Information Services

Extensions and Special Circumstances Policy to Change

Changes to Exceptional Circumstances systems aim to improve overall marking and moderation experience for students and staff alike.

The Student Systems Partnership (SSP) programme covers Student Systems-related projects over the course of 2023 to 2025, supporting the University strategy 2030. As part of this broad programme, updates to Extensions and Special Circumstances (ESC) systems (to support the recently approved Exceptional Circumstances Policy) will enhance student and staff experience related to receiving feedback on assessments, as well as improving support during exceptional circumstances.

All Schools across the University have been noticing an increase in the number of extensions requested and accepted for assessments. This has had considerable effects on both staff (on the marketing and mode ration process) and students (having to wait for feedback on assessments with extended deadlines and on decisions for waiving late penalty until the Board of Examiners (BoE) have met). In 2022/23, extensions were received by over 20,000 students on over 80,000 assessments. In certain cases, over 60% of the cohort was receiving extensions, leading to severe consequences on marking and moderation.

Graph showing growth of student extension applications

Improving academic rigor and turnaround time for students

The approved Exceptional Circumstances Policy aims to enable the self-certification of extensions for students and limits them to three self-certifications for a year. This is aimed at reducing the unnecessary extensions received on coursework submissions and maintaining academic rigor. Apart from enabling students to receiving the three self-certified extensions for a year, the project aims to improve student experience by reducing turnaround time for extensions by providing instant approval for them. Currently, students wait for up to two working days to receive decisions on extensions applications.

Reduced manual approvals and time spent by staff

Additionally, instant extension approvals will reduce the number of annual working days staff spend on manual approvals.

Eliminating the need to capture sensitive special category data

Currently when students apply for extensions, they provide descriptions of their situation which is then reviewed and approved to receive extensions. This information is sensitive, classified as ‘special category data’ by the Data Protection Laws. With over 20,000 students applying for extensions in 2022/23, the extensions applications process was receiving and capturing this data for over 40% of the student population.

With the intended changes to the ESC systems, students will no longer need to provide this sensitive information, and will be able to receive up to three extensions per year.

If you have any questions, please contact Akshi Kakar (

To find out more about the Student Systems Partnership (SSP) Programme, click here.