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BREAKING: Sheffield Uni brings in ‘safety net’ policy for all remaining assessments

After 6,000 signed a petition


Sheffield University has brought in a “safety net” policy protecting all remaining assessments this semester in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

It means no students can get any grades from March 2020 until the end of the academic year that are below their current overall average, so long as they pass.

Nearly 6,500 students signed a petition demanding the policy.

Universities nationwide closed indefinitely earlier this month due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with classes cancelled, libraries and campuses shut. It came after 22 days of strikes that left many students without teaching for six weeks.

Professor Wyn Morgan, vice president for education, said: “Given the exceptional circumstances in which exams and assessments are taking place, we have taken the decision to implement a safety net policy, which will recognise the value of marks you have already achieved up to March 2020 for assessed work.

It will leave thousands jumping for joy

“This means that no student who passes the year will receive an average mark or overall degree class lower than their current overall mark or degree class. Any summative assessment completed for the remainder of this academic year can only have a positive impact on your overall mark or degree class.

“I understand there has been a great deal of anxiety surrounding this, and I hope that this decision will help to alleviate some of the worries you will no doubt be feeling at the moment. We want to support you to achieve an award which accurately reflects your academic achievement.”

Spring term is set to resume on April 20, after Sheffield Uni broke up for Easter two weeks early, but lectures and seminars are expected to stay online until at least September.

All invigilated summer exams have been moved online and July graduation has been postponed until later in the year, with no date set yet.

Sheffield Students’ Union said in a statement that it was “so happy” with the move. The Tab Sheffield reported at the weekend that the SU officers were fully backing the petition calling on bosses to alter assessments.

The plea gathered almost 6,500 signatures in three days, and criticised the university for having “not done enough to support its students”.

“Safety net” policies have already been rolled out at EdinburghExeter, Cardiff, Southampton and Warwick universities.


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• Thousands demand Sheffield Uni bring in ‘safety net’ grade policy