. Questions to the Student

 

a. From members of the Panel

The panel have an opportunity to question you with any queries they have relating to your case or for clarity on anything you may have said during the hearing.

 

b. From the University Representative

The University Representative also has an opportunity to question you with any queries they have relating to your case or for clarity on anything you may have said during the hearing.

 

  1. Witnesses called by the Student (where applicable)

 

Questions to the Witness(es)

 

- From members of the Panel

The panel have an opportunity to question your Witness(es) with any queries they have relating to your case or for clarity on anything they may have said during the hearing.

 

- From the University Representative

The University Representative will have an opportunity to question your Witness(es) with any queries they have relating to your case or for clarity on anything they may have said during the hearing.

 

  1. Concluding statement by the University Representative

This is the University Representatives final opportunity to go over the most important points that make the case against you.

 

  1. Concluding statement by the Student

This is your final opportunity to go over the most important points that make your case and should be points you want the panel to focus on when making their decision.

 

This is not your opportunity to go over everything you mentioned at point 6.

 

  1. Confirmation of Student’s address for correspondence

The Secretary will confirm your current address to send the outcome letter to. It may also be emailed to you if you ask for it. You can also request that a copy is send/emailed to your representative (for example your ARC Adviser).

 

  1. All except the members of the panel and the secretary will then leave the room

The Panel members are left to make a decision.

++ END OF HEARING ++

  

ØWhat penalties can be applied?

 

Penalties are described in Appendix A of the Academic Misconduct Procedure

Please note: you can face one or more of the sanctions, i.e. you can be temporarily excluded AND receive a mark of zero in the work related to your academic offence.

 

 

Ø“Mark of zero” penalty; what does it actually mean? (UG students)

 

What does the penalty mean when it says “A mark of zero/grade F is assigned to the piece of work and to the associated assessment block; reassessment will be permitted (or further attempt in the case of an offence during reassessment), for a maximum grade of D- in the assessment block. 

The assessment block shall contribute grade point 0 to the GPA calculation for the classification of any award.  The reassessment shall not contribute to the reassessment volume limit defined in SR2.”?

The decision about whether or not you may re-sit the work is made by your College. Therefore you should approach them to find out whether they allow re-sits and, if so, when these are likely to take place.

If you are allowed a re-sit you must obtain the minimum number of credits as specified in the Senate Regulations) in order to be eligible for the award for which you are registered. Normally this is 120 credits at each level for an Honours degree. Therefore, although you will receive no marks for re-sitting and passing the module in which you have been found guilty of an academic offence, you can receive the credit that you need to complete your course.

The mark of zero for the module in which you were found guilty of an academic offence will be taken into account in the calculation of your final marks which determine the Class of your Degree. This may have a detrimental effect on the overall calculation, because a grade which could carry some value, now brings zero to the equation.

As every student’s situation is different, you should seek further advice from your College in order to determine what the likely effect of being found guilty on the award for which you are registered.

 

ØSuspension and/or Exclusion- how does that affect me?

 

Academic offences can result in very serious consequences- so don’t take it lightly. Dependant on the severity of the allegations the University have the power to suspend and/or exclude you from campus:

Temporary suspension means that you will not be allowed to:

  • Sit such tests or examinations as are scheduled during that period;
  • Be told information about results / grades, progression to the next level or module choice for the next level
  • Be informed if you have re-sits
  • Access and utilise your Brunel email account.
  • Re-enrol

Temporary exclusion means that you are not permitted to come onto campus without the prior written permission of the Secretary to the Disciplinary Board.

Students who are temporarily excluded CAN sit exams, re-enrol or access their Brunel account. However, if they a final  year students, they will not be allowed to be informed about results/grades, re-sit questions,  or be informed if they have re-sits.

Please note: some students can be temporarily suspended AND excluded at the same time. In such cases, the above restrictions are combined.

If you breach the terms of your suspension and/or exclusion this will be considered a further potential breach of the Universities rules of Discipline. Therefore a further Disciplinary Procedure might be instigated against you.

It is vital that you do not come onto campus without permission from the Secretary to the Misconduct and Professional Suitability Board, Ms Liz Racz (01895 265472 / conduct@brunel.ac.uk)

Agreement shall normally only be given for the purposes of seeking the advice or support services and/or the UBS, or for the purpose of attending hearings or meetings connected with the investigation into the allegations against them. You will need to give 24 hours’ notice of your wish to enter the campus for any reason.

ØWhat if I do not agree with the Disciplinary Panel’s decision?

The Appeal process is described in paragraphs 69-84 of the Academic Misconduct Procedure

You can appeal the panel’s decision within 10 working days of the receipt of the result from the hearing. It is highly recommended that you seek advice on this from the ARC.

The appeal needs to confirm on what basis you are appealing on. These are the following permitted grounds for an appeal:

  1. there has been procedural irregularity, i.e. that some rules or procedures were not applied correctly;
  2. there was prejudice or bias on part of the decision- maker or decision-making body;
  3. the decision is unreasonable and/or the sanction or outcome is disproportionate.
  4. there is new evidence important to the case which the student can demonstrate was for good reason not previously available.

We can help you decide whether appealing is a realistic option and whether you have a case for an appeal.

 

What advice and help can I expect from the Advice & Representation Centre?

The ARC can help you in the following ways:

  • Help you to understand the process
  • Talk through with you what has gone wrong and how to convey this to your College and the Misconduct and Professional Suitability Board
  • Check draft letters and oral statements before you submit them
  • Talk through realistic outcomes and what you could expect
  • Support you at the Disciplinary Panel and through the process
  • Help you decide whether appealing is a realistic option

 

 

Academic Appeals

An Academic Appeal is a formal request to the University to review of a decision of a Board of Examiners. An Academic Appeal can be submitted on one or more of the following grounds

 

a)    that there exist circumstances materially affecting the student's performance which were not known to the Examiners or progress review when the decision was taken and which it was not reasonably practicable for the student to make known to the Examiners or progress review beforehand;

b)    that there were procedural irregularities in the conduct of the examinations and/or other assessment procedures, including assessment of coursework, of such a nature as to create a reasonable possibility that the result might have been different had they not occurred;

c)    that there is evidence of prejudice or bias on the part of one or more Examiners or members of staff conducting a progress review; and/or

d)    that there is evidence of inadequate assessment on the part of one or more of the Examiners or members of staff conducting a progress review.

The Academic Appeals process has three main stages:

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Stage 1: Informal Discussion

 

You should first raise the concerns informally with an appropriate member of staff (e.g. your Personal Tutor, Supervisor, or Course Director) at the point the concern arises, normally within 5 working days after notification of their results.

 

A Record of Informal Discussion Form will need to be completed, the link to the form can be found below.

 

  • Stage 2: Formal Appeal

If your concerns have not been resolved then you must submit an Academic Appeal Form with supporting evidence as soon as possible after the informal discussion and within a maximum of 10 working days of the notification of your results.

  • Stage 3: Review

If after Stage 2 you consider that your academic appeal has not been given full and proper consideration, then you can request a review of these concerns.

More detailed information can be found below.

 

About this Guide

This Guide is about Academic Appeals and challenging Board of Examiners decisions. This Guide is not about challenging Academic judgment (as this is not a valid basis for appeal).

The University has some very detailed guidance which you should also refer to, to ensure that you fully understand the process and what your responsibility is as a student when it comes to submitting an Academic Appeal.

