MMLL and HML finalists given safety net for 2021

The announcement comes after students faced mass disruption during their year abroad


The faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics has this afternoon announced that it will be installing a safety net for undergraduate finalists in the 2021 exam cycle.

The safety net will also support students who study History and Modern Languages, but those completing the AMES tripos will, as of yet, not be protected.

The faculty is the first in Cambridge to install some form of safety net. It comes after the university as a whole, along with all other Russell Group universities, ruled out installing a “no detriment” policy. However, the university and its faculties have been pressurised to install some kind of protection for students.

In an email sent to finalist students, the MMLL faculty states that the safety net will operate in the same way as the 2020 safety net. Students will be awarded an overall average grade and a class based on examination results, but if these results are lower than those received in second year, the overall class will be adjusted.

The faculty states that the decision to install the safety net was taken after considering the “disruption” students faced on their year abroad. The vast majority of students faced mass-interruption during their year abroad due to the eruption of the coronavirus pandemic, with many being forced to return to the UK, cancelling work placements and periods of study.

The year abroad is considered to be one of the most important components of the MMLL degree as it is often the stage when students’ language ability flourishes. The disruption of this last year meant that many students now feel unprepared going into their final year of study.

A fourth year MMLLer told The Tab Cambridge: “I am so relieved that the faculty has introduced a safety net. I feel that I missed out on so much language learning when I was forced to return home on my year abroad.

“Even though I was able to continue a part of my work placement remotely, I was not submerged in the culture and was subsequently feeling very anxious about fourth year, but having the safety net in place makes me feel far less anxious.”

Feature image credit: Katie Thacker, University of Cambridge logo

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