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Concessions

Durham uses the word 'concession' to describe a request to permit students to do things that fall outside established parameters – whether that’s the parameters we have agreed with TEIs in their Programme Regulations and Module Overview Tables, or Common Awards policies, or the University’s Core Regulations.

This is an intentional process as careful consideration needs to be given to any potential impact on a student’s programme of study and their student record. Concession requests therefore must be approved in advance - either by a TEI’s Management Committee or the University (see the approval processes below). 

There may be some exceptional circumstances under which retrospective concession requests are necessary (see our FAQs below); TEIs should provide a brief narrative to explain for this when submitting such a request.

See our Templates and Forms page to download the concessions form which should be used for both TEI-level and University-level concession requests.  

Concessions which require TEI-level approval:

Concessions which require University-level approval:

Concession FAQs

 

TEI-level approval

Approval process: TEI Management Committees

TEIs should complete a Concession Request Form which can be found on the Templates and Forms page. TEI-level concession requests may be considered at a TEI Management Committee meeting (or sub-committee), although in practice, it is more likely that the Chair of the Management Committee (or delegate) considers requests on behalf of the Management Committee. TEIs are reminded that often sensitive information is shared by students when seeking a concession and that careful consideration should be given to how this information is shared within the TEIs. TEIs are also reminded that concessions requests should be considered following consultation with the student (as alternative options may be available to them) and in discussions with TEI staff responsible for the programme of study for the student. 

The TEI Management Committee is responsible for keeping the number and type of concessions requested by students under review. TEIs must keep records of all concessions approved by the TEI Management Committee.  

Once the concession has been approved, please forward the approved Concession Request Form to the Common Awards Team, who will make the appropriate changes to the student's record in Banner. There is no need to send a separate Changes of Registration Form unless further changes need to be made to the student's record.

 

Programme transfer (within a TEI)

This concession is required if a student wishes to transfer to a different programme offered by the TEI. 

This type of concession does not include students wishing to move onto a different programme after the award of a programme (e.g. a student moving from the Diploma to the BA - this is a decision of the TEI’s Board of Examiners based on satisfactory progress). Students should not be transferred between programmes during the final term of study in any academic year; programme transfers at this point should be managed through the Board of Examiners. See our page on TEI Boards of Examiners: Progression for more information. A concessions request can be used in exceptional circumstances if the meeting of the Board of Examiners is scheduled after the start of teaching for the destination programme.    

If the student meets the requirements for the destination programme, the concession should be considered by the TEI Management Committee (or Chair) and the outcome communicated to the student. If the student does not meet the requirements for the destination programme, or the modules studied do not map directly to the programme regulations of the destination programme, but the TEI is supportive of the transfer, the concession should be considered by the Common Awards Management Board (see below for details).

If the concessions request is approved, please forward the approved Concessions Form to the Common Awards Team, ensuring that the new programme details are on the form to enable the team to action the changes in Banner.

Suspension of studies

Where the suspension period requested is less than 12 months, TEI Management Committees (or Chair) can consider and approval suspension requests from students and, if approved, the outcome communicated to the student.

Evidence submitted by student in support of the concession should normally include:

  • an explanation of the reasons for the suspension;
  • any evidence submitted in support of the suspension (e.g. medical evidence).

TEIs should give careful consideration to the impact on a student’s programme of study and what, if any, additional support the student may require on their return to studies. Students who are unable to return to studies after a 12 month suspension should normally be required to withdraw from the programme unless there are exceptional circumstances (see below for University-level approval for more information). 

Students can have more than one period of suspension during their studies. 

If the concessions request is approved, please forward the approved Concessions Form to the Common Awards Team, ensuring that the student's new end date is recorded on the form to enable the team to action the changes in Banner.

Readmission after withdrawal

If a student fails to complete his/her programme and withdraws without an award, but reapplies to this (or another) programme or TEI within the next five years, s/he will require this type of concession. TEIs should give careful consideration to why the student originally withdrew from their programme. If they are readmitted, credit from previous modules taken can count towards their new programme, as long as the new programme is within the same qualification grouping (ie undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate).

