• Unless you are self-certifying or using the grace period, you will need to provide evidence of the circumstances that have been affecting your ability to study or take an assessment in order to make a successful claim. The evidence will need to confirm that the circumstances exist, confirm the impact that they have had on your ability to study or take assessment and they will need to confirm that 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

    Applications other than grace period and self-certification submissions should be supported by appropriate evidence. The nature of evidence will vary depending on the circumstances but it must:

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

    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. 
  • If your circumstances relate to illness, either your own or a family member’s, a healthcare professional is likely to be best placed to provide you with the evidence you need to support your application. The healthcare professional providing the supporting evidence needs to know your ongoing situation so that they can provide a full context of your circumstances and the impact that they are having on your ability to study or undertake assessment.

    It’s very important to understand that professional staff such as doctors and the Wellbeing team can only provide evidence if you’ve previously made them aware of the circumstances and if they agree that your circumstances have had an impact on your ability to study or undertake assessment. It would be inappropriate for you to make an appointment to see a member of University staff just to ask for evidence to support your claim. There is no obligation for staff to provide evidence for your claim. 

    The type of evidence that will be relevant in circumstances which do not relate to your health will vary, depending on the nature of the situations.

    • If you are a victim of a crime, you could provide details of the crime and the crime number issued by the police. This would need to be accompanied by independent third party evidence which indicated how the crime had impacted on your ability to study or take assessment.
    • If your claim related to the death of a close relative, you could submit a death certificate or funeral order of service.
    • If you are affected because a close relative is seriously ill and you need to be out of the country to spend time with them, you could provide hospital letters (with your relative’s permission) and evidence of travel (such as copies of flight bookings).
    • Similarly, if you are the main carer for a family member who became unwell which impacted on the amount of care they needed, you could provide medical evidence of the illness and explain the impact this had on your ability to study or be assessed.
  • What information should my evidence include?

    This will depend on who is providing the evidence.

    Evidence from a healthcare professional

    • Clear information and/or a diagnosis of the nature of the health problem
    • Details of the dates when you were affected including an indication of the likely duration of the condition
    • Comment on the impact on your ability to study and/or undertake assessments.

    Evidence from University staff

    • If the University staff member has direct expertise around your circumstances, eg counsellor, mentor etc working with you, they can provide professional 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.

    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 is about.

    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.

    If your evidence is not in English, then it is up to you to get an officially accredited English translation of it to submit with your application or within 10* working days of making the application. 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. 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 include a:

    • medical certificate
    • death certificate
    • crime reference
    • letter from an independent professional confirming the nature of your circumstances.

    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 should I 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