Programme Amendment and Withdrawals during the coronavirus outbreak
Thank you to all colleagues for your incredible efforts to adapt teaching and learning in ways that have meant our current and prospective students are able to, and will continue to be able to engage effectively with their taught programme and receive a high quality learning experience.
To reflect the commitment across the university to continue to provide the highest levels of quality we have developed some interim arrangements that will introduce a measure of agility and flexibility into our taught programme approval processes.
With continued government announcements and changing circumstances we know that colleagues remain keen to consider a range of possibilities and embed the creative and innovative approaches into planned teaching and learning portfolios for this and future sessions, with the likely scenario of some on-campus activity and online delivery for some time to come. In recognition of this, following a recent review of current interim approval processes by TLG Executive we will largely retain the same flexible interim model, including keeping in place the Interim programme amendment matrix, with a further review planned in September 2021.
One key change for this session is that our usual approving deadlines will be reinstated as follows (or the equivalent minus 6 months from the start date for programmes commencing later than September 2021):
- 31 March undergraduate taught programmes
- 31 May postgraduate taught programmes
It is critical that we comply with CMA, and these deadlines enable us to ensure offer letters and accompanying documentation are as accurate as they can be in providing offer-holders with material information in a durable format.
Any amendments considered essential after these dates can still be considered but there must be liaison between school and faculty before approval is given. Please consult your faculty Teaching and Learning Officer to ensure that the correct process is followed and to determine that there is a strong and clear rationale for making a late change. This collaboration will also ensure that appropriate advice from legal can be obtained where necessary, will mitigate any increased risk and assures us that we remain compliant with CMA and OFS. TLSD are happy to support colleagues when considering late amendments.
As has always been the case a formal amendment submission is not required where delivery is only being modified for a short period to align with a central university directive, most recently on 05 January 2021 to move teaching and assessment (except for a few exempt courses) online until the national picture is reviewed by government in mid-February.
The interim approach outlined here will be reviewed again by TLG Executive in September 2021:
- Our usual annual approval deadlines have been reinstated to ensure we are compliant with CMA and OFS requirements. Faculties should receive all new and intended programme changes so that approval is completed by 31 March for UG programmes and 31 May for PGT programmes. Please also refer to the interim programme amendment matrix.
- Withdrawals and suspensions of taught programmes are to be approved by submitting a modified Withdrawal or Suspension Templatethat captures updated compliance and QA requirements necessitated by regulatory and sector bodies. The Directorate for Legal Affairs will review individual programme closures to support and to advise.
- Increased flexibility has been permitted by devolving approval jurisdiction for some programme amendments to Schools, with the need only to report to Faculty. Please consult the interim programme amendment matrix.
- We are able to relax the need to obtain express agreement from current students as our student terms and conditions (current 2020-21 version) make provision for programme changes as a result of unforeseen events beyond our control. Update from 10 June 2020: Please see specific section when making programme amendments.
- Several templates have been developed to introduce a measure of consistency in communicating material changes to students and offer-holders, and to the commitments set out by our Student Protection Plan - Policy on Refunds and Compensation.
- Please ensure published information for 2021 entry is updated so that CMA material information can be provided to offer-holders in compliance with CMA. This information is sent in durable format by Student Communications and Marketing from May each year. TLSD will continue to contact schools and faculties to support the resumption of any suspended provision.
- The interim programme amendment matrix is a guide for colleagues and not an exhaustive list, there may be exceptions which TLSD are happy to discuss.
- We should be guided by our usual principles that programme amendments be approved with minimum delay and in consultation with students, directly where feasible but also by using broader feedback mechanisms such as unit surveys.
- The broader key CMA messages still apply, to provide clear, accurate and timely material information to students, and to maintain an open dialogue with them where there are changes to material information. Communicating changes along with any options available applies to current students as well as offer-holders.
- Where an amendment impacts material information that will significantly affect offer-holders they should be alerted to their right to cancel/switch/defer.
- By following the guidance and using the templates provided we are still able to deliver on the commitments laid down by our Student Protection Plan - Policy on Refunds and Compensation.
- You should apply this approach to any UK-based partnership arrangements and transnational educational activities, where applicable.
- By following the processes as stipulated we will ensure that we satisfy interim reporting requirements published by the Office for Students specifically in relation to ‘when we expect to cease teaching some or all courses to one or more groups of students [with undue delay].’ Please see the programme withdrawal section.
We would also recommend that you access the support and guidance available to you from Faculties where specific arrangements are in place to facilitate these measures:
- Faculty of Humanities coronavirus guidance.
- Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health coronavirus guidance.
- Faculty of Science and Engineering.
Please refer to the main sections below for further detail and revised templates.
Programme Amendment during the coronavirus outbreak
Information about currently revised processes for Programme Amendment.
Withdrawal, Suspension and Resumption of Taught Programmes
How programmes should be withdrawn, suspended or resumed during the coronavirus outbreak.
Updated templates for use during the current pandemic:
- Interim Programme amendment form
- Interim programme amendment matrix
- Modified withdrawal and suspension template
New communications templates from Recruitment, Admissions and International Development:
- Programme Amendment, Withdrawal and Suspension Applicant Communication Templates and Guidance (if you have not got access to this Student Marketing & Recruitment, Admissions Sharepoint site, you can request access at SMRA Hub Request Form)