If the student reapplies after the five year period has passed, s/he will not require a concession and should be considered for admission in the normal way, in consultation with the University. 

Evidence considered by the TEI in support of the concession should normally include: 

  • evidence of the student's academic ability and of a positive attitude to study during the time already spent at the/a TEI;
  • any mitigating circumstances in respect of the original failure.

Information on how to request and share this information securely between TEIs is included in the Moodle Marks Processing System guide, available on the Common Awards Hub. 

If the concessions request is approved, please forward the approved Concessions Form to the Common Awards Team.

Late entry to a programme or module

This concession is required to be considered by a TEI Management Committee if a student is admitted onto a module after the start of teaching. This type of concession should be considered if a student intends to change their module registrations. 

Evidence considered by the TEI in support of the concession should normally include:

  • an outline of any academic requirements missed by the student;
  • an explanation of how the student will be supported in fulfilling any missed academic requirements;
  • and the extra support the TEI will provide to help the student meet these requirements.

If the concessions request is approved, please forward the approved Concessions Form to the Common Awards Team, ensuring that the new module details are on the form to enable the team to action the changes in Banner.

University-level approval

University approval process (Common Awards Management Board):

Where University approval is required, the TEI should complete a Concession Request Form, which can be found on our Templates and Forms page. The TEI should ensure that any changes to the student's record that will arise as a result of the concession approval are recorded on this form. TEIs are reminded not to enact these changes in Moodle until the concession has been approved.

The Chair of the Common Awards Management Board will consider the request. The Common Awards Team will report the outcome of the concessions request to the TEI; the TEI is responsible for communicating the outcome to the student. Once approved, the Common Awards Team will make the appropriate changes to the students's record in Banner and there is no need for the TEI to send a Change of Registration Form, unless further changes have to be made.

Non-standard admission

TEI admissions policies outline the requirements (academic or otherwise) that candidates must meet in order to be admitted to a Common Awards programme at that TEI. If a TEI wishes to admit a student who does not meet these requirements, the admissions application must also be processed as a concession request and considered by the Common Awards Management Board.

The concession form and any supporting documentation must be submitted to Durham as early as possible before the student can be formally admitted and attend teaching. 

Evidence submitted by the TEI in support of the concession should normally include: 

  • a statement detailing the reasons why the candidate is academically suitable for entry onto the programme despite not meeting the TEI’s admissions requirements;
  • any evidence seen by the TEI when considered the candidate’s application (application form, supporting statement, CV, etc.)

If the concessions request is approved, TEIs should register the student via the Programme Registration process as normal. See our Submitting Programme Registrations page for details.

Exemption from programme requirements

This concession is required if a student or a TEI wishes to alter a programme of study such that it deviates from the requirements of the relevant programme regulations.  Please note that if a student wishes to be exempt from studying a module listed as compulsory in a TEI’s Programme Regulations (that is not a dissertation or major project) due to prior experience, this may be approved by the TEI and reported to the University through the APL process, and does not require a concession.

Evidence submitted by the TEI should normally include: 

  • an explanation of why the student is unable to meet the requirements of the relevant programme regulations;
  • current programme of study;
  • the proposed programme of study for the student, and an explanation of how the student will achieve the programme learning outcomes (as defined in the relevant Programme Specifications) despite not meeting the requirements of the relevant programme regulations;
  • evidence of any relevant medical/mitigating circumstances.

If this concession request includes the student taking a module from another TEI, the permission of that TEI must be sought before the concession is submitted. See our page on modules at other TEIs for more information. 

TEIs should contact the National Ministry Team directly if a concessions request affects sponsored candidates.  

Programme transfer (within a TEI)

If the student does not meet the requirements for the destination programme, but the TEI is supportive of the transfer, the concession should be considered by the Common Awards Management Board. 

