Students registered on Common Awards programmes are required to make satisfactory academic progress in their studies and fulfil their academic commitments, as outlined in the Common Awards Core Regulations, and the University’s General Regulation V: Academic Progress. Making satisfactory progress usually involves completing work assignments and attending compulsory classes. Precise requirements for making satisfactory academic progress in each module should be made clear to students by the Theological Education Institution (TEI) at which they are registered (for example, missing three consecutive commitments may invoke General Regulation V - Academic Progress; however, it is recognised that the precise requirements may be determined by the programme, module or the student’s plan of study). TEIs should include in their student/module handbooks general text on the requirements to demonstrate appropriate academic progress.
A student may fail to make satisfactory progress for a number of reasons: as a result of personal problems which are preventing him/her from concentrating on the work, poor time management, or lack of commitment. It is intended that the Academic Progress procedure for Common Awards would be followed after informal attempts had been made to re-engage the student. TEIs would be expected to respond to challenges on an ongoing basis with students, ensuring that academic and pastoral issues are continually addressed. If a student fails to fulfil his/her academic commitments it is important that the reason for this is established as quickly as possible so that appropriate action can be taken. This may mean advising the student to seek medical or other help, supporting the student to complete a Concession or Serious Adverse Circumstances (SAC) request, or it may involve disciplinary procedures. In many cases a mixture of approaches is required, combining support with firmness.
The Academic Progress procedure is intended to:
The following procedure should be followed if the TEI wishes to invoke General Regulation V - Academic Progress with regard to a particular student.
The TEI is responsible for monitoring the progress of all students, against the specific requirements published in the appropriate TEI student/module handbook.
If a student is not making appropriate academic progress, the TEI shall issue in writing (which may include email) a warning noting that if the student does not start to make appropriate academic progress (to be clearly identified in the warning) by a specified date then an Academic Progress Notice (APN) will be issued.
The warning will also invite the student to meet with a representative of the TEI issuing the warning. Careful records must be kept of all contact with the student in respect of his/her failure to fulfil academic commitments.
The academic progress and engagement of visiting students to the TEI (i.e. those taking a module at the TEI whilst they are registered with another Common Awards TEI) will be monitored by the host TEI. In instances where the student is failing to engage with the module at the host TEI, the TEI at which the student is registered should be informed and will be responsible for taking the appropriate action.
If the student does not meet the requirements of the initial warning, the TEI should issue a formal APN. This will state:
the grounds for raising concerns about the student's academic progress;
the academic requirements which the student must fulfil according to a stated timetable within a period of normally not less than four weeks. The purpose of this is to ensure that the student has caught up any work missed and/or has regained the habit of regular study. The period of four weeks may extend over two terms. It may not extend across academic years.
The TEI should ensure that the Director of Studies (or equivalent) of the student for whom an APN has been requested is notified that this request has been made, to allow them where appropriate to offer advice or support to the student.
TEIs must keep clear records for review by the University, if required. The student receiving the APN letter will be required:
to seek advice about his/her academic work;
to make an appointment, to normally take place in person, to talk with an appropriate member of staff – which may or may not be the member of staff issuing the APN letter - about the contents of the letter within one week. Virtual meetings can be used, by agreement of all parties. This is to ensure that any problems which the student is experiencing can be discussed and that the student understands the importance of maintaining an effective study routine. It may be necessary to warn the student that a failure to meet the requirements specified in the APN letter could result in the student being withdrawn from their academic programme;
to make any relevant information concerning serious adverse circumstances known to the TEI as soon as possible and prior to the end of the penultimate week of the APN period at the latest. This will allow the TEI to make an informed decision about the student's progress. The student may also make an appointment during the last week of the APN period to offer such information;
to confirm receipt of the letter in writing (a standard reply form should be enclosed when contacting the student). The student may provide confirmation electronically.
One week prior to the expiry of the APN period the TEI will make a recommendation on further action taking into account any serious adverse circumstances viz:
that the student's academic progress has improved sufficiently for there to be no need for continued monitoring of his/her performance;
that the student's academic progress has improved but that concern remains;
that the student has not fulfilled the academic commitments required and therefore should be asked to withdraw from the TEI, and/or their academic programme.
The TEI should normally decide:
either that the student has demonstrated that he/she has returned to making appropriate academic progress;
or, that the student has failed to demonstrate his/her return to making appropriate academic progress and should be required to withdraw from the programme. In exceptional circumstances only, the APN may be extended for a period of up to a further four weeks.
The decision to withdraw the student from the programme should be made by the TEI’s Board of Examiners (or by Chair’s Action) and reported to the University in the minutes of the meeting. TEIs should also provide a Change of Registration to the University within two weeks of notifying the student.
The TEI will inform the student of the decision in writing. Where the decision is that the student should withdraw, the letter will include information on the academic appeals procedures. TEIs should be aware that records kept by the TEI may be used in the consideration of an academic appeal.
A template letter has been produced for TEIs to use if they wish and can be found on our Templates and Forms page.