Senate Regulation 12 outlines the process for academic appeals for both undergraduate and postgraduate you.

Further useful information can be found in Academic Appeals: A Guide for You.

The ARC Guide will help you put forward the best case possible and inform you of what is required. It is essential that you familiarise yourself with the process and then use the tips contained in our guide to make sure your appeal does your case justice.

Before you start

 

Before you start to draft your Appeal Form you must first consider whether an Appeal is the most appropriate avenue for addressing your concerns.

 

Other possibilities to consider could be:

 

  • If you are still within 5 working days of the assessment deadline, Extenuating Circumstances may be a more suitable option. Please see our Guide to Extenuating Circumstances which can be found in the University Procedures section of our website.

 

  • If the circumstances are ongoing and likely to continue you may want to consider taking some time out (Please see our Change of Plan Guide which can be found in the University Procedures section of our website.)

 

  • Is it something that can be dealt with informally with a simple discussion?

 

  • If you did not do so well in an assessment but do not have serious or significant circumstances, then you should seek feedback on the assessment in question to better understand where you went wrong.

 

  • If you did not do so well in an assessment but do not have serious or significant circumstances, then have you asked whether your work was moderated and sent to an External Examiner?

 

  • You could submit a Formal Complaint about the circumstances if the issues are concerning someone’s behaviour or your student experience.

Grounds for an appeal

There are three grounds on which you can challenge a decision of the Board of Examiners:

  • Extenuating circumstances:

An extenuating circumstance is a serious or significant event that was unexpected in nature and that had an adverse impact on your academic performance and ability.

Normally you should submit Extenuating Circumstances (Extenuating Circumstances) within 5 working days of the deadline affected by the Extenuating Circumstances; this may involve more than 1 module.

If you are appealing on the basis of Extenuating Circumstances and did not submit your Extenuating Circumstances during the Academic Year and at the time, then you will need to explain why. It is crucial to explain clearly and provide evidence to support your reasons for why you were not able to notify the University of the ECs sooner.

If you have submitted extenuating circumstances already and these were rejected, then it is essential that you refer to the reasons provided by your department for rejecting your extenuating circumstances claim.

If you have submitted extenuating circumstances already and these were accepted, then it is essential that you provide new and material evidence and fully explain why you were not able to submit them earlier. You will have the additional need to explain why (if applicable) the outcome of the Extenuating circumstances was not sufficient.

You do not have to have missed an assessment deadline or failed an assessment to submit Extenuating Circumstances. You may have met the deadline but believe your performance was affected. Please refer to our ARC guide on Extenuating circumstances.

Please be aware that the University routinely checks evidence. Falsifying documents is a serious offence and could have severe consequences.

  • Procedural irregularities:

Procedural irregularities can cover a varied spectrum but is often extremely difficult to evidence. We would always suggest you discuss this with us in the ARC before you appeal.

A procedural irregularity is exactly that, an error in process that has occurred or a regulation that may not have been followed that has a direct impact on you.

There are policies for everything, from a Supervision Policy, a late submission Policy to the University’s Senate Regulations.

A procedural irregularity can also involve errors in procedures in conducting examinations or assessing coursework.

Procedural irregularities can involve any assessment and/or process, but the Procedural irregularity must have an impact on the Board of Examiners outcome you are appealing.

For example: if you were told that you could take a textbook into the exam but on arrival are informed that they cannot, they would be disadvantaged by the misdirected preparation and revision. Similarly, if you had reasonable adjustments that were not adhered too (this is likely to be resolved informally).

As with any appeal, you will need to provide evidence of the procedural irregularity which is the tricky part.

In order to know if something has gone wrong, you need to know the process. For example: If you believe your work has not been marked properly, you need to know the process of marking in order to know that an error has occurred. Just believing your work was not marked properly is not a valid reason to appeal.

Senate Regulation 4 sets out the marking process in detail but this will not help unless you know what has happened with your work: Was the work moderated or 2nd marked? Did your work get sent to an External Examiner? Always seek further clarification from your personal tutor and/or Adviser at the Advice & Representation Centre (ARC).

Please be aware that the University routinely checks evidence. Falsifying documents is a serious offence and could have severe consequences.

  • Evidence of prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment:

Evidence of prejudice, bias:

This basis of Appeal is rare and it may be that your case may be more suited to a Formal Complaint, seek advice from the ARC if you are considering appealing on this basis.

This can involve one or more Examiners or members of staff conducting an assessment demonstrating prejudice or bias against you. For example, A Dissertation Supervisor offering progress appointments with other students but not offering/refusing/not making time for you.

As with any appeal, you will need to provide evidence of the bias or prejudice. Allegations of bias and prejudice may severely affect someone’s professional career, your evidence must be strong and not vexatious in nature.

Please be aware that the University routinely checks evidence. Falsifying documents is a serious offence and could have severe consequences.

  • Inadequate assessment:

Do not get confused between an Inadequate Assessment and Procedural Irregularity, although they can interlink, they are different grounds for appeal. Inadequate Assessment can relate to a failure to adhere to marking practices, a failure to adhere to the examinations policy or include poor provision for a practical test, to name a few.

Inadequate Assessment can extend to placement settings, for example where a placement policy is not adhered to, or a risk of failure is not followed through properly.

You will need to provide evidence to show inadequate assessment has occurred. For example:

If you believe your work has not been marked properly and the feedback relating to your work does not make sense or is not applicable to your work, asking for verbal feedback is a good way to seek answers and possibly address your concerns. Feedback may also help you understand why you were graded the way that you were.

It would also help to look through the module outline to ensure you have met all of the learning outcomes and objectives for the assessment in question. These actions will help you make a better appeal if you take that route or help you better understand your assessment.

You are always welcome to discuss you appeal grounds with an ARC Adviser.

Please be aware that the University routinely checks evidence. Falsifying documents is a serious offence and could have severe consequences.

 

Appeal Stages

The Academic Appeals process has three main stages:

Stage 1: Informal Discussion

If you have concerns about your academic results then you should first raise the concerns informally with an appropriate member of staff (e.g. your Personal Tutor, Supervisor, or Course Director) at the point the concern arises, normally within 5 working days after notification of your results.

The Record of Informal Discussion Form should be completed with notes made by the staff member involved of the Informal Discussion. You should receive a copy of that record.

If you have been unable to have the informal discussion, then you will need a very good reason as to why. If you cannot demonstrate effort was made to discuss your concerns, then you will not normally be allowed to submit an Academic Appeal.

The informal discussion is your opportunity to explain the basis for an Appeal, should you need to submit one. The discussion is noted but is informal in nature so use the opportunity to be honest and forthcoming.

Stage 2: Formal Appeal

If your concerns have not been resolved through the informal discussion, then you can submit an Academic Appeal Form, stating your basis and explaining your situation with supporting evidence within 10 working days of the notification of your results.

Once your appeal is received by the Academic Appeals Team an initial eligibility check will be take place in order to determine whether your Appeal submission falls under the scope of the grounds for appeal.

The Eligibility check determine either:

  • Your appeal does fall under the scope of the grounds available to appeal.
  • Your appeal does NOT fall under the scope of the grounds available to appeal. Therefore, your appeal will be dismissed.