Evidence submitted by the TEI in support of the concession should normally include:

  • explanation of the reason for the change;
  • a statement from the TEI outlining its support for the transfer, detailing the reasons why the student is academically suitable to transfer onto the programme despite not meeting the requirements (e.g. TEI’s admissions requirements);
  • current and proposed pathway information.

Programme transfer (to another TEI)

This concession is required if a student wishes to transfer to a programme at another TEI. TEIs are reminded that it is the responsibility of the destination TEI to submit the concession request, using information from the previous TEI in order to make an informed admissions decision (i.e the TEI the student is transferring to). Information on how to request and share this information securely between TEIs is included in the Moodle Marks Processing System guide, available on the Common Awards Hub. The Common Awards Team will contact the current TEI for confirmation that the student's record of module and marks is accurate. 

This does not include students wishing to move onto a different TEI after the award of a degree; e.g. a student moving from one qualification ‘group’ to another (e.g. BA to the MA). This would be an admissions decision. See our Submitting Changes to Student Records page for more details on the qualification ‘groups’.  

Evidence submitted by the destination TEI in support of the concession should normally include: 

  • confirmation that the student meets the admissions requirements of the destination TEI and programme, and has demonstrated sufficient academic progress during his/her current programme;
  • confirmation that the student has met the prerequisite module and learning requirements for the destination programme (please include a marksheet with a breakdown of modules studied to date);
  • proposed programme of study;
  • evidence that the destination TEI is supportive of the transfer.

Durham will communicate to the outcome to both the current and destination TEI; the destination TEI will be responsible for communicating the outcome to the student, and for confirming to the Common Awards Team when the transfer of records has taken place in Moodle.

Frequency of Study

This concession is required for any student who wishes to study less than 40 credits in one academic year, unless this is a direct and unavoidable consequence of a period of suspension of study that has been approved by the TEI (i.e.is under 12 months). Examples of when a Frequency of Studies concession is not required include when a student is left with fewer than 40 credits to study in the following circumstances:

  • in the academic year in which a suspension begins
  • in the academic year in which a suspension ends
  • at the end of the whole programme that was interrupted by a suspension
  • to complete an award (whether due to suspension or any other reason)
  • when a student registers at the mid-year point.

See our Credit Parameters page for more guidance on minimum and maximum study patterns per year. 

Where a concession is required, evidence submitted by the TEI in support of the concession should normally include:

  • an explanation of why the student is unable to study at least 40 credits in the academic year;
  • evidence of any relevant medical/mitigating circumstances;
  • the proposed programme of study for the student; and
  • a statement as to how the student will be supported in making up the missed credits.

Suspension of studies

If the initial suspension period requested is longer than 12 months, or, an extension to a current suspension is requested which would take the total time on that suspension over 12 months, a University approved concession will be required. 

Students who are unable to return to studies after a 12-month suspension should normally be required to withdraw from the programme. Therefore, students should not normally be permitted to suspend studies for a period longer than 12 months, unless new grounds for suspension are submitted by the student. Such circumstances would need to be reviewed and approved by the University and a concession request will need to be submitted. In these instances, the concession will need to be considered by the Common Awards Management Board. 

Evidence submitted by the TEI in support of the concession should normally include:

  • an explanation of the reasons for the suspension and why a period of more than 12 months is being requested, including an explanation of why withdrawing the student is not appropriate; or
  • an explanation of the reasons for the request for an extension to the original suspension, noting the need for new grounds for the suspension;
  • any evidence submitted by the student in support of the suspension (e.g. medical evidence);
  • a revised programme of study.

Please note that if a suspension will result in a student being unable to complete the programme requirements a further concession request will need to be submitted to Durham for approval. Both requests can be included on the same form.

 

Extensions which cross two academic years

Extensions to submission deadlines should be approved by (or by a nominee reporting to) the Chair of the TEI Board of Examiners and should be recorded by the TEI. 

Extensions will only need to be considered by the Common Awards Management Board if the extension means that the the completion of a module or assessment spans two academic years*. It is especially important if this impacts a student’s end date. The University needs to know if the student is going to be completing work from one academic year while undertaking work for the new academic year, in order to confirm that they are not being disadvantaged by a higher-than-acceptable load in that second year. 

