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Coronavirus - CS032103

A student was on a one-year postgraduate course. The provider moved its students to remote learning as a result of the nationwide lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

It introduced a “no-detriment” policy as part of its strategy to mitigate the academic impact of the change to teaching arrangements. For the student’s programme, the provider told students that they no longer had to achieve a threshold mark (as well as meeting other criteria) in their dissertation in order to gain a Merit or Distinction.

The student complained to the provider that the programme handbook did not say anything about students having to reach a threshold mark in their dissertation, and so the no detriment policy did not benefit students on their course. The provider said that there was an error in the programme handbook, and normally students would need to reach a threshold mark. It partly upheld the student’s complaint and apologised for the error in the programme handbook.

The student complained to us. We decided that the student’s complaint was Not Justified.

We accepted that the information in the programme handbook was incorrect, and that the correct information about the provider’s usual classification criteria was set out in its general manual. This was confusing for students. It took some time for the provider to explain what had happened and to give the student the correct information, and that was frustrating, but the student was given the correct information before they complained, and the provider had apologised.

It might have been a disadvantage to the student if they had not known about the threshold when they wrote their dissertation. But the threshold had been removed because of the no detriment policy, so we were satisfied that there was no academic disadvantage to the student as a result of the error in the programme handbook. We decided that the provider’s apology was appropriate to remedy the complaint.

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