Notes on the Procedure of Committees Concerned with the Academic Progress of Students

1. Membership and attendance at the Committees

The academic progress of individual students is a reserved area. Student members of Faculty Boards, Senate and Council are not eligible, therefore, to be members of Faculty Student Review or Appeals Committees, although the student being reviewed may invite a friend or adviser (who may also be a student) to attend the meeting (see below).

Faculty Student Review Committees and the Appeals Committee of the Senate shall consist of three persons, drawing from a pool nominated annually by the relevant Faculty, one of them acting as Chairman. In the case of a student registered in appropriate professionally accredited programmes of study, the panel should normally include a member of staff of that Faculty registered with the relevant professional regulatory body. A Secretary to the Committee (and an assistant where appropriate) shall be appointed.

When practicable, persons who have taught or assessed a particular student or who have already been involved in the review of that student's progress, should not be members of the Review or Appeals Committee. A representative (accompanied by a additional member of staff if required) of the student's department(s) will normally be present at Faculty and Senate level meetings, and a representative of the Faculty Student Review Committee (normally the Chairman) will also be present at any Senate level meetings. These representatives will leave the meeting after all evidence has been given, before a decision is reached by the Committee.

2. Procedure when Faculty Student Review Committees consider unsatisfactory reports about students from departments

a) When the progress of a student has been referred to the Faculty Student Review Committee, the student must first be given notice in writing of:

  1. the Progress Concerns Report (UG/PGT) / the Report of Unsatisfactory Progress (PGR), together with a reference to the relevant paragraph or paragraphs of Regulation 2
  2. the right to attend the Faculty Student Review Committee and to bring a friend or adviser and witnesses and to submit documentation
  3. the right to put the case forward in a written submission to the Committee
  4. the procedure to be adopted

(The student shall receive a copy of these notes.)

b) The student will be asked to state, in advance of the hearing, an intention to adopt one of the following courses of action:

  • to attend in person with or without a friend or adviser
  • to make a written submission
  • to withdraw from the University
  • to have the case considered without taking any of the courses of action (i)-(iii) above.

c) The student must be informed, in writing, of the date, time and place when the case will be considered by the Committee. The student should be informed that unless a reply to the request for a statement of the proposed action is received within 10 working days of the date of the letter of notification, it will be assumed that the student has withdrawn from the University. If the student wishes to bring a friend or adviser, the status of the friend or adviser and an indication of whether that friend or adviser is legally qualified, should be provided in writing not later than 3 working days before the date fixed for the hearing. Papers presented to the hearing should be submitted at least 3 working days before the hearing. The student should also notify the Secretary (not later than 3 working days beforehand) of the names of any witnesses they may wish to call.

3. Committee procedure when the student wishes to appear in person

a) The date arranged for the hearing must give the student reasonable time to prepare the case. The student may ask for an adjournment which may be granted or refused at the discretion of the Committee.

b) The student must be informed by the Secretary of the membership of the Committee before the hearing. If the student objects to a member, the reasons for that objection should be provided in writing to the Secretary and the Chairman will determine whether the member objected to should be excluded from consideration of the case. If the student objects to the Chairman, the Secretary should be informed in writing and the members shall determine whether the student's objection should be upheld.

c) If the student fails to attend the hearing, the Committee may proceed in the student's absence if it is satisfied that the student had due notice of the meeting, or may adjourn to a later date.

d) At the start of the hearing the Chairman will summarise the procedure to be adopted and give the student an opportunity to:

  1. raise any procedural questions
  2. request an adjournment, which may be granted or refused at the discretion of the Committee

e) The following order of proceedings will be observed

  1. a representative of the department will summarise the facts relevant to the review, taking into consideration all aspects of the student's record where appropriate, in the presence of the student and the student's adviser, if attending. Where appropriate a professional adviser may attend to support the departmental representative. The departmental representative and any adviser may be questioned by the student, by the student's adviser and by members of the Committee.
  2. the student and/or adviser may make a statement.
  3. the student and/or adviser may draw any further information to the attention of the Committee and may call witnesses; any person giving evidence may be questioned by the Committee.
  4. the members of the Committee will then proceed in the absence of all other persons except the Secretary to take a decision on the course of action which is appropriate. The student will not be present while the Committee makes its decision.
  5. no fresh matters will be discussed after the student has left the room.

f) The Secretary shall notify the student in writing of the decision of the Committee.

4. Committee procedure when the student indicates a wish to make a written submission

a) On receipt of the student's written submission, all Heads of the Departments concerned will be sent a copy and be invited to comment in writing. They may also wish to attend or to send a representative as appropriate. The Head of Department or representative who attends will be asked to leave the meeting before the Committee takes its decision.

b) The Secretary shall notify the student in writing of the decision of the Committee.

5. Procedure when an appeal is made to the Appeals Committee of the Senate

a) As soon as possible after a decision has been reached by the Faculty Student Review Committee the student must be given notice in writing of the right of appeal to the Appeals Committee of the Senate; this right must be exercised within 15 working days of the letter of notification, by sending to the Secretary of the Appeals Committee of the Senate a brief written statement of the grounds for appeal. A student wishing to appeal under Regulation 8(b) should submit the new material within 15 working days of the letter of notification.

b) The student wishing to appeal will be asked to state, in advance of the hearing, whether they wish to appear before the Appeals Committee of the Senate in person and to bring a friend or adviser, or to put their case forward to the Committee by written submission. 

c) A decision of the Faculty Review Committee, other than the decision to permit the student to continue the programme of study unconditionally, will not take effect for taught students until a decision on the appeal has been made.  Full time taught students will usually be permitted to sit examinations in the current session and/or register provisionally in the following session (with the appropriate payment of fees) pending a decision on the appeal.  Any such examinations will only be assessed and a mark or grade recorded where the appeal is upheld and the student permitted to continue with the programme of study.

d) At the hearing, the following order of proceedings will be observed

  1. the student and/or adviser may make a statement
  2. the student and/or adviser may draw any further information to the attention of the Committee and may call witnesses; any person giving evidence may be questioned by the Committee
  3. a representative of the department will respond to the student's statement and summarise the facts relevant to the review, taking into consideration all aspects of the student's record where appropriate, in the presence of the student and the student's adviser, if attending. In the case of an appeal hearing, a representative of the Faculty Student Review Committee (normally the Chairman) will be invited to the hearing and will be asked to give a brief explanation of the reasoning for the decision reached. Where appropriate a professional adviser may attend to support the departmental representative. The departmental representative and any adviser may be questioned by the student, by the student's adviser and by members of the Committee.
  4. the members of the Committee will then proceed in the absence of all other persons except the Secretary to take a decision on the course of action which is appropriate. The student will not be present while the Committee makes its decision.
  5. no fresh matters will be discussed after the student has left the room.

e) An Officer of the Union of Students may attend any appeal hearing, as a non-participating observer, if the student so wishes.

f) The Secretary shall notify the student in writing of the decision of the Appeals Committee of the Senate.

6. External Review

If the student is dissatisfied with the decision of the Appeals Committee of Senate, the student may be able to apply for a review of their case by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA), providing that their case is eligible under its Rules.  This is an independent review scheme and forms no part of the University's review or appeal procedures.  The OIA will normally only review issues that have been dealt with through the University's internal procedures.