Bristol SU condemns Bristol Uni’s approach to January assessments

Current plans ‘risk devastating outcomes’

Bristol SU has condemned Bristol Uni’s approach to January exams and assessments and has launched a petition, saying that the “current plans […] risk devastating outcomes”, and they accuse the uni of ignoring their calls for more mitigations.

The petition calls for uncapped resits, ensuring those with more than three exams in a seven day period automatically get extensions, and a scrapping of the requirement to produce evidence when requesting extenuating circumstance mitigations.

The SU says that these policies would be in line with those adopted for the summer exams and assessments during the first lockdown, adding that current policies “do not go far enough to protect students”.

Bristol Uni has insisted in a statement that it has put in place “fair and compassionate mitigations” as a result of the circumstances this year.


In a strongly worded statement released last night, SU Officers said that too many students will “fall through the cracks” as a result of minimal mitigations. They described the challenges that students are facing this year, saying that “in any normal year”, the current circumstances would be considered extraordinary.

“Students are currently facing unprecedented challenges that are having a huge impact on their education. Thousands in our community have faced serious illness in their family, infection with a potentially deadly or life-changing virus, self-isolation, halls lockdowns and more.

“We have been asking the university to change its approach to academic mitigations for some time now and are disappointed that these calls have been ignored.” (Bolding by the SU).

This latest condemnation comes as Bristol Uni came under fire for sending an email to students who were rent striking, saying that those who receive bursaries would have any unpaid rent taken out of their bursary payment. The uni subsequently u-turned on this policy a day later after criticism from both students and Bristol SU.

Professor Tansy Jessop, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education, said: “Given the circumstances this year, we have made some changes which we hope will support students with their forthcoming assessments.

“Notably, there are far fewer exams than normal, and in nearly all cases exams will be online. Some students may have open-book assessments over seven-day time slots, others will be doing more coursework than exams or timed assessments.

“We hope that most students will be able to take their exams and complete their assessments within the usual timeframes, so that they can complete their year of study and/or degrees at the end of the academic year.

“We understand this is a stressful and challenging time and if anyone needs support or has particular difficulties, please talk to us or visit our extenuating circumstances webpage for further information and advice.”

You can sign the petition here.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

A statue of Darth Vader has appeared on top of the empty Colston plinth

Mounted police turn up to Clifton opening of new Eat a Pitta as queue gets too busy

• Bristol Uni threatens a whole Hiatt Baker block with fines over Covid breaches