BREAKING: Edinburgh students will not get an academic safety net this year

The VP said he wants to keep things “as normal as possible” and retain the “high value” of an Edi degree

Edinburgh University students will not be getting an academic safety net or “no-detriment” policy this academic year even though they got one for the second semester of 2020.

This announcement comes in response to inquiries and a student petition in favour of such a policy got nearly ten thousand signatures.

In an email to students, Vice-Principal Colm Harmon wrote: “This [policy] was an emergency measure, and while it is true that we are still in the pandemic, it is also true that we always – always – operate assessments and grading in a way that sets out to maximise the opportunity of all students to demonstrate their knowledge, even where getting that knowledge has been impacted by events.”

Harmon wrote that the university wants to retain the high value of an Edinburgh degree and is taking the side of the Russell Group.

He said: “It is also important to me that we do not have special measures in place any longer than we need to – the University has been committed to ensuring the value of your degree is as high as ever, and the best way to do that is to make sure we have things as normal as possible.

“This is not just us – the Russell Group has clarified a position around the approach to assessment and we were involved in those discussions.”

He wrote that assessment will be different and more fair to students in hard positions, but they won’t be using a safety net.

He said: “[We will] ensure that we can provide greater transparency to you about how the assessment process works normally which will, of course, take into account the exceptional circumstances faced by all of our students this year.

“A working group, including representation from the Students’ Association, is already working on this and will report to myself and the Principal, and we will be able to share our approach as openly as possible. Further details on assessment will be made available too through the Covid-19 FAQ pages.”

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