Leeds Beckett University becomes the first university in the UK to introduce a safety net policy

Leeds Beckett University has become the first university in the UK to introduce a 'safety net' for all students.

By Megan Jones
Thursday, 7th January 2021, 6:00 am
Students at the university said the no-detriment policy will leave them feeling more secure regarding the overall outcome of their degree
Students at the university said the no-detriment policy will leave them feeling more secure regarding the overall outcome of their degree

The decision for a safety net to be introduced has been made in response to students expressing their concerns about the detrimental impact the pandemic has had on their studies.

In an email sent to all students, Vice- Chancellor Peter Slee wrote: “We also want to confirm that from today, we are reintroducing the changes to the University Academic Regulations that we approved during the first wave of the pandemic.

“This ‘safety net’ means, in summary, that undergraduate students will progress or achieve an award, based on your best 60 credits (with equivalents for taught postgraduates) and that ‘Category A’ extenuation will automatically apply to all students without the need for you to apply for mitigation.”

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Each year of university is made up of 120 credits- the safety net put in place by Leeds Beckett means that only the highest 60 credits are taken into account when calculating the students overall grade for the academic year.

Mitigation at Leeds Beckett University is sectioned into three different categories depending on the seriousness of the extenuating circumstances:

- Category A, Very Serious

- Category b, Serious enough to warrant deferral

- Rejected- the panel will reject claims which are late, not substantiated by original documentary evidence or are not deemed sufficiently serious to warrant deferral

This means that ‘Very Serious’ extenuating circumstances will be automatically applied to each individual student at Leeds Beckett University without the need to apply for mitigation, therefore granting students automatic access to extensions on their deadlines.

Students at the university said the no-detriment policy will leave them feeling more secure regarding the overall outcome of their degree.

Third-year student Ellie Woodcock, currently studying Sport and Exercise Science, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The safety net has definitely helped relieve a lot of the pressure from university work and assignments.

“It will make me feel a lot better that even though I may not do as well as I usually would do, that will not matter.

"Although I might struggle in the upcoming lockdown with keeping up with university work and producing my normal standard of work, at least with the safety net and extenuation of the ‘Category A’ mitigation I can always give it another go when I do feel better.

“I feel that the safety net will give a better reflection of everyone’s individual potentials, no student at Leeds Beckett University will be left behind, they want the best for their students and they have shown this by being the first university to step up and provide the safety net.

“I feel more confident that I will get the degree class I am capable of and I’m sure my course mates, friends and other students feel the same.”

Chloe O’Connor, a second-year student studying Media and English, said: “The new policy has made me feel as though my university takes its students best interests into consideration during the pandemic.”

She added: “Its greatly helped relieve any stress/ anxiety I was feeling about the upcoming assignments I have.

"I feel as though they have really set the mark for how students should be treated in such a time of uncertainty. Its allowed me to feel immensely more supported during the pandemic as I continue on in my education.”

Sarah Bradley, a third-year student studying Fine Art, said: “After confusion amongst students for a long time about how our grades will be calculated fairly, it was nice to finally read some positive news.

“It’s reassuring that we can realistically achieve a good grade.

“My course is very hands on and requires us to be in the studio, so adjusting to working from home has been a challenge but interesting, so it’s nice to know that our grades won’t be a representation of our limitations”.

The email from the Vice- Chancellor also asked students to remain where they are for the time being.

An update as to when students are permitted to return to campus will be provided in mid-February when the government review their national guidance.

No action has been taken by Leeds University and Leeds Trinity University regarding a no-detriment policy as of yet.

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