If the decision is that your Appeal does fall under the scope of the grounds available to appeal, then you case will be investigated further by an Academic Investigator. 

The Academic Investigator will complete an Academic Investigation Form and will refer the academic appeal to a Panel for a decision.  In exceptional cases, an academic appeal hearing may be held and you will be require to attend.

Stage 3: Review

If you consider that your academic appeal has not been given full and proper consideration, then you can request a review of their concerns. This is not an opportunity to submit new evidence.

In order to request a review, you must put in writing your basis for review within 10 working days of receiving the final Academic Appeal decision.

The 3 basis for review are:

a) there has been procedural irregularity;  

b) there was prejudice or bias on the part of the Academic Appeals Committee; 

c) the decision is unreasonable. 

 

If the Reviewing Officer considers your review request basis is valid, they will review the concerns raised by you and shall normally complete the review within 10 working days.

If your review is rejected then the OIA is the next potential step, please see ARC Guide on OIA.

Appeal Contacts

Your College can provide you with information on the Appeals Process. College contact for Academic Appeals:

 

Appeals-CBASS@brunel.ac.uk CBASS

Appeals-CEDPS@brunel.ac.uk CEDPS

Appeals-CHLS@brunel.ac.uk CHLS

 

You need to submit your Academic Appeal to the University contact for Academic Appeals:

 

academic-appeals@brunel.ac.uk

 

Making a start

It is often difficult to know where to start in explaining a situation, whether it is personal or academic, explaining honestly what has happened, to people you do not know; it can be a daunting task. The most logical way of explaining it would be to follow a chronology of the academic year (September – August).

 

You need to remember:

 

  • That dates are vital; if you are not clear about when things happened, your Appeal might take longer to be investigated or it may be rejected.

 

  • It is also important that you are clear what assessments have been affected, and how the events that you have experienced affected those assessments.

 

  • Think about whether you spoke to anyone in your department or college about the circumstances you mention, and what advice you were provided with. If you have not spoken to anyone, you need to explain why.

 

  • Don’t just describe the circumstances instead explain the impact on you specifically, physically, mentally etc. No one will want to assume the level of impact or severity of your circumstances. Everyone’s sensitivity or resilience is different, so talk about how you were affected. Make a clear connection between the event/procedural error/etc and your academic performance

What should I put in my appeal form?

Apart from answering standard questions (for example what is your Student ID etc.), there are few crucial points you have to explain:

  • Whether the circumstances which have affected you could reasonably have been foreseen. This means whether it could have been expected or predicted using common sense.
  • The duration and timing of the circumstance- especially whether the timeframe could have affected the assessment or revision period.
  • The impact of the circumstance on your ability to undertake the assessment. In cases of medical circumstances, you will be expected to provide evidence from health professional, explaining not just the diagnosis but the potential effect of this diagnosis on your ability to study, revise, focus and perform well in assessment.
  • Your desired outcome- this need to be realistic and achievable. You should discuss the best options with your personal tutor or senior tutor; they will know what is realistic. 
  • If you have an ARC Advisor than please state their name on the Appeal Form to ensure you Advisor receives updates on your case.

Do not presume that the person making a judgment on your Appeal knows you (even if you have previously discussed the issues with them). You should ensure you provide all of the detail necessary, regardless of who will be making a decision on it.

 

When drafting your statement ensure that all of the information is there; your department will not read between the lines or make their own conclusions- if the information and evidence is not there then it will not be considered.

 

And finally- try to be orderly, concise and to the point- no one will want to wade through pages of information which is not strictly relevant to your case.

Evidence

Evidence is an absolute necessity; it is important that you get some sort of evidence to back up what you have said.

 

You need to explain what the evidence shows and how it substantiates your claim.  It should also show how your circumstances correlate with the timing of the affected assessment. Do not assume that such connections can be easily made by someone looking into your appeal.

 

If you are struggling to get hold of relevant evidence, then you need to think outside the box. Think about whom you’ve talked too or who has witnessed you struggling. Think about close friends and family; can they confirm in a statement that what you are saying is true? A personal statement or letter with a date, telephone number and signature may be adequate.

 

If you have evidence in another language you will be required to get the documents translated which could take some time.

 

Never delay submitting your Appeal if you are waiting for evidence. Instead write on the Form confirming the evidence will follow (and a rough date of when it will be available). Please note however that your Appeal may not be considered until the evidence is received.

 

Please be aware that the University routinely checks evidence. Falsifying documents is a serious offence and could have severe consequences.

What can’t I appeal against?

  • You cannot appeal because the result you have achieved is worse than you would have wished for, or worse than you feel you deserve.
  • You cannot appeal “provisional” results- you must wait for formal results, confirmed by the Board of Examiners
  • You cannot appeal because you disagree with academic judgment; a decision made by an examiner within their professional capacity and where no specified appeal grounds apply.
  • You cannot use these appeal procedures to appeal a decision made by Residences (Halls), they have their own procedures
  • You cannot use these appeal procedures to appeal an academic or non-academic disciplinary penalty. Please visit the Disciplinaries section of our website
  • You cannot appeal on the basis of a complaint.

International Student?

if you intend to submit academic appeal against a decision to withdraw you from your course, you need to email immigration@brunel.ac.uk  to inform them that you are going to submit an appeal and seek advice on what this may mean for you and your student visa responsibilities.

You may be required to return to your home country whilst your Appeal is considered.

What are the potential outcomes?

If your Appeal is upheld (i.e. successful), the Appeals Panel will explain what would be your next step; you may be offered an uncapped re-assessment, or may be allowed to return to your course if you have been withdrawn; the range of options is very wide and will be tailored individually to your circumstances.

 

 

 

What advice and help can I expect to receive from the Advice & Representation Centre?

We are able to assist with the following:

  • Helping you to decide if appealing is the best course of action for you.
  • Explaining how the process works.
  • Helping you to define your appeal grounds.
  • Helping you think of evidence to provide.
  • Advising you on how to structure your appeal form.
  • Advising you on next steps if necessary.

 

FITNESS TO STUDY

The University have a duty of care to all registered students, including you, to ensure that all students studying at Brunel are healthy and their wellbeing raises no concerns to the safety of themselves and everyone else on campus.

Senate Regulation 11 has been developed as an alternative to the student rules of discipline. It is intended to be used in circumstances where, in light of concerns regarding a student’s health and/or wellbeing, the University considers it inappropriate to deal with the matter as a disciplinary one.

 

The University’s Student Welfare Team have prepare a helpful guide, which can be found here or by searching “Fitness to Study” on Brunel Intranet.

 

Overview

The Fitness to Study procedure applies to all students’ registered at Brunel University.

 It is intended to be used to support students experiencing difficulties that are impacting their studies. The procedure is usually put in practice when the university has concern for a student’s health, wellbeing and safety for themselves and/or others.

The Fitness to Study Process

The process involves 3 levels.However, a FTS case may not always start at Level 1. For instance a report may be made and it may already be perceived as a serious or critical concern (Level 3).

  • Level 1 : Initial concerns

An appropriate member of staff will arrange a meeting. The meeting will give both the member of staff and the student the opportunity to discuss their concerns.  Once the meeting has finished the staff member will determine if any further action needs to be taken.  Within 5 working days of the meeting, student will be informed of the reasons for the decision made by the member of staff.

