Absences: taking time off…

What if my son or daughter cannot go to lectures or attend exams?
But my son or daughter might need to be away from university for a while…
My son or daughter is ill…is this the same process?

What if my son or daughter cannot go to lectures or attend exams?

Student taking notes in lectureOccasionally a student might feel unwell, or have a family emergency, which means they have to be away from university for a short time. If your son or daughter is not able to go to lectures, or exams, or do laboratory work, it is important they let their department know as soon as possible so that staff know where they are and can take action to support them if needed. The sorts of help a department can offer include catch-up help with a tutor or advice on where to go for medical help.

Self Certification Forms and Extenuating Circumstances Forms are available online or from the Student Services Information Desk and should be filled in at times like this, so that your son or daughter isn’t just reported as “absent without authorisation” on attendance lists, but is reported as absent for a reason.

At exam time, filling in an Extenuating Circumstances form is especially important because it means that a poor performance in an examination might be re-evaluated in the light of illness or distressing circumstances which the department have been advised of via the form.   The form should be submitted as soon as possible because it will be needed at the departmental Board of Examiners Meeting (sometimes called the Special Circumstances Meeting).  (See Exams for more on this).

But my son or daughter might need to be away from university for a while…

A more serious problem or illness may need a longer period of time away from the course, and your son or daughter might need to take a Leave of Absence (LOA). When on LOA a student is usually away from the University for either a semester or a whole academic year and then returns the next year ready to focus their attention on their studies again.

If this is the situation your son or daughter finds themselves in, they should talk to a member of staff in their academic department as soon as possible. This is to make sure that the department have helped them consider all the options available to them, and any implications that a break from study may have.

If your son or daughter does choose to go on a LOA, they need to fill out a Change of Status form.

Your son or daughter should fill the form in and sign it. Their academic department will help with this and will then send the completed form to us at the Student Administration Service (SAS). Once approved in SAS, the change is processed on the central computer record system; this includes informing Student Finance England (SFE) (sometimes known as the Student Loans Company) of the Leave, or the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration service, if appropriate.

Finally, your son or daughter will be emailed to confirm their student record has been updated.

My son or daughter is unable to attend University for some time due to illness. Is this the same process?

University Health ServiceYes, however, if the leave of absence is due to medical circumstances, a supporting doctor’s note or medical certificate should be attached to the Change of Status form. This information may be passed to the University Health Service (UHS), as your son or daughter will be required to see a University doctor when they return, to confirm that they are fit to resume their studies (even though they may not be registered as a patient at UHS). Where medical circumstances are the reason for the LOA, the Change of Status form cannot be processed without a doctor’s note or medical certificate. All information is treated confidentially.

TIP: A student can register with the University Health Service as soon as they start University.