Personal and Sensitive Circumstances - A Student Guide

The University has guidelines for the disclosure of exceptional circumstances. All information disclosed to the University will be treated within the normal boundaries of confidentiality and in accordance with Data Protection requirements.

If you feel that your exceptional circumstances are highly personal and you cannot disclose them via the standard procedure, please click on the relevant time period for further guidance:  

During Term Time

If you consider that issues in your private life (eg financial stress, emotional distress, mental or physical illness) are affecting your attendance or academic performance, you should speak to someone in your School (eg your Personal Tutor) without delay.  You should not wait until examination results have been published.  Telling your School at an early stage will give the School the opportunity to put in place measures to assist you or to discuss the options open to you (eg taking a period of temporary withdrawal).  Information about personal matters which you disclose to your School will be treated confidentially.

If you feel that your exceptional circumstances are of a highly personal or sensitive nature and that they are having an impact on your studies or your wellbeing and you do not feel able to disclose the information to any member of staff in your School, there are other people you can talk to in confidence:

Student Wellbeing:

If you are experiencing personal or emotional difficulties that are impacting on your academic performance you can speak to a member of the Student Wellbeing team about support available to you by emailing studentwellbeing@qub.ac.uk or completing the online contact form, look at online self-help resources or visit the Student Wellbeing Zone, First Floor, Student Guidance Centre.

For 24 hour telephone support from a counsellor, contact the Counselling Service on 0808 800 0016 (free from mobile or landline).

Occupational Health:

Email: occhealth@qub.ac.uk or tel: 028 9066 4634 or (out of hours) 028 90 796220.

Disability Services:

Email: disability.office@qub.ac.uk or tel: 028 9097 5251. 

You are encouraged to speak to a member of staff in your School, such as your Personal Tutor or Adviser of Studies, even if you do not wish to disclose the nature of the difficulty you are facing. They can advise you of appropriate processes and options available to you. 

During University Examination Period

If something happens during the examination period which you believe had a significant impact on your academic performance, you can submit an Exceptional Circumstances Application Form.  Please note that there are deadlines for such applications during examination periods.  The University has a deadline but your own School may have its own deadline (which will take precedence) and it is your responsibility to ascertain which deadline applies to you.  If you are in doubt, check this with your School.

However, if you feel that your circumstances are of such a personal or sensitive nature that you do not feel able to disclose the details to your School, you can contact the Directorate of Academic and Student Affairs (dasa@qub.ac.uk) for advice on the Personal and Sensitive procedure.  You should do this as early as possible, as all information required must be submitted to the Director within seven working days of the publication of your exam results.

Your circumstances will be considered by the Director of Academic and Student Affairs, or nominee.  The details will remain confidential between you and the Director and will not be disclosed to the School or to the Board of Examiners or any other party.  (The only exception to this is if you disclose information which raises concern for the safety or wellbeing of yourself or others or relates to serious criminal activity.)

Evidence which was not disclosed to your School and/or withheld from the Board of Examiners because it was of a highly sensitive and personal nature is not a ground for appeal.  The Director of Academic and Student Affairs will contact your School to ascertain what information the School has, if any, relating to your circumstances but will not disclose the information you have provided in your Personal and Sensitive application. 

The Director of Academic and Student Affairs will decide whether your case should be referred back to the Board of Examiners for consideration.  

Please be aware that if you do not want to share your circumstances with the University, this may result in the details of your situation not being taken into account in progress / assessment / award decisions.

Appeal

If your application under the Personal and Sensitive Procedure is refused, you may submit an appeal to the Faculty Student Appeals Committee (FSAC) but you must do so by the FSAC deadline (which is three working days after the deadline for applications under the Personal and Sensitive Procedure). 

Although evidence will be required of your exceptional circumstances, it is evidence of the impact that the exceptional circumstances have had on your ability to study or perform academically (rather than the exceptional circumstances themselves) that will be considered by the FSAC. 

Insofar as possible, the details of your circumstances will be redacted or kept confidential and only disclosed to the Chair of the FSAC or the Committee members if absolutely necessary.