  • Level 2 : Ongoing and/or further concerns

The Head of Student Services will inform the student in writing 48hrs before the next meeting. The meeting is arranged to give the student and the head of student services the opportunity to discuss the student’s fitness to study. Once the meeting has finished the head of Student Services  will determine if any further action needs to be taken. Within 5 working days of the meeting, students will be informed of the reasons for the decision made by the Head of Student Services.

  • Level 3 : Serious, persistent and/or critical concerns.

Similarly, to level 2, the Head of Student Services will inform the student in writing 48hrs before the next meeting. The meeting is arranged to give the student and the head of student services the opportunity to discuss the student’s fitness to study. They may also ask you to get in contact with the Universities Doctor. Once the meeting has finished the head of Student Services  may call a conference to determine any potential courses of action. Within 5 working days of the meeting, students will be informed of the reasons for the decision made by the Head of Student Services. This may include switching to part-time, suspension or withdrawal of studies.

Right to appeal:

If you wish to appeal the decision made by the university this must be done  within 28 days of receiving your outcome.

To appeal you must write to the Head of Registry and set out appeal grounds (these can be found in SR11.45 of Fitness to Study Regulation as well as later on in this guide)

What is fitness to study?

The University have a duty of care to all registered students, including you, to ensure that all students studying at Brunel are healthy and their wellbeing raises no concerns to the safety of themselves and everyone else on campus.

 

Senate Regulation 11  which can be found on the universities website as well as the union’s website, Is something that has been developed as an alternative to the student rules of discipline. It is intended to be used in circumstances where, in light of concerns regarding a student’s health and/or wellbeing, the University considers it inappropriate to deal with the matter as a disciplinary one.

 

The University’s Student Welfare Team have prepare a helpful guide, which can be found here or by searching “Fitness to Study” on Brunel Intranet.

 

Who does the FTS regulations apply to?

This regulation applies to ALL students registered at Brunel, irrespective of the mode or place of study. It applies to students on placements including sandwich courses or professional programmes of study. It also applies to students who request a return to their studies after a long break.

 

The fitness to study policy is not normally used to determine issues of professional competence (The Suitability Procedure should be followed in such cases – please see the ARC guidance on Suitability Procedures).

 

Who decides whether I am fit or not to study?

All Brunel University Staff members have a duty to report a concern of fitness to study to the Head of Student Services. It would then be the Head of Student Services’ responsibility to investigate the matter.

 

Will I have an opportunity to get involved?

Yes, the Fitness to Study is an inclusive process, however should a student be unwilling or unable to play a part at any stage of the process, the University may nonetheless follow the procedure where it is reasonable to do so.

Level 1 – initial concerns:

An appropriate member of staff (for example Personal Tutor, Supervisor, a member of residence staff) will arrange to speak with the student. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss and to consider the concern regarding student’s fitness to study. The student will be invited to respond and the staff member will seek to establish the students’ perception of the concern.

 

Once the meeting has taken place, the staff member will determine whether any further action needs to be taken; this could be (but is not limited to):

  • No action to be taken;
  • Refer the student to the Occupational Health Physician
  • Put in place support arrangements
  • Draw up and action plan
  • Ensure that a date is arranged for the action plan to be reviewed.
  • Refer the matter to another level
  • Recommend that the student takes a period of voluntary abeyance (break from studies).

 

Students’ will be notified in writing with the reasons for the decision within 5 working days of the meeting.

 

Level 2 – ongoing and/or further concerns:

The student will be invited to a meeting with the Head of Student Services to discuss the concern. The Head of Service will inform the student in writing at least 48 hours prior to the meeting date.

 

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss and to consider the concern regarding the student’s fitness to study. The student will be invited to respond to the concern and the Head of Student Services will seek to establish the students’ perception of the concern.

 

Once the meeting has occurred, the Head of Service will determine whether any further action needs to be taken; this could be (but is not limited to):

  • No action to be taken;
  • Refer the student to Occupational Health Physician
  • Put in place support arrangements
  • Draw up and action plan
  • Ensure that a date is arranged for the action plan to be reviewed.
  • Refer the matter to another level
  • Recommend that the student takes a period of voluntary abeyance (break from studies).

Students will be notified in writing, with the reasons for the decision within 5 working days of the meeting.

Level 3 – serious, persistent and/or critical concerns:

The student will be invited to a meeting with the Head of Student Services to discuss the concern. The Head of Service will inform the student in writing at least 48 hours prior to the meeting date.

 

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss and to consider the concern regarding the student’s fitness to study. At this point they may ask you to be in contact with the university’s doctor. The student will be invited to respond to the concern and the Head of Student Services will seek to establish the students’ perception of the concern.

 

Once the meeting has occurred, the Head of Service will determine whether any further action needs to be taken. They may call a case conference to help determine potential courses of action, which students do not usually attend.  This could be (but is not limited to):

  • No action to be taken;
  • The matter referred to the lower level (level 1 or 2)
  • Refer the student to the Occupational Health Physician
  • Student withdrew from placement
  • Put in place support arrangements
  • Draw up and action plan
  • Recommend that the student takes a period of voluntary abeyance (break from studies).
  • Recommend the student should be suspended, excluded or expelled

 

Students will be notified in writing, with the reasons for the decision within 5 working days of the meeting.

 

 

 

 

This is an overview of the Fitness to Study Process. For in-depth detail please refer to Senate Regulation 11.

How long will the process take?

Unfortunately, there is not a definitive answer to this. It is all dependent on the facts of the matter, how serious the concern is and to what extent the concern could affect your ability to participate in your studies. 

 

What could this mean for me?

The University predicts that cases of fitness to study will be exceptional and as such in the interest of fairness each case will be considered on an individual basis and will depend on the specific circumstances. To give you an idea of what may happen:

  • A student may be referred to the Occupational Health Physician for an assessment of his/her fitness to study. A referral would be made through Head of Student Services.
  • If the Vice-Chancellor’s representative believes that there is a risk to the health, safety and/or wellbeing of a student and/or to other persons, and/or that the student’s behaviour impacts negatively on the teaching and learning of other students, the VCR may:
    • Temporarily exclude the student from all or specified areas of the University and/or placement and/or from using any of the University’s facilities for a specified period as is reasonable in the circumstances of the matter. You will be advised of the exclusion within 3 days of the decision being made.
    • Temporarily suspend the student from the University and/or placement for a specified period of time as is reasonable in the circumstances of the matter.

You will be advised of the suspension within 3 days of the decision being made.

 

Firstly and quite importantly: any temporary exclusion or suspension made is a neutral act and is not a determination regarding a students’ fitness to study, therefore it does not necessarily imply you are not fit to study but is a precautionary measure whilst the matter is looked in to.

 

Further, a review of the exclusion or suspension will take place at regular intervals and consideration made whether it is reasonable to revoke, amend or extend the action.

 

Can I appeal the decision to exclude or suspend me?

Yes you can appeal; you have 28 days to do it. The Process is described in details in Section E of the Senate Regulation 11.

The appeal has to be made on one of the below grounds:

 

  • There has been a procedural irregularity;

 

  • There was prejudice or bias on the part of the decision-maker;

 

  • The decision of the Head of Student Services and/or Vice-Chancellor is unreasonable and/or disproportionate;

 

  • New material evidence has become available which was not previously reasonably available during the process.

