Student Rights: Attendance

Welcome to our new 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

In this blog I am going to clue you up on attendance, what the expectations are of you, and what your expectations should be of your departments.

Whilst university can be a place to explore and be involved with a huge range of different activities, your primary purpose here is to study. Therefore, attendance plays a significant role in your university experience. Reduced attendance can be detrimental to your education, but we completely understand that attendance isn’t always possible because of a whole range of exceptional circumstances. In this article I will let you know about both your requirements to attend, the steps you can take if you are unable to meet this, and your rights around your attendance.

What are my attendance requirements?

  • Attend all classes, meetings and other activities needed for your studies.
  • Arrive on time to all your classes and make sure you have completed any required preparation work.
  • Complete all your assessments (if you cannot complete due to exceptional circumstances you will need to submit extenuating circumstances. Our Advice Centre will be able to help you if this is the case).
  • If you do not meet the attendance requirements for your course, you may find yourself subject to the formal warnings process. You can find more information here about attendance guidelines.

As much as we understand the other commitments you have (and believe us we do!), you should manage your time effectively. Any paid employment, voluntary work, extracurricular activities or social commitments should not interfere with your attendance. Students studying on a full-time basis are not allowed to work more than 20 hours per week during term time and if you are an international student you must follow the working restrictions stated on your visa. If you feel you need to work more hours, or are struggling to find flexible employment, please talk to our Advice Centre.

What are my rights around attendance?

  • If you are unable to attend any of your required sessions, you will need to let your department know and fill in the Notification of Absence form. This form needs to be submitted to your department either before your absence or within five working days after your absence.
  • Some modules may have a specific attendance requirement, which you should be informed of if this is the case.
  • In following of the Equality Act 2010, you are allowed to ask for an adjustment to your attendance requirements if needed. Please contact your department who will help you liaise with the Disability and Dyslexia Services and the Academic Quality and Policy Office.
  • If you are experiencing ongoing difficulties causing you to miss classes, you can contact your personal tutor, the Wellbeing team, the Student Services Centre, or the Advice Centre at the SU, who should all be able to help and advise you.
  • If you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa, then non-attendance could result in your visa being withdrawn. So, making sure you have the required attendance level and that you’re clued up on how to submit Notification of Absence form, as well as being fully aware of the support services available to you are even more important!

If you cannot attend for a legitimate reason and have provided appropriate evidence, you have a right to not face unjust repercussions. You must also have informed your department of your absence appropriately or submitted extenuating circumstances/applied for extensions in line with College guidelines. If you are experiencing ongoing absence, it is really important that you get in touch with your department and reach out to other services such as the Wellbeing team, the Student Services Centre, or the Advice Centre at the SU to help you.

The Advice Centre is always here for you if you have any issues or queries around attendance, from financial problems to illness, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Every student is entitled to use our Advice Centre at the SU. They are an independent and confidential service offering free impartial advice. You can email them at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk. Alternatively you can book an appointment via the Union Helpdesk either in person or by calling 01784 276700.

Kate Roberts // Vice President Education