Student Rights: Appeals

Welcome to our mini blog series on your academic rights as a student!

At the SU we are here to represent your academic interests and improve your education, a key part of this relies on you, as students, being aware of your rights and what you should expect from your academic experience.

To ensure you have all the tools you need to successfully complete your studies, we've created a dedicated page where all my blogs will be in one place should you ever want to check back over things.

Student Rights Hub

We know that sometimes you’ll receive a grade or an outcome you aren’t happy with. If you just think you should have received a better grade, you are not able to appeal this decision as it is classed as academic judgement, however, some decisions about your academic outcomes are open to appeal. In this blog, I am going to clue you up on what decisions you can appeal against and how to submit an appeal.

What decisions may I appeal against?

You may submit an academic appeal against the following decisions made by the University:

  • A decision made by the board of examiners.
  • A penalty imposed under the regulations on academic misconduct.
  • The termination of your registration through the formal warning procedure.
  • A decision made by a fitness to practise panel.
  • A decision made in relation to access arrangements for assessment.

Decisions made on the basis of academic judgement in relation to a grade or mark are not eligible criteria and cannot be appealed.

It is important to note that appeals look into the process undertaken to reach the outcome you have received, and only if they find the correct process was not followed are they able to uphold the appeal and change your outcome.

What are the deadlines?

You have 15 working days (three weeks) to appeal from the date that you received the decision that you are appealing. Late appeals are unlikely to be considered by the College. However, if you are unable to obtain evidence before the appeal deadline, you must still submit your form before the deadline and explain why you are unable to include evidence at the present moment, and when you expect to be able to provide it.

What are the grounds for appeal?

The potential grounds for appeal can be read in more depth in the Appeals Guidance for Students but I will give you a brief outline of the decisions that can be appealed below.

  1. For an appeal against a decision made by the board of examiners: (i.e. a progress decision, termination of registration due to exam failure, etc.), examples of grounds to appeal could be;
  • Your performance in the assessment was substantially affected by extenuating circumstances of which you could not have made the University aware of at the time and which you could not have disclosed before the outcome of the assessment had been determined. For guidance on submitting extenuating circumstances please see one of my previous student rights articles here.
  • There were procedural irregularities in the conduct of the assessment, or administrative errors, which might have affected your performance.
  • There is evidence of prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment on the part of one or more of the examiners such that the outcome should not be allowed to stand.
  1. For appeals against a penalty imposed under the regulations on academic misconduct, appeals against termination of registration through the formal warning procedure, or appeals against a decision made by a fitness to practise panel, example of grounds to appeal could be;
  • There is evidence of a failure to follow the procedures set out in the regulations which might impact the fairness of the decision.
  • New evidence can be presented which the student could not have presented before the decision was made and which might impact the fairness of that decision.
  • The decision was perverse given the evidence which was available at the time.
  1. For appeals against requests for reconsideration of a decision made in relation to access arrangements for assessment, examples of grounds to appeal could be;
  • There is new evidence to be taken into account which you could not have disclosed at the time of the original application.
  • There is evidence of administrative or procedural errors, which might impact whether the outcome would have been the same if the irregularities or errors had not occurred.
  • The original conclusion reached by the College Board of Examiners Executive Committee was unreasonable given the evidence with which it was presented.

How do I appeal?

If you feel you may have the right to appeal based on these grounds, the form can be downloaded here. It is a Word document that you will need to complete and send to appeals@royalholloway.ac.uk along with any evidence uploaded as attachments.

Appeals are designed to be one of the last points of call in University processes, for when extenuating circumstances were not able to be submitted or if procedures were not followed correctly which led to you receiving the outcome you have.

The appeals process is lengthy, it will take at the very least two months to receive the initial outcome so please take this into account when submitting your appeal.

One last thing to note

I would strongly recommend you get in touch with our Advice Centre at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk to support you through the process. Alternatively, you can drop by the Students’ Union Helpdesk to book an appointment, or call 01784 276700.

Our specialist Advisors are independent from the University and can confidentially offer a range of support and guidance. From advising on whether you have grounds to appeal, to proof reading a draft for you, to advising what evidence you need to submit alongside your appeal.

Kate Roberts // Vice President Education