 

The appeal needs to be put in writing to the Head of Registry. The Head of Registry will normally inform the student within 10 working days whether the appeal can be accepted for further consideration.

 

Who will consider my appeal?

A Review Panel will convene consisting of three members of senate, one of which will be a student representative. The review panel will determine the process to be followed for dealing with the appeal in light of the circumstances of the matter. The student might be invited to appear before the panel- unless there are serious concerns that student may find a formal review meeting unduly stressful.

Preparing for a meeting

You might be invited to meet with Review Panel. For this meeting you are not required to prepare a written statement but it may help you to jot few things down.

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the concern, think about what can assist and consider an appropriate way forward.

 

It is often difficult to know where to start in explaining an issue, particularly a health issue that may change and worsen on a daily basis.

 

You may feel worried that you are not coping or feel concerned about being honest about the impact on you but being honest may result in a better support package for you.

 

You may want to make notes about following issues:

  • That dates are vital. Try to remember dates which are relevant to your problem
  • It is also important that you are clear on how these circumstances have impacted on you directly, what this has meant for you.
  • Have a good understanding of why the concerns have been raised- if you are not clear, don’t hesitate to ask
  • Take this opportunity to explain what extra support you need.
  • Think about what medical evidence you may have which shows and explains if there are health issues involved.
  • Avoid being defensive; the Fitness to Study process is designed to benefit you- you are not in trouble.
  • Be prepared to explain things patiently in detail; people who want to help you may not know you that well- don’t assume anything.
  • Accept that revealing some difficult personal details might be distressing for you- seek sources of emotional support like Counselling Service

I submitted extenuating circumstances so why fitness to study?

Ensuring your College are aware of any circumstances that you are experiencing is a good thing and means you are meeting your responsibility as a student.

 

Your College may have accepted your Extenuating Circumstances but may be concerned about the ongoing nature and/or severity of the issues you are encountering.

 

For instance:

  1. You may pose a risk to your own health, safety and wellbeing and may require some time out to fully recuperate
  2. It may be considered that you could do with some additional support from the Disability and Dyslexia Service.
  3. Your behaviour may impact on your own and others learning
  4. It may be considered that carrying on at the current time may disadvantage you.

     

 

My GP stated I am fit to study, what next?

If your Doctor has provided a letter confirming you are fit to study then this will be considered when making a decision about whether you should continue or not. It may still be necessary for you to attend an appointment with the University’s Medical Centre to also confirm this.

 

Any decision reached about a your fitness to study will be made wherever possible through an inclusive process involving you, the College or Department staff, health care professionals and University Services.

 

Can I still go on placement if I am considered not fit to study?

The placement is part of your course and if you are not fit to study then it is very unlikely you will be considered fit to go on placement.

 

IF there is a risk to the health, safety and wellbeing then the University may consider it is appropriate to:

  1. Temporarily exclude you from all or specified areas of the University and/or a placement and/or from using any of the University’s facilities or services for a specified period as is reasonable in the circumstances of the matter;
  2. Temporarily suspend the student from his/her studies and/or a placement for a specified period as is reasonable in the circumstances of the matter.

Returning to study

Students who wish to return to study will need to satisfy the Head of Student Services that they are fit to study and fulfilled any conditions attached to their return. This may mean obtaining satisfactory medical or other evidence of their fitness to study (for example from the University Occupational Health Physician, psychiatrist, GP or mental health support worker).

Students should put their request to the Head of Student Services in writing.

The Head of Student Services may invite the student to discuss the return to studies in person.

The HOSS may consult other professionals involved in student’s care and may also seek advice from other support services in relation to potential adjustments if the student was to return to studies.

The HOSS will be responsible for ensuring that arrangements are put in place for providing support identified for a student returning to study and for that support to be reviewed at such intervals as is appropriate in the circumstances.

The decision will be notified to the student in writing normally within 14 working days of the student’s written request to return to study.

This decision will be final.

 

What advice and help can I expect from the advice & representation centre?

The ARC can help you in the following ways:

  • Help you to understand the process
  • Check draft letters and statements before you submit them
  • Talk through realistic outcomes and what you could expect
  • Help you to define appeal grounds if you wish to appeal
  • Support you at the appeal and through the process
  • Help you decide whether appealing is a realistic option
  • Help you outline support arrangements which you require

 

 


PROFESSIONAL SUITABILITY

Suitability procedures are a form of disciplinary procedures related to misconduct within professional courses. Professional courses are those which bestow an occupation-related title, following a graduation, for example Social Worker, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, and Teacher. This will also apply to students on MSc Neurorehabilitation, MSc-Hand Therapy, MSc Health Informatics for Clinical Managers, and MSc Health Promotion and Public Health

 

Those procedures are governed by Senate Regulation 14

The University has produced their own guidance which can be found by searching for “suitability” at Brunel intranet .

Professional misconduct represents a range of violations as described in Professional Suitability Procedure, paragraphs 2-3. For example when student breaches appropriate standards of conduct whilst on placement forming part of his/her programme of study or behaves dishonestly.

It is often the case that students are asked to undergo Suitability Procedures where there are concerns that the student is in danger of not meeting the relevant code of behaviour or practice- whether on campus, at placement or outside the academic setting, i.e. in their personal life. Suitability could be instigated if you are dishonest, communicate inappropriately or are not dependable.

Please note that Suitability Procedures can also be instigated if you haven’t done anything wrong but there are serious concerns about your mental or physical health.

 

What is the difference between professional suitability procedures and other disciplinaries?

A clear distinction is made between academic and professional competence and matters of suitability. Competence (both academic and professional) is a matter for normal assessment whereas matters of suitability are not. The Suitability Procedures are separate from the normal academic and professional assessment processes and are independent of the Board of Examiners.

IF a case gives rise to both professional suitability and misconduct concerns, the University will normally follow its procedures relating to professional suitability to investigate, consider and determine the outcome to all the concerns arising in the case rather than follow separate procedures.

 

 

 

I am already registered with the relevant body?

Students who are already registrants with a relevant regulatory or professional body should still ensure that they are familiar with any requirements of that regulatory or professional body for self-reporting which are associated with professional suitability.

Criminal Records disclosure

Students studying a professional course are required to disclose relevant criminal convictions. Any student found to have concealed or misrepresented past (or present) offences (or deliberately provided misleading, incomplete or inaccurate information) during the admission or whilst on the course, may be required to WITHDRAW FROM THE COURSE.

 

Will a previous conviction or previous access to services make me unsuitable?

Not necessarily; it depends on whether the conviction was relevant to what you are studying, for example anything to do with violence will be an immediate concern.

 

If you have previously accessed a service as a service user then it would have been in your best interests to declare this at interview stage. If you did not then you need to consider why?

 

Intentionally not informing the University can be deemed as being dishonest and is likely to contravene the code of practice you are adhering too.

 

The University must be informed of ANY new convictions, new offences for which you have been charged but not convicted and any new cautions, reprimands or warnings you received.

 

I don’t understand why they believe I am not suitable?

Failing some work is not going to get you in a position of unsuitability but your actions or inaction can. For example failing to notify the University of a previous conviction could deem you unsuitable and dishonest. Failing to know when to stop, when your practice may be impaired could deem you unsuitable. Certain behaviours such as inability to accept feedback may be deemed a risk.

 

Self-awareness and self-reflection are vital skills that are necessary in your professional field.

