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This version is the only Academic Appeals Policy recognised by NSHCS. This supersedes any current or previous localised policies, which will no longer be applicable and cannot be relied upon.
The Academic Appeals Policy is part of a suite of policies designed to support fair and equitable assessment.
This policy is designed to allow you to raise concerns in a timely way if you believe you have been affected by unfair or inequitable treatment in relation to an assessment. You can submit an academic appeal against a ratified assessment or progression outcome within 10 working days after the Ratification Board decision is sent to your email address registered with the NSHCS.
In applying this policy, NSHCS will have due regard for the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, promote equality of opportunity, and provide for good relations between people of diverse groups, in particular on the grounds of the following characteristics protected by the Equality Act (2010); age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.
1 - Introduction
1.1. This policy is part of a suite of policies designed to provide you with a fair and equitable experience of NSHCS assessments.
1.2. You may make an academic appeal if you can evidence that your assessment was affected by either significant mitigating circumstances, procedural irregularities, or prejudice/bias. These concepts are fully defined in section 3 of this policy.
1.3. If you make an academic appeal in good faith under this Policy, you will not be treated less favourably or suffer any disadvantage than if you had not made an academic appeal.
1.4. You may be subject to disciplinary action if your academic appeal includes inaccurate or misleading statements, or inaccurate or false evidence to seek unfair advantage. Paragraph 5.4 provides further detail.
1.5. Your academic appeal must follow this Policy, including use of the academic appeal application template in appendix 2 (initial appeal). Any further appeal should be made under the NSHCS Appeals Policy (see paragraph 4.5). You must make your Academic Appeal within 10 working days after the Ratification Board decision is sent to your email address registered with the NSHCS.
1.6. You may make an academic appeal if you can evidence that your assessment was affected by either significant mitigating circumstances, procedural irregularities, or prejudice/bias. These concepts are fully defined in section 3 of this policy.
1.7. You may make a separate complaint and academic appeal about the same situation, if appropriate.
- If you make both a complaint and an academic appeal your complaint will ordinarily be processed first before your academic appeal is considered.
- If you make an academic appeal only and your academic appeal is considered to contain both academic appeal and complaint elements, the NSHCS may choose to respond to the complaint issues first. The NSHCS reserves the right to make this decision at its sole discretion and this decision is not subject to further appeal.
2 - Purpose
2.1. Where you have concerns relating to the decision of a Ratification Board and can evidence legitimate reasons for these concerns, this policy provides a mechanism for you to appeal the outcome of the Ratification Board.
2.2. The Academic Appeals Policy cannot be used to create an unfair advantage for you.
3 - Scope
3.1. This policy allows the NSHCS to consider an appeal against Ratification Board decisions for the following reasons:
- significant mitigating circumstances
- procedural irregularities
In all cases, you must provide appropriate evidence to support the request.
3.2. Mitigating circumstances should be requested through the Mitigating Circumstances Policy in the first instance. For the purposes of this policy, significant mitigating circumstances are defined as situations where there is new evidence of mitigating circumstances which for good reason was not known to the Board of Examiners or Ratification Board at the time its decision was taken.
3.3. You must explain what these mitigating circumstances were and what their impact was in relation to the assessment. You must also show that it was not reasonably practicable for you to make known these circumstances via the Mitigating Circumstances Policy at the time the assessment was undertaken.
3.4. Procedural irregularities are defined as errors in the conduct of the assessment of such a nature as to create a reasonable possibility that the result may have been different if they had not occurred. You must explain what these circumstances were and what their impact was in relation to the assessment and must provide credible evidence to support your claims.
3.5. Prejudice or bias is defined as a situation where there is evidence of prejudice or bias (or lack of proper assessment on the part of one or more of the assessors and/or the decision-making bodies), such that the result of the assessment should not stand. This may include comments from third parties which records the comments or remarks made by others involved in the assessment. You must set out clearly and fully the reasons for the claim of prejudice or bias and must provide credible evidence to support your claims.
3.6. The NSHCS operates a system of marking schema, multiple assessors, moderation, external observation, and external examination to ensure that there are checks on the accuracy and appropriateness of assessment and help prevent prejudice or bias. The inclusion of an independent element in the assessment of work through these procedures is normally sufficient to refute the argument that there have been inadequate checks on the accuracy and appropriateness of the marking, and to preclude an appeal on the ground of prejudice or bias.
3.7. An appeal which questions the academic or professional judgement of those responsible for assessing your academic performance or professional competence will not be permitted. Academic judgement is defined as “a judgement that is made about a matter where the opinion of an academic or professional subject expert is essential”. You cannot appeal on the grounds that your results are not as good as you expected.
3.8. This policy applies to assessments administered by the National School of Healthcare Science for all programmes other than apprenticeships. Apprenticeship programmes are covered by a separate set of policies.
4 - Outcomes
4.1. Where your application is unclear, or is not sufficiently supported by evidence, we may contact you to provide additional information by a deadline.
4.2. Academic appeals applications can result in one of the following outcomes:
- your appeal is upheld, either in part or in full
- your appeal is not upheld
4.3. Where the application is upheld, either in part or in full, the NSHCS will communicate the reason(s) for the decision to you and outline any actions that may be taken by the NSHCS to provide remedy.
