Student Attendance and Engagement Policy

1. Introduction

1.1 To deliver its strategic policy aims of excellence in: Learning, Teaching and Assessment and the Student Experience, Results Consortium Ltd. (thereafter the College) has a policy of providing support to every student on the programme. The aim of this policy is to enable maximum student engagement, retention, and achievement.

1.2 The use of an attendance and engagement policy is part of the College’s planned compliance with the UK Quality Code for Higher Education. In particular, compliance with core practices Q4 and Q9.

The UK Quality Code sets out the following Expectations:

Q4: The provider has sufficient and appropriate facilities, learning resources and student support services to deliver a high-quality academic experience.

Q9: The provider supports all students to achieve successful academic and professional outcomes.

1.3 The policy sets out the regulations and processes employed by the College to monitor student attendance and applies to all students, including deferred students repeating units as full attendance expectations are required.

1.4 The policy aims to support students to achieve their learning potential and enhance student success and retention. Students are advised to attending all teaching activities as this is one of the most important factors to successfully complete their programme. Students who are continually late or missing teaching sessions, are putting themselves at a disadvantage.

1.5 The College understands that students may occasionally have personal problems, but it is expected that attendance is a priority. Students who are experiencing difficulties with their studies, or finding it difficult to attend, should contact the Student Welfare Team as soon as possible.

2 Definitions

2.1 Attendance refers to the expected presence of a student in a face to face or online class and their active engagement in the learning process with the tutor and fellow students. This refers to all compulsory lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and any form of summative or formative assessment.

2.2 Punctuality is concerned with time management and reliability of a student to be in class at the start of a designated teaching session.

3 Underlying principles

3.1 Students are expected to attend 100% of all timetabled activities and to be on time for all timetabled activities. However reasonable adjustments may be made to attendance requirements based on evidence of extenuating circumstances.

3.2 The students are also expected to take responsibility for organising their studies and ensure that they are aware of their timetable and expectations for attendance at all activities relating to their programme of studies.

3.3 Where a student is subject to external monitoring, requirements as set by funding agencies or other bodies, more robust attendance requirement may take precedence. Attendance monitoring is central to the requirements of the Student Loan Company; therefore the College is required to confirm attendance regularly.

3.4 The College routinely monitors attendance and progression status of students and use them as leading indicators to identify students at risk of withdrawal and failure.

3.5 Where student performance falls below standard the College will work with the student to identify any academic or personal issues that may have affected their performance. A support plan will be developed with the student to assist in improving their attendance and punctuality and potentially their academic performance.

3.6 The College will report failure to achieve the required attendance standard to the Student Loan Company. This may affect the maintenance loans received by the student and the student may also need to immediately pay back the loan already paid to the student.

4 Types of Absence

4.1 Unauthorised Absence

4.1.1 All absences are unauthorised unless proven otherwise. It is the responsibility of the student to provide a reason as to why an absence should be authorised. In such cases, students should inform the Student Welfare Team and present relevant documentary evidence to justify the absence.

4.1.2 If a student is aware in advance that they will be absent, then it is
expected of them to seek authorisation in advance for this pre-planned absence.

4.1.3 The following are considered unacceptable reasons for authorising absence:

  • Holidays during semester
  • Part or full-time work which is not part of a programme of study
  • Leisure activities
  • Family celebrations or birthdays
  • Regular childcare arrangements

4.2 Authorised absence or absence planned in advance

4.2.1 Short-term absences (up to one week) may be authorised with relevant documentary evidence. In such cases, students are advised to contact the Student Welfare Team, inform about the reason of being absent and provide relevant evidence.

4.2.2 Instances of absence that affect an assessment must be reported according to Extenuating Circumstances policy

4.2.3 The list below is a non-exhaustive list, and each request will be considered on its merit:

  • Illnesses. Absence due to illness for up to one week may constitute an example of authorised absence, however students must notify the Student Welfare. After one week of consecutive illness, the student must normally produce a medical certificate.
  • Medical appointments which could not be made outside of College hours.
  • Attendance at a funeral of a close family member
  • Genuine family emergencies
  • Religious Holidays

4.3 Long absence

4.3.1 Students are permitted to apply for temporary leave, suspension of studies, or deferral of their programme of study for personal or medical reasons. Authorisation for long absence will not be granted for holidays.

4.3.2 Long Absence may be authorised with relevant documentary evidence. In such cases, students are advised to contact the Student Welfare Team to inform about the reason of being absent.

4.3.3 If long absence has caused a student to miss the major proportion of their studies, they may be advised to defer their course. With the agreement of the Principal students will be notified either by email or be invited for a face-to-face meeting.

4.3.4 Requests for Long Absence may include:

  • Travelling overseas urgently due to a family bereavement
  • Attending a funeral overseas
  • A medical condition that is worsening.

5 Consequences of Below Standard Attendance

5.1 If a student has low attendance rates, the College will seek to explore any underlying issues with the student. A series of warning letters, (see paragraph below) will be issued to provide an opportunity for students to improve this.

5.2 The College will make every effort to support students where academic or personal issues have a bearing on their performance. A support plan will be developed with the student to assist in improving their attendance and punctuality and potential for academic performance.

5.3 Persistent non-attendance may result in disciplinary action and eventual termination of enrolment.

5.4 Tutors will take attendance at least once during each session. It is the responsibility of students to ensure they are present for the full duration of the session.

6 Student Letters

6.1 Stage 1 – Notification for decreasing participation

6.1.1 The College will make every effort to support students to achieve learning and this extends to the achievement of satisfactory attendance or punctuality. In the first instance, they will be issued with a Stage 1 Attendance Letter (decreasing participation) by email.

6.2 Stage 2 – Attendance Warning

6.2.2 If following the informal notification of the Stage 1, the student fails to
improve their attendance, without any valid reason for absence, they will be issued with a Stage 2 Attendance Letter (attendance warning) by email.

6.2.3 On receipt of the Attendance Warning the student will be expected to meet with the Student Welfare Team to discuss the context of the absence or punctuality issues and develop an action plan to ensure full engagement with the teaching and assessment activities available to the student. At this meeting it is expected that the student presents any extenuating circumstances to the College for consideration.

6.3 Stage 3 – Final Attendance Warning

6.3.1 If after receiving an Attendance Warning Letter the student’s attendance or punctuality does not improve over a three-week period, the College will then issue a Stage 3 Attendance Letter (Final Attendance Warning) by email.

6.3.2 On receipt of the Final Attendance Warning the student is to meet the Higher Education Manager or the Principal to discuss the situation. The review of the attendance and punctuality may consider current and past terms to ensure comprehensive analysis.

6.3.3 If the student does not engage with the Stage 3 process or their attendance or punctuality does not improve over a period of three weeks, the College will then issue an Intention to Withdraw letter to the student by email.