Academic Complaints.

What would I complain about?

A complaint can arise if one or more students have a specific concern about an action or lack of action by the University, the standard of a service provided by or on behalf of the University, or matters that affect the quality of the learning opportunities.

  • Category 1: teaching and assessment (teaching, tutorial and academic pastoral support, curriculum)
  • Category 2: university services (school administrative services, central administrative services)
  • Category 3: other services and general (complaints which don’t fit into the above categories or are of a more general nature)

If you have an issue relating to one of these areas, get in touch with us to discuss other options for resolution.

  • The outcome of Board of Examiners
  • Penalties for exams and assessment offences
  • Reconsideration of requests for special assessment arrangements
  • A decision made by a Fitness to Practice Panel
  • A complaint about the catering, residential or bus services
  • A complaint about the Health Centre
  • A complaint about the Students’ Union
  • Disciplinary action taken against you under the disciplinary procedures relating to non-academic matters

What is the first step?

Before submitting a Formal Complaint, you must raise your issue informally. The University has outlined where to direct informal complaints to seek an early resolution. Formal complaints can take up to three months for the initial investigation so informal, early resolution is preferable. If you would like advice about an informal complaint, an Advisor would be happy to help you approach this.

Escalating to a Formal Complaint

If you have been unable to resolve your complaint informally then you may want to escalate this to a formal complaint. To submit a formal complaint you need to fill in the complaints form. You need to set out your concerns clearly and concisely and provide any evidence you have to support your complaint. Evidence may include; emails, medical evidence, timeline/dates of meetings, reports by a professional, witness statements, financial information etc. You can contact us for help with structuring your complaint if you get stuck.

All completed complaint forms should be submitted electronically to If you have a justified formal complaint, you should submit this as quickly as possible and within three months of the incident or action being complained about. Please do not wait until your results are published for fear that raising complaints at the time will adversely affect your grades; this is not the case and will only lead to possible regrets and dissatisfaction as retrospective complaints cannot be investigated unless in exceptional circumstances.

What happens next?

Once the Academic Investigations team receives a complaint form, they will consider the content and:

  • forward the complaint to an appropriate Investigating Officer (see the University's process for investigating a formal complaint)
  • provide an immediate written acknowledgement to the student(s) concerned
  • inform any member(s) of staff concerned that a complaint has been received, including their line manager if appropriate

The appropriate Investigating Officer will investigate your complaint, seeking relevant documentation from any member of staff and, at their discretion, call a meeting at which you and any other persons involved may submit your views on the complaint. Following the investigation, you will be emailed the initial findings. They aim for a 60-day turnaround, however, in busy periods, this is likely to take longer.

What if I am unhappy with the Initial Findings?

If you are not for any reason satisfied with the content of the initial findings letter, you will be given 10 working days from the date of receiving the initial findings letter in which to let them know and request a review. There are specific grounds for requesting a review.

If your request to review is accepted on one or more of the grounds stated, the Deputy Principal or nominee will consider the details of the case and all relevant documentation provided by the Investigating Officer. They will review the case, along with your response, and may, if necessary, take further advice.

Once the investigation is complete, you will be sent a Completion of Procedures Letter confirming the University’s final decision on your complaint.

Still not satisfied?

Once all internal procedures have been exhausted the University will not investigate the matter any further.

If you are unsatisfied with the outcome, you can ask for your case to be reviewed by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).

This option only becomes available to you after the University’s internal procedures have been completed. The University will send you a Completion of Procedures Letter at the appropriate time, after which you will have 12 months in which to refer your case to the OIA if you meet their grounds for investigation.

How can the Advice Centre help?

An Advisor can assist you all the way from an initial enquiry all the way through to the end of the process. This advice would involve, but is not limited to:

  • Advising who to direct an informal complaint to
  • Attending meetings with you for any informal complaints
  • Assistance in completing and checking drafts of formal complaint forms
  • Going through your initial findings with you
  • Assistance in drafting your request for review
  • Going through your final outcome with you
  • Assistance in escalating your complaint to the OIA

Please get in touch by emailing us, or coming along to one of our drop-ins.

want to speak to an advisor?

If you've already looked through our web pages and can't find the information you're after, and would like to discuss something face-to-face, it's easy to see an Advisor.


We hold weekly drop-in sessions on Zoom during term time. Check out our Events Calendar to find out when the next drop-in is - just use the "Advice" filter on the left-hand side of the page.


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