4.4. Where the application is not upheld, the NSHCS will communicate the reason(s) for the decision to you.
4.5. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the academic appeals application, then you may make a general appeal. This must be done using the prescribed Appeals Form and you are referred to the NSHCS Appeals Policy for more information.
5 - Your responsibilities
5.1. To make an accurate academic appeal application under this policy following the process outlined below. You must include verifiable written evidence, wherever possible.
5.2. Where appropriate, to discuss an academic appeal application with your training officer or NSHCS Training Programme Director. Your training officer may provide a statement and evidence to support your application. You may also contact a member of the NSHCS Assessment team for advice on using this policy.
5.3. To behave appropriately and reasonably, in line with the expectations of the NHS Constitution values and behaviours, in all aspects relating to this policy.
5.4. If your application is considered to include false or misleading statements, information, or evidence, which seek to create an unfair advantage, the NSHCS may impose a penalty and/or disciplinary procedures, which may include removing you from the programme, and reporting your actions to relevant professional bodies, eg your employer, the HCPC, your specialty professional body and, that may have consequences for your future professional practice,
6 - NSHCS responsibilities
6.1. To follow the Academic Appeals Policy ensuring that each application is processed through the appropriate stages within the required timeframe.
6.2. To ensure that you are provided with necessary guidance and support on the use of this policy and are aware of the stages and timeframes that apply to the process.
6.3. To ensure that a relationship of mutual trust and respect is developed between you and the NSHCS, where matters are dealt with respectfully and sensitively.
6.4. To behave appropriately and in line with the NHS Constitution values and behaviours in all aspects relating to this policy.
6.5. In all cases your personal data will be handled according to the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
7 - Academic Appeals Panel
7.1. All academic appeals will be considered by an Academic Appeals Panel.
7.2. The Academic Appeals Panel will convene regularly, as and when required following the relevant Ratification Board, to consider applications and evidence.
7.3. The Academic Appeals Panel will ordinarily be chaired by the Professional Standards and Improvement Manager, or another senior manager in the NSCHS who has not been involved in reaching the assessment outcome you are appealing.
7.4. The Academic Appeals Panel will also comprise two or more independent Training Programme Directors (TPD) who have not been involved in the process of reaching the appealed outcome. The panel will ordinarily include at least one independent external Service User Representative.
8 - Access to the Academic Appeals Policy
8.1. Those wishing to submit an Academic Appeal must do so using the prescribed Academic Appeals Form. A copy of this form can be found in Appendix 2.
8.2. Any applications received which do not use the prescribed form will not be processed. We will respond requesting that the Academic Appeals Form is completed before your application can be processed in line with this policy.
8.3. If you require any assistance when completing the form, please contact us using the following email address and we will be able to assist: email@example.com.
8.4. You may make an academic appeal application from the first working day after the Ratification Board decision is sent to you at the email address registered with NSHCS. You must make your application no more than ten working days after the Ratification Board decision is sent to you at the email address registered with NSHCS.
9 - The academic appeals process
9.1. The process described in this section is summarised on the flowchart found at Appendix 1.
9.2. Applications must be made in a timely manner, ordinarily not more than ten working days after the Ratification Board decision is sent to you.
9.3. Applications made outside of this timescale will not be considered and cannot be applied retrospectively.
9.4. The Academic Appeals Panel considers applications regularly, as and when required, in the period following the Ratification Boards. The panel will consider your application and accompanying evidence and will normally respond to your application within five working days of convening. Complex applications may take longer, in which case you will be advised of a revised timescale.
9.5. You may be asked to provide further information or evidence and we will give you no fewer than five working days to provide this additional material. You must provide any requested material by the deadline we specify or provide a written explanation why this evidence cannot be provided.
9.6. Your academic appeal will be reviewed to see if it includes elements of a complaint. If a complaint is found, then the NSHCS Complaints Policy will be implemented to deal with this element, and you will be informed if this process is followed. Complaints are normally processed before appeals are considered and this may delay the outcome on your appeal.
9.7. The Complaints Panel will provide an outcome to both you and the Academic Appeals Panel. At this point the Academic Appeals Panel may begin to process your application.
9.8. The Panel will communicate its outcome and rationale as described in section 4 of this policy.
10 - Equality impact assessment
10.1. The NSHCS and HEE give due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for all when making policy decisions and implementing this policy.
10.2. This policy has been developed with input from the NSHCS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and an accompanying Equality Impact Assessment has been produced.
11 - Monitoring compliance and effectiveness
11.1. The NSHCS is responsible for recording and monitoring information relating to the application of this Policy.
11.2. The NSHCS Policy and Procedures Committee is responsible for this policy and will review its compliance and effectiveness.
11.3. Anonymised data relating to the outcomes of this policy will be available to the NSHCS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and reviewed to ensure there are no underlying themes relating to equality that suggest any organisational bias.
11.4. This policy may be periodically amended to ensure it remains effective, relevant, and compliant with current legislation.
12 - Records management
12.1. All records must be compliant with HEE’s Records Management Policy.
12.2. Records should be treated as confidential and retained no longer than necessary in accordance with the relevant Data Protection legislation. All records must be maintained electronically. Please refer to HEE’s Records Management Policy for further information.
Appendix 1. Process flow chart for the Academic Appeals Policy
Download a copy of the flowchart – PNG 158KB
Appendix 2. Academic Appeals form
Download a copy of the academic appeals form below.publications