In such circumstances, TEIs may wish to consider a period of suspension for the student instead. Normally, the only grounds on which an extension will be granted are where circumstances beyond the control of the student have prevented submission.

Supporting information should normally include:

• an explanation of the reasons for the extension;
• the proposed programme of study for the student, which should also indicate details of the additional workload they may be taking on from the previous year’s study.

 

*’academic year’ refers to a period of 12 months, as defined in the Core Regulations. These 12 months are not restricted to a September start date only.

 Concession FAQs

1. What evidence should be included with a Concessions Form?

Individual concession types require specific types of evidence; please see the types of concessions above for the kind of information which might be required in support of the request. In general, however, please ensure that the form fully captures the reasons why the student requires an exemption, any applicable evidence submitted by the student in support of the concession, and a revised programme of study where relevant. Please also ensure that the form fully captures the impact of the concession on the student’s record, including any change to their module registration, expected end date, programme of study or mode of study. If the form does not include the correct information it will be sent back to the TEI, which could result in a delay in providing the necessary support for the student.

2. When should a TEI complete a Change of Registration Form?

When a concession request is approved by a TEI, a Change of Registration Form is not required so long as the Concessions Form captured the full consequences of the concession on the student’s record, and is forwarded to the Common Awards Team following approval of the concession. The Common Awards Team may ask the TEI to complete a Change of Registration Form if they do not have enough information

When a concession request is approved by the University, a Change of Registration Form is not required so long as the Concessions Form captured the full consequences of the concession on the student’s record. The Common Awards Team may ask the TEI to complete a Change of Registration Form if they do not have enough information. TEIs are reminded to not make any changes to the students’ record in Moodle until the concession request has been approved by the Chair of the Management Board.

See our Submitting Changes to Student Records page for more information on how to inform Durham of approved changes to a student’s record outside of the concessions process. See our Templates and Forms page to download the concessions form which should be used for both TEI level and University level concession requests. 

 3. What happens if a concessions request is retrospective?

There may be some exceptional circumstances under which retrospective concession requests are necessary. However, these should be kept to a minimum. TEIs should submit a request as normal, and provide a brief narrative to explain for the delay when submitting such a request.

 4. How can a TEI avoid retrospective concession requests?

Where retrospective concession request have arisen as a result of a lack of knowledge or understanding of the concessions process within TEIs, we recommend that the TEI ensures all staff are made aware of the guidance on this page.

 5. What should the TEI do when the National Ministry Team approve pathways and modules outside of the Common Awards regulations?

The National Ministry Team approve some specific pathways for Ordinands which are outside of Common Awards regulations and include non-accredited modules. As student information cannot be routinely shared between the National Ministry Team and Common Awards Team due to data protection regulations, TEIs are asked to share any relevant paperwork with the Common Awards Team.

 6. How should a TEI request the same exemption for more than one student?

TEIs may use the Concessions Form to submit a concession request for a cohort of students, where the same set of circumstances applies to a number of students. TEIs should ensure that they include the names and Banner IDs of all affected students, and their marksheets if appropriate.

7. How should a TEI submit multiple concessions for the same student?

TEIs may submit multiple types of concession for one student on the same form, providing that the requests are related to the same set of circumstances.

 8. How can a TEI increase flexibility within their programme regulations to avoid repeated concessions requests?

Where TEIs find they are making the same concession requests every year, they can consider a number of options to help better support students and reduce their administrative workload.

TEIs may use the Concessions Form to submit a cohort exemption for a specific pathway which may fall outside of their Programme Regulations. Alternatively, they can consider designing more flexibility into their Programme Regulations through the curriculum development process. For example students are permitted to take up to 150 credits at Level 4 within the Core Regulations, but many TEIs specify in their own regulations that students may only take 120 credits at Level 4. A change to programme regulations in this scenario could reduce the number of concession requests a TEI has to make. Please contact the Common Awards Team if you would like to discuss this further.