Safety Net Policy (2019–20 assessments)

The University's Safety Net Policy, designed to provide a ‘safety net’ for all students adversely impacted by the impacts of the coronavirus during the 2019-20 academic session.


What is the Safety Net Policy?

In 2020, the University introduced a Safety Net Policy for students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This policy was introduced to minimise disruption to assessments in the 2019–20 academic year. As long as all your assessments were completed and you passed the year overall, your overall grade for 2019–20 would not fall below a Safety Net Benchmark that was calculated for you.

Some departments were unable to apply the benchmark calculation methodology as laid out in the policy because of external requirements for regulation and accreditation. These departments developed alternative approaches in keeping with the University’s overall approach, but adjusted to accommodate external requirements.

How your safety net was calculated

For undergraduate students, the safety net benchmark was calculated as follows:

  • If you had 40 credits or more between 1 September 2019 and 15 March 2020, your safety net benchmark was an overall weighted average of those marks, or an overall weighted average of your previous level of study – whichever was higher.
  • If you had fewer than 40 credits between 1 September 2019 and 15 March 2020, your safety net benchmark was an overall weighted average of your previous level of study.

If your average grade based on actual 2019–20 results was higher than your safety net benchmark, then the Safety Net Policy will not have been applied to you, as it would have been of no benefit.

If your average grade based on actual 2019–20 results was lower than your safety net benchmark, your safety net benchmark would have been used instead of your 2019-20 year average when calculating your final degree outcome.

How the safety net will have affected your degree

Your final award will have been calculated using the University's General Regulations and those regulations specific to individual programmes of study, based on actual module marks. 

Watch: How we work out your degree classification

For Calculation 1 (the weighted average grade), your safety net benchmark will have replaced your 2019–20 average grade.

For Calculation 2 (the distribution of the weighted grades), your affected module marks (those completed between 16 March 2020 and the end of the 2019–20 academic session) will have each been uplifted by an equal amount to ensure that your 2019–20 average grade matched your safety net benchmark.

Whilst still ensuring that you receive the full benefit of the safety net benchmark, this approach is different to that originally included in the Safety Net Policy, as it was recognised that the original approach impacted on the distribution of grades and could adversely impact on this method of award calculation.

View an example of how grades are uplifted under Calculation 2

Frequently asked questions

What COVID mitigations were in place for the 2020–21 session?

During the 2019–20 academic year, many students had completed semester one modules and had a previous year of study that was unaffected by COVID-19. This enabled the University to introduce a Safety Net Policy, using those modules as a benchmark.

As students in the 2020-21 academic year didn’t have recent modules that were unaffected by COVID-19, it wasn’t possible to introduce a safety net along the same lines as the previous year.

Instead, the University worked closely with the Students' Union to put protections in place as part of its assessment guarantee.

We are confident these measures ensured that results were not negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Further information

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