For application types A, B and D you can self-certify. For Type C, you will need to provide evidence of the circumstances that have been affecting your ability to study or take an assessment. The evidence will need to confirm:

  • the circumstances exist
  • the impact that they have had on your ability to study or take assessment 
  • the timing of the circumstances is relevant to the time you are claiming.

Don’t wait until you have evidence to submit your claim. You have up to 10 working days to submit your evidence after you make the initial claim. Tell us what you plan to submit and make a note of the reference number you receive when you have submitted your claim and make sure that you use that number when you’re submitting your evidence so that your evidence can be linked to your claim. If you think that you may not be able to submit your evidence within 10 working days of your application, please tell us why in your application.

Appropriate evidence

Type C applications should have evidence. The nature of evidence will vary depending on the circumstances but it must:

  • confirm the existence of the exceptional circumstances and the relevant timeframe
  • confirm the impact of the exceptional circumstances on the student concerned
  • be comprehensible for the panel.

Some examples of evidence we are likely to consider 

  • Doctor's/Psychiatrist/Other Mental health professional letter or certificate which confirms your illness and the time period
  • Hospital admission or discharge letter
  • A Death certificate, an Order of Service, a letter from the funeral director, or an online notice of death (from the funeral director or from the local newspaper/online)
  • A police report or other letter from a police officer, or a crime reference number 
  • A supporting statement from your employer, for example if your circumstances relate to an unexpected increase in workload or unexpected employment circumstances
  • A news report, for example to confirm unforeseen (and extreme) transport difficulties

Some examples of evidence we are unlikely to consider acceptable 

  • Self-certification of your own circumstances
  • Evidence which is provided by someone who is not independent from you, e.g. family member, tutor, friend 
  • Information about a medical condition for which a Doctor did not see or diagnose you at the time, for example, a letter from a doctor confirming what you told them about your state of health several weeks beforehand
  • Screenshots from mobile devices without context, or showing restricted information
  • Images of injuries without extra information- Images on their own are difficult to interpret, e.g. we can’t verify when or where it was taken or the severity of an injury or condition
  • Illegible evidence i.e., faded wording, cropped, missing information, undated, poorly scanned evidence

Images as evidence

Please note that while it may be appropriate to submit images as evidence in some instances, it is not required in others, such as to demonstrate the occurrence of an injury, medical condition, or accident, as these should be evidenced via appropriate documentation such as a doctor's note, police report or hospital discharge letter. 

Therefore, please refrain from adding images as supporting evidence unless it is necessary and appropriate to do so. 

Please note that you must seek consent to share from any third parties if any of the evidence you have submitted as part of your application contains data about another person.  

Clarification of evidence

The University reserves the right to request clarification regarding particular evidence or further evidence. Requests may include, but are not limited to:

  • extra supporting documentation
  • the evidence being sent directly from a third party
  • the translation of documents into English, as required.

If you haven’t provided the relevant evidence within 10 working days of making your exceptional circumstances application, your application is unlikely to be considered unless you have explained the delay and we have agreed to you submitting your evidence outside this timeframe.

Who can provide evidence?

Evidence may come from a variety of sources depending on the type of exceptional circumstances you are experiencing. In all cases they need to be:

  • Relevant - for example, if your circumstances relate to an illness then your evidence needs to come from a healthcare professional
  • Objective - that is they are not personally connected to you in any way. 

You should obtain permission from the person providing evidence, to ensure they are happy for you to share it with the exceptional circumstances panel. 

What information should my evidence include?

This will depend on who is providing the evidence.

What format should my evidence be in?

It is important that your evidence meets the University’s required standards or it may be rejected.

  • Letters should be on headed paper, with a date and include the signature of the author.
  • Email evidence should be from the official domain name of the author’s organisation.
  • It’s fine for you to submit scans or photos of evidence with the online submission, but remember that we'll need to be able to read them, so do check before you submit them. The University may ask to see the original documents as well, if needed.
  • Typically, we cannot open HEIC files, so please convert them into PDFs or JPEGs 

What if my evidence relates to someone else?

Sometimes, students might feel the need to provide evidence relating to other people (also known as ‘third parties’) in support of an exceptional circumstances application. For example, evidence of the hospitalisation of a partner, dependent or close relative, a police report, or a letter from Social Services relating to other family members.

Other people’s data is sensitive and you should only include information that is strictly necessary to support your application and only with the consent of the person that the information relates to.

Do I always need to evidence the impact on me?

You will normally need to provide evidence of what has happened together with evidence of how this has impacted on you. However, in some cases, we may be prepared to waive the requirement to demonstrate the impact on you as this will be clear to a Panel considering your application. 

The most obvious example of this would be when you have lost a close member of your family such as a parent, grandparent, sibling, child or partner. In such situations, you would still need to provide evidence of the death. The overriding principle is that we may be willing to waive the requirement to produce evidence of the impact a situation has had on you if it is easily obvious to us. If you’re not sure, please check with the Student Investigation and Resolution Team.

Will I be asked to provide more evidence if I don’t provide enough?

It is expected that you will provide all the evidence needed for a full assessment of your exceptional circumstances application by the Exceptional Circumstances Panel, either when you submit your application or within 10* working days of making the application. You will, therefore, not be asked to provide additional evidence and the decision will be made on the evidence you have submitted.

It is vital that you submit all of the supporting, relevant evidence that you want to be considered and that you list the evidence you have provided on your exceptional circumstances application at the time you apply or within 10* working days of applying.

Can I ask whoever is assessing my exceptional circumstances application to contact me if they need more evidence?

No. It is your responsibility to make a complete application. You must submit all your evidence at the time that you make your application or within 10*working days of making your application. This includes an officially accredited English translation of your evidence if the original is not in English.

Some examples of the types of evidence that might be relevant are listed above. 

There may be many more depending on the particular exceptional circumstances you are experiencing. It is up to you to decide what evidence to use.

Need more advice?

If you have read the policy and this guidance and you are still unsure about what evidence you need to provide and where you can get it from, seek guidance. People who are able to advise you include:

  • your Student Support Co-ordinator
  • your Academic Adviser
  • Student Investigation and Resolution Team
  • Brookes Union Advice Service.

More information on who can provide you with guidance can be found under the section called Where to go for help.

We understand that sometimes the circumstances you need to tell us about when making a submission are highly sensitive. Please be assured that only the staff who need to know about your situation in order to assess your case will have access to your claim and the evidence you submit. They will treat any information disclosed as confidential and will not discuss it with other staff.

*Unless we have agreed to a short extension to the 10 working days