What is the process?

If you are identified as having committed professional misconduct, a member of staff investigating the professional misconduct should write to you or ask to meet you, introduce themselves and explain the nature of concerns. You should respond to this letter promptly, providing your statement.

 

 

Examples of what you can write in your letter are:

  • Whether you admit or deny the allegation(s)
  • Your explanation of what happened
  • If you are admitting to the allegation:
    • Whether you knew that this was wrong at the time that you did it
    • Details of why you think this may have happened – i.e. what was motivation
    • An explanation of why you believe that you acted this way – if you were experiencing difficult circumstances that may have affected you it is important to explain this.
    • An argument for why you believe a particular penalty is more reasonable than others i.e. why you should be allowed to continue on the course.
    • How can you demonstrate that the problem with your professional suitability won’t happen again?
  • If you deny the allegations, explain what evidence you may want to submit to support your case or why evidence used by the University is incorrect or unreliable.

 

You may be invited to a meeting to discuss the matter; you do not have to attend, although we would strongly recommend that you do.

The College can then decide whether the case should be dismissed or that “that the concern has some substance relating to professional suitability of a kind for which the instigation of an action plan and/or formal warning may be an appropriate outcome”

You will receive a decision letter advising you of next steps of action. If it is decided to investigate your case further, you will again have a chance to respond (within 5 working days) and state own case, comment on the evidence provided or explain any mitigating circumstances relevant to the case.

Once the College has considered your response, they can decide to either dismiss the case, or put an action plan in place, or issue a warning or refer you case to the Secretary to the Misconduct and Professional Suitability (MPS) Board for further action.

How to prepare a response

It is often difficult to know where to start in explaining personal and individual circumstances to people you may not know but the most logical way of explaining it would be by the academic year (September – August).

 

You need to remember:

 

  • That dates are vital, try to be clear about when things happened.
  • Thoroughly read through the code of practice and refer to the relevant sections to back up your case.
  • It is also important that you are clear on how these circumstances have impacted on you directly, what this has meant for you.
  • Think about whether you took steps to try and resolve this of you discussed the problems with anyone.
  • If you believe that rules or policies have been breached then you must explicitly specify what rules or policy has actually been broken or not adhered too.
  • Are you being reasonable? Try not to be personal, keep professional and remain focused on what you are trying to say.
  • Draft your statement and ask someone who can be objective or not emotionally involved to read through it.
  • Do not assume that people who will look at your case know anything about you; neither will they read between the lines or guess. You need to be as detailed as possible- whilst at the same time making sure you focus on things which are relevant to your case
     

Once you have prepared as suggested above, write your letter of response. You response should contain the following:

 

  • Whether you admit or deny the allegation(s)
  • Your explanation of what happened
  • If you are admitting to the allegation:
  • Whether you knew that this was wrong at the time that you did it
  • Details of why you think this may have happened – i.e. what was motivation
  • An explanation of why you believe that you acted this way – if you were experiencing difficult circumstances that may have affected you, it is important to explain this.
  • An argument for why you believe a particular penalty is more reasonable than other, for example why you should be allowed to continue on the course.
  • How can you demonstrate that the problem with your professional suitability won’t happen again?
  • If you deny the allegations, explain what evidence you may want to submit to support your case or why evidence used by the University is incorrect or unreliable.
  • Avoid making comments that are not substantiated by evidence and steer clear of making personal or exaggerated comments; this will affect the credibility of your case badly.

 

Your personal information will be kept confidentially so it is vital that you explain your side of the story in full and honest manner. Self-reflection and ability to learn from your mistakes are vital and might be seen as mitigating factors.

 

Evidence

Evidence is an absolute necessity; it is important that you get some sort of evidence to back up what you have said. This is sometimes difficult particularly when it comes to a verbal conversation.

 

You need to explain what the evidence shows and how it supports your claim. 

If you are struggling to get hold of relevant evidence then you need to think outside the box. Think about whom you’ve talked too or who has witnessed the incident. Think about course colleagues or other people you may have talked to who could provide some form of evidence.

 

If you have evidence in another language then it may be that you are required to get the documents translated which could take some time.

 

Will I have to attend a hearing?

If one of the College’s decisions is to refer you case to the Secretary to the Misconduct and Professional Suitability (MPS) Board for further action, you will be asked to attend a hearing in front of the Misconduct Panel or a Professional Suitability Panel.

Detailed description of the hearings process can be found in paragraphs 46-55 of the Professional Suitability Procedure

You will be given 10 working days’ notice if you are required to attend a hearing and you can be accompanied by a current student, a current academic, or an adviser from the ARC. Please bear in mind we won’t be able to attend at short notice. You must tell us if you wish us to attend with you as soon as you receive notification about the hearing from the University. We may not be able to attend at less than 7 days’ notice.

There are in total 5 members who sit on the panel. These consist of 2 senior members of University Staff, often Heads of College and 1 Student Union Officer.

In addition there will be:

  • 2 qualified community health nurses IF you are registered on the Community Health Programme
  • 2 qualified Occupational Therapists IF you are registered on the Occupational Therapy Programme
  • 2 qualified Physiotherapists IF you are registered on the Physiotherapy Programme
  • 2 qualified Social Workers IF you are registered on the Social Work Programme

 

Also present would be a note taker, a member of staff from your College acting as College Representative, you and your representative (if you choose to take one).

Please see Appendix 3 of the Professional Suitability Procedure for full details regarding the Professional Suitability Panels’ composition.

The hearing is your opportunity to state your case. It is highly important to be honest. It is a confidential space and any information you tell the panel would not be discussed with anyone else without your permission. You can prepare an oral statement detailing similar information to that of your written response to the Head of College (see above). This may help you to remember everything that you want to get across to the panel.

Hearings can last for a couple of hours. When it is over you will be asked to leave and the panel will make their conclusions which will be communicated to you usually with 5 days.

Please make sure you arrive early, dress appropriately and have all your documents with you.

 

What is the standard of proof?

In all cases considered under the Senate Regulation 14, the balance of probabilities is the test that is applied in determining if a concern is sustained.”

The balance of probabilities means that the panel will decide what, on base of all evidence, was more probable, i.e. more likely (as opposite to 100% guaranteed) to have happened.

 

Should I disclose difficulties I had at the time in my personal life?

If you had particular extenuating circumstances that may have had an effect on you at the time of potential breach of suitability rules, it may be helpful to get a supporting letter from an objective third party. This could be a doctor, faith leader, coach or counsellor, if they were aware of your personal circumstances at the time. Such persons need to know the allegations and address the issue clearly; otherwise such evidence may be worthless. Where possible you should discuss the letter with your counsellor or doctor to make sure that they are aware you agree to your personal data being released. These details should include (where possible) confirmation of diagnosis, confirmation of time affected by the situation and an indication of the severity of your condition and the likely impact. It is recommended that you show a draft copy to the ARC before submission (you should not however let this cause you to miss the 5 working days deadline).

There are many examples of circumstances which could have impacted on your behaviour, so if you are in any doubt whether you should include this in your response to suitability misconduct allegations, please speak to an ARC adviser.

 

What are the potential outcomes after the hearing?

The Professional Suitability Panel may find that allegations were proven or that they were not.

If the allegations are not proven, the case will be dismissed.

