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Academic Appeals

It is possible to appeal against faculty exam board decisions. Faculty exam board decisions include things like whether you can progress to the next year of study, whether you will be allowed to resit any failed units (for capped or uncapped marks), and what your final degree classification will be. Exam boards also have the power to require students to withdraw from their course. 

Once you have read all the information below and you want to appeal, please use our Appeals Wizard to create a draft form. Please note that all information you provide to us is maintained in accordance with our Confidentiality Policy and Bristol SU’s Privacy Policy.

How to tell if you've received a faculty exam board decision

Faculty decisions about failed units usually arrive by way of a letter attached to an email. Degree classification decisions usually appear on Studentinfo or SAFE without a letter. If you’re not sure, ask at your school office. Faculty exam board decisions should also include information about your right to appeal.

When are faculty exam board decisions made?

Most faculty exam board decisions are issued after the end of the May/June assessment period, in late June or early July. Another peak time for faculty decisions is after the Aug/Sept resit period. However, faculty decisions can be issued at any time of the academic year.

If you're not happy with the faculty decision

You can appeal against your faculty decision within 15 working days (weekends and University closed days don’t count) of receiving the decision letter. If you’re out of time for appealing, it’s possible to request a late appeal if you have a good reason why you weren’t able to appeal within the deadline. Just Ask can advise further on this.

Do you have a ground for appeal?

Your appeal will only succeed if it fits into one or more of these three possible grounds for appeal:

  1. That there has been a material irregularity in the decision-making process. This could apply if the University hasn’t followed its own procedures properly which has resulted in an unfair outcome for you. An example of this could be if you notified the University of extenuating circumstances but they haven’t been classified correctly or adjusted for appropriately.
  2. Your performance in assessment has been affected by extenuating circumstances that you were unable for good reason to disclose before the meeting of the board of examiners. You will have been reminded of the deadline for submitting your EC form – this is usually shortly after the end of each assessment period, before your school Extenuating Circumstances Committee and exam boards meet. If you have a good reason why you weren’t able to submit your EC form before this date, this ground could apply to you.
  3. A penalty for plagiarism or exam cheating has been applied which is wrong or disproportionate. Note that this ground doesn’t apply to late submission penalties, it’s only where an issue regarding academic integrity has arisen, been investigated, and a penalty applied.

What outcome are you looking for?

Faculty exam boards are bound by University regulations. They never increase marks, but they can disregard marks. For example, if you have a mark that was affected by extenuating circumstances they can leave it out of the calculation of your overall degree classification. They can allow further attempts at assessments, but only where the unit has been failed. They can also allow repeat or supplementary years.

Filling out your appeal form

To appeal, you need to fill out an appeal form. You can use our Appeals Wizard above to help you to do this. You will need to explain what has happened and how your situation fits into one or more of the grounds for appeal. If you prefer, you can find a blank appeal form here. Please email your draft form through to us on bristolsu-justask@bristol.ac.uk if you’d like some feedback on it before you submit it. Just Ask have a wealth of experience about academic appeals and we find that if students come to us for advice early on in the appeals process their appeal has a much greater chance of success. It can mean that the appeal is resolved quickly rather than having to go to the second stage of the appeals process.

Submitting your appeal form

The appeal form needs to be submitted to your Faculty Education Manager before the deadline, which will be 15 working days from the date you received the decision. The relevant email address will be on your faculty exam board decision letter. Make sure you attach all evidence that you have in support of your appeal.

What happens next?

Your appeal will be considered by your Faculty Education Director and you will receive a Local Stage decision letter in due course. There is no specific timescale for this, but the general guide is that you should hear something within 25 working days. The faculty exam board decision stands until your appeal is successful. This means that if you’re required to withdraw you will be considered to have left the University until such time as an appeal overturns that decision. If you have a degree classification that you’re appealing, the original decision stands until the appeal succeeds. You can graduate even if you are appealing – if your appeal succeeds you will be issued with a new degree certificate at a later date.

The Local Stage decision

When you receive the Local Stage decision, please get in touch with Just Ask straight away. We’d like to hear if your appeal succeeds, and we can advise further if the appeal isn’t successful.

The Local Stage decision comes in the form of a letter from your Faculty Education Director explaining the reasoning behind the decision. If you are not happy with the outcome at Local Stage, you may be able to progress your appeal to the next stage of the appeals procedure, the University Stage.