BREAKING: Newcastle University to give students safety net for this year

The safety net is very different from last year

Newcastle University students will be given a safety net for the 2020/21 academic year following numerous petitions and calls for one to be instated.

There are six components to the safety net, which will not include a baseline average like last year.

The university stated this was because there are no assessment outcomes from this academic year to compare “Stage 1” students’ results to.

The uni said: “The fact that the ongoing pandemic and its impact has been present throughout the current academic year means that there are no assessment outcomes for 2020/21 to provide the basis for a ‘baseline’ algorithm and no previous marks at all for Stage 1 students.”

The safety net will include:

• The moderation of 2020-21 grades against the performance of previous years, including the scaling up of marks and profiling of marks

• Allowing more discretion by boards of examiners in relation to final classifications, increasing the discretionary zone from two marks to three marks

• Introducing a revised policy for late submissions, from the start of semester two penalties for late submissions will operate on a sliding scale

• Expanding the grounds for PEC forms, students will not be required to submit supporting evidence on health, bereavement or Covid-19 related issues and PEC grounds will include unexpected IT or software failure issues

• Timing of deadlines for the submission of assessed work

• Increasing the entitlement to resits for postgraduate students, who will now be allowed a single resit attempt and progress to the dissertation/final project carrying a fail from taught modules

The revised safety net was discussed on Tuesday 12th Jan and has gone to Senate for the final approval. The full details can be found in this blog post.

This news comes after students have been campaigning for a safety net, as they have felt the teaching this year was not the usual standard. Many students have set up petitions, including one by Newcastle student Harry Hay, which currently has almost 7,000 signatures.

SU executives demanded a no detriment policy earlier in the week following the news that all Russell Group universities would not have a safety net this year.

However, the University of York has defied this and implemented a safety net. Other universities to implement the policy include SOAS, Cardiff and UEA.