Details of the potential outcomes can be found in paragraph 56 of the Professional Suitability Procedure

If your investigation also looked into academic or non-academic disciplinary issues, as opposed to a strictly professional misconduct issue, Panel may in addition impose other academic or non-academic penalties associated with the case.

 

 

If the Panel decided to permanently exclude a student from the University because a concern relating to professional suitability has been proven, the student will normally retain any academic credits they have acquired but no professional award which includes a protected title can be made to such students, even if they have successfully completed the relevant parts of their assessed work. In these circumstances, only academic awards that do not confer an eligibility to practise can be made.

After the hearing, the Panel Secretary will write to you, normally within five working days of the decision, regarding the outcome of the case, setting out the Panel’s reasons for the decision.

 

What if I do not agree with the penalty?

Appeals process is described in paragraphs 63-70 of the Professional Suitability Procedure

You can appeal the decision within 10 working days of the decision letter. It is highly recommend that you seek advice on this from the ARC.

The appeal needs to confirm what basis you are appealing on:

a. there has been procedural irregularity;

b. there was prejudice or bias on part of the decision- maker;

c. the decision is unreasonable and/or the sanction or outcome disproportionate

d. there is new evidence material* to the case which the student can demonstrate was for good reason not previously reasonably available.

 

*material evidence means evidence which is relevant and meaningful to your case

We can help you to decide whether appealing is a realistic option and whether you have a case for an appeal.

 

Suspension and/or Exclusion- how does that affect me?

Temporary suspension means that you will not be allowed to:

  • Sit such tests or examinations as are scheduled during that period;
  • Be told information about results / grades, progression to the next level or module choice for the next level
  • Be informed if you have re-sits
  • Access and utilise your Brunel email account.
  • Re-enrol

 

 

Temporary exclusion means that you are not permitted to come onto campus without the prior written permission of the Secretary to the Disciplinary Board.

Students who are temporarily excluded can sit exams, re-enrol or access their Brunel account. However, if you are a final year student, you will not be allowed to be informed about results/grades, re-sit questions, or be informed if you have re-sits.

Please note: some students can be temporarily suspended AND excluded at the same time. In such cases, the above restrictions are combined.

If you breach the terms of your suspension and/or exclusion, this will be considered a further potential breach of the Universities rules of Discipline. Therefore a further Disciplinary Procedure might be instigated against you.

It is vital that you do not come onto campus without permission from the Secretary to the Misconduct and Professional Suitability Board, Ms Liz Racz (01895 265472 / liz.racz@brunel.ac.uk)

Permission shall normally only be given for the purposes of seeking the advice or support services of the Union, or for the purpose of attending hearings or meetings connected with the investigation into the allegations against you. You will need to give 24 hours' notice of your wish to enter the campus for any reason.

 

What about the interaction with professional bodies and codes of conduct?

 

HCPC- Health and Care Professions Council

COT- College of Occupational Therapists

CSP- Chartered Society of Physiotherapists

NMC- Nursing and Midwifery Council

Social Work Suitability Scheme

National College for Teaching and Leadership  - Teachers’ Standards

IF your College have decided there is a matter for concern which will be instigated they are obliged to inform the HCPC/COT/CSP/NMC that your suitability is under investigation.  The HCPC/COT/CSP/NMC will do their own investigations and write to you separately confirming A) the investigation is in the preliminary stages and B) who has been appointed as your Investigating Officer and how to contact them.

College can also:

  • Consider whether to suspend you from practice – This is dependent on the nature of the allegations and whether you pose a threat/concern.
  • Inform your employer and/or sponsor that your suitability is under investigation – The HCPC/COT/CSP/NMC considers it important and good practice for students to inform their current or prospective employer that they are currently subject to a HCPC/COT/CSP/NMC conduct investigation.
  • Inform the Chair of the Board of Examiners that your suitability is under investigation – Whilst a student’s suitability is under investigation, all decisions made by the Board of Examiners will be deferred.

 

What advice and help can I expect from the Advice & Representation Centre?

The ARC can help you in the following ways:

  • Help you to understand the process
  • Check draft letters and oral statements before you submit them
  • Talk through realistic outcomes and what you could expect
  • Help you to define appeal grounds if you wish to appeal
  • Support you at the appeal and through the process
  • Help you decide whether appealing is a realistic option
  • Help you outline support arrangements which you require


CHANGE OF PLAN

This ARC Guide explains what you need to do if you have a Change of Plan. This includes Repeating your studies, Transferring Courses, Suspending your Studies (Abeyance/Time Out), Withdrawing from your course.

 

This guide contains information on the main implications of changing or leaving your course and the procedures involved.

We would encourage you to seek advice from your College and SFE (where appropriate) before you make your decision.

If you are considering changing or leaving your course you will need to think about all of the relevant information before making a final decision, for example:

 

  • Time limits – when does your period of registration end? Will you have enough time?
  • Academic practices – Does your programme and Senate allow for extra time?
  • Professional expectations – Are you on a professional course, do you have other guidelines to follow along with Brunel’s regulations? For example the College of Occupational Therapists (COT)
  • Financial considerations – Are you liable for Tuition Fees and Accommodation Fees still? What about you’re SFE funding?

 

The above may well restrict the options available to you.

 

  • International Students - Please note:

 

As you are likely to be studying on a Visa there are different rules governing what you may and may not do, and your stay in the UK may be affected. Seek advice from Student Centre Immigration before you take any action.

 

 

 

  • Need guidance?

 

The ARC will be happy to talk through the practical and financial implications of changing, leaving or suspending a course. If you are unsure about your course you may find it helpful to talk it through with some of the following people:

 

  • Repeating your studies

 

  • The rules regarding repeating study can be particularly complex and it is recommended that you always seek advice from the ARC on what this may mean for you.
  • If you are repeating studies with accepted Extenuating Circumstances then you will not have tuition fee liability but you will still require a maintenance loan (if applicable).

 

  • Transferring to another course or another University

 

  • Transferring to another course is something that needs to be agreed by your current department AND the prospective department/University.
  • If you intend to change University, you should inform your College/department and Student Finance England and they will reassess your entitlement.
  • If you are changing your course internally and have permission of relevant College’s admission tutors, please contact Student Centre. Student Centre staff will be happy to assist you with the procedures.

 

 

  • What could repeat study or transferring course/University mean for me financially?

 

If you are a Home/EU Student:

 

  • Usually, at the start of your course, you would be funded for each year of your study.  There is also an additional ‘gift’ year in which you can be funded for repeats and suspensions etc. 

 

  • For example, as a 3-year undergraduate student you would be funded for 3 years plus an additional gift year (totalling 4 years of ‘funding package’). 
  • This additional gift year of funding is a “safety net” as it is recognised that some students may need to repeat a year of study for various reasons. 
  • If you need to repeat a year, you will use a year out of your ‘funding package’.
  • If you need to repeat more then once, you’re ‘funding package’ may be depleted to the point that it may not cover all your course years.

 

  • If you have had previous study or already repeated a year and then need to repeat subsequent years you may need to fund the subsequent years yourself as you will have used your “safety net” year of funding.
  • For example, if you studied a year of UG studies at another University and then came to Brunel to commence a 3 year programme and then have to repeat a year, it is likely you will have to support yourself for one academic year.

 

  • If you decide to transfer courses or University once the academic year has commenced, depending on when you make this decision, you may well still be liable for fees (see page ).
  • For example, if you decide to transfer in term 2, you will still be liable for Tuition Fees for a portion of the year.

