The safety-net policy has been announced by De Montfort University in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

On 11 February 2021, it was agreed that there would be various guidelines implemented to deal with possible adverse effects which many students have faced as a result of the latest lockdown.

There will be an extension to assessment deadlines of up to 14 calendar days, as a result of any lockdown-related disruption, including having to isolate, holding key-worker status or being unable to access specialist spaces.

Another guideline introduced was a change of regulations for assessments submitted up to five days late, meaning that normal penalties for late submissions will no longer apply if the reason for late submission is as a result of COVID-19.

There will also be changes to the reassessment of failure policy – this enables any reassessment which would have been capped to no longer be, making reassessments work like a first attempt.

Part of the safety-net policy also consists of a change in progression and degree outcomes.

For students studying at Level 5, 30 credits will be discounted and their final grade will be made up of their best 90 credits at Level 5 and best 105 credits at Level 6.

Students studying at level 5 or 6 on Integrated Master’s will have an additional 15 credits removed, so their final grade will be awarded on the best 210 credits at Level 5 and 6, and the best 105 credits at Level 7.

Level 6 students and Level 7 Integrated Master’s students will have their degree classification based on the best outcome from either the current 3:1 weighting in favour of Level 6 or in a 2:1 weighting in favour of Level 6.

The final part of the safety-net policy is regarding deferral of assessments due to circumstances beyond your control.

While a deferral request will still need to be sent to the specific faculties Student Advice Centre, third-party evidence will no longer be required.

Laura Flowers, Academic Officer at De Montfort Students’ Union has been highly involved in representing students and their thoughts to the University about how the safety-net policy would best work from a student’s perspective.

“It is clear that the safety net policy is no no-detriment policy, although I welcome the changes, I realise that it does not solve all of the issues,” she said.

However, Laura does continue to work alongside the university to ensure no student is disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic.

“I am continuing to bring up concerns to the Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic, including that grades need to be more lenient, especially for those on practical courses where the same standard of work cannot be met; retakes need to be available for everyone who feels they did not do their best, not just those who failed and the need for marking and feedback to be clearer,” said Laura.

For any further questions or support, students can contact the Student Advice Centres or your programme and module leaders.