 

  • There are options which may help to extend your ‘funding package’.
  • For example if you’ve had a particularly difficult year due to health or personal reasons, the ARC can help you to negotiate with SFE to ask them to fund you for more years than you are entitled to.
  • SFE have discretion to do so and often agree if the evidence of your circumstances is compelling. Please see our Guide to Compelling Personal Reasons

 

  • Repeating your studies, if you are an International Student:

 

  • You will need to discuss with your sponsor as to whether they can continue to fund your extra year of study needed for repeats.
  • You may also need to extend your visa for this additional year of study.

 

 

  • Transferring to another course or University, if you are an International Student:

 

  • You will need to discuss with your sponsor as to whether they can continue to fund your new course.
  • You are also likely to need a new visa with the new University Course details.

 

 

  • What are the Academic implications of repeating?

 

  • There may be timeframes that you need to be aware of when repeating your studies.
  • You should consider whether you have enough time to complete the course you are registered for.

 

  • A normal period of study will be approved for each mode of study for each programme of study and assessment, this will be outlined in your programme specification.

 

  • Each mode of study in which a programme is offered, the maximum period of registration shall be the normal period of study plus two years up to a maximum period of registration for any programme of five years. 

 

Speak to the ARC or to your personal tutor to establish your maximum period of registration.

 

  • Suspending your studies/time out (Abeyance)

 

  • In order to suspend your studies, you should first speak to your Personal Tutor to discuss issues you may have and any alternative options available to you.

 

  • Once you have made your decision and agreed a date to return to study, you should then ask your tutor to notify Student Centre who will complete a “change of circumstances” electronic form. 

 

  • You should also let SFE know yourself that you are suspending.  Write to SFE and send a letter by Recorded Delivery- you can visit the ARC if you need help with this.

 

  • If you live in Halls of Residence contact the Accommodation Office for advice regarding your period of notice and whether you have to leave your room.

 

  • The University will not normally agree to periods of abeyance of more than one calendar year in the first instance. 

 

 

  • If you are an International Student and want to suspend your studies/take time out (abeyance)

 

  • International Students should urgently seek advice from the Student Centre as the periods of suspension of studies are limited for international students and permission to stay in UK may be affected if studies are suspended for more than a month.
  • Taking time out of your course for any reason will have immigration implications and you may need to return to your home country during the time that you have suspended your studies. Always contact Student Centre for advice before making your decision.

 

  • What may suspending (abeyance/time out) my studies mean for me financially?

 

Student Funding

  • Full-time students who need to take a break from their studies, but who want to return — i.e. ‘intercalate’ or suspend their studies — often fall through the net of both the student support and means tested benefits systems and may find it difficult to get financial support.
  • If it has been agreed by the University that you can suspend temporarily, SFE will normally suspend your financial support for up to one year and reinstate it when you return. The university has a duty to inform the SFE about your suspension.
  • SFE may request that you repay any parts of the loan you have received for periods when you were not actually in attendance at university. These rules are complex and students who suspend due to medical reasons are treated differently.
  • Those students who suspend on non-medical grounds are not entitled to any further funding from the day of their suspension (although SFE may discretionary agree to pay loan instalments i.e. they don’t have to pay you but they may, depending on your reasons for suspension- seek advice from the ARC).
  • Sometimes SFE does not act quickly enough on your information about your suspension and may continue paying you your loan instalments. There is always a scope for negotiation with SFE if they want you to repay the funding they say you were not entitled to, for example if your financial circumstances are difficult.
  • If you do not repay the ‘unused’ funding and SFE refuse to pay your any further loan instalments during your suspension, the debt created may result in reduction of funding in next academic year.

 

If you have been asked to repay SFE any overpayment that they have made to you during your suspension, you can always negotiate with them to ask that you can pay the overpayment back once you have completed your degree or earn enough to meet the repayment threshold. Speak to the ARC for help.

 

  • Withdrawing

 

If you wish to withdraw you should follow these steps:

  • Inform your personal tutor, Senior Tutor or Course Leader- so that they can complete the electronic Student Record Amendment Form.
  • Notify the SFE.
  • If in Halls of Residence contact an ARC Adviser or the Accommodation Office for advice regarding your period of notice and leaving your accommodation early.
  • If you rent off-campus you may have difficulty in getting out of your tenancy if it is for a fixed period of time. You should contact an ARC Adviser for further advice.
  • If you are going to be unemployed on leaving University you can make a claim for Jobseeker Allowance (JSA) at your local JobcentrePlus. 

 

  • What may Withdrawing mean for me financially?
  • If you are not in receipt of Tuition Fee Loan, you will be liable for fees personally. Therefore YOU will have to pay a portion of fees yourself, depending on when you withdraw.
  • If you receive Tuition Fee Loan, your fee liability, i.e. what you owe for tuition so far, should not exceed what you can borrow from the government in form of the tuition fee loan. Please see an ARC adviser if you are experiencing difficulties with this.
  • If you are going to withdraw from your course and start again on a new one next year or in the future, you should always seek advice from the ARC on what student funding you would be likely to receive. Depending on your situation you may have to fund some of your new course yourself. Alternatively seek advice from your ‘new’ University’s Student Union advice centre.
  • You may be asked to repay some parts of the funding that you have been paid by SFE. You are entitled to funding as long as you are registered as a student. Once you withdraw, SFE will require you to repay certain amount of the most recent loan instalment; the amount will be divided by how many days in the Term and you will be asked to pay back for the days you have not attended, i.e. from your withdrawal date until the date of your next instalment. The rules are similar as with Suspending (see above). You can negotiate with SFE about repayment options or rates.
  • You can ask SFE a question about the repayment options here  https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=910

If you have paid your fees yourself, you might be entitled to some refund if you withdraw.  There is no automatic entitlement to a refund of tuition fees after enrolment for students who withdraw from their programme of study. However, at the discretion of the Academic Registrar, refunds may be applied as follows:

If you transfer, withdraw or suspend your studies during the academic year, your fee liability is as below:

  • Home/EU Students:
  • Withdrawal in Weeks 1 and 2: No tuition fee charge so no need for a refund
  • Withdrawal in Weeks 3 to 14: 25% tuition fee liability
  • Withdrawal in Weeks 15 to 28: 50% tuition fee liability
  • Withdrawal in Weeks 29 onwards: 100% tuition fee liability
  • International Students:
  • Withdrawal in weeks 3 to 4: refund of 90% of the full fee payable
  • Withdrawal in weeks 5 to 14: refund of 67% of the full fee payable
  • Withdrawal in weeks 15 to 18: refund of 33% of the full fee payable
  • Withdrawal after week 18: no refund

International students are required to go back to their home country after withdrawing from a course. Seek advice from Immigration Team in the Student Centre.

 

What advice and help can I expect to receive from the Advice & Representation Centre?

 

  • Help you to understand your options.
  • Talk through with you what financially this will mean for you.
  • Check draft letters and statements before you submit them.
  • Talk through realistic outcomes and what you could expect.
  • Help you decide whether repeating, suspending, transferring or withdrawing are the best and most realistic option for you.

If you would like advice on the Academic Misconduct process then please complete our online enquiry form on Brunelstudents.com and a member of the ARC Team will get in touch!