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What Does Next Term Look Like? End-of-term message from the DVC Education, Students’ Guild and Students’ Union Officers - 25 March 2021

Dear Students,

Key points:

  • We wish you all a restful vacation, and all the very best with upcoming examinations and assessments;
  • Further information on the Summer examinations period is available online, including details relating to the No-Disadvantage Guarantee;
  • We will shortly be publishing details of a new Exceptional Circumstances policy and process, enabling you to submit an application evidencing particularly adverse impacts of the pandemic on your studies, to assist our exam boards in making interventions on an individual basis;
  • We will be inviting you to a Festival of Discovery from 24th May – 4th June - immerse yourself in a range of academic, experiential and social events, and to reconnect with your friends, peers and departments;
  • If you haven’t already, please complete our Term 2 Pulse Survey by noon on 29th March.

As the Spring Term comes to an end, we would like to say a sincere thank you for your dedication and engagement during what has been another exceptionally challenging term. We want to wish you a restful vacation, and all the very best for any upcoming assessment deadlines and examinations after the vacation, and of course reiterate our commitment to supporting your success. We also want to place on record our enormous gratitude to colleagues across the institution who have supported your learning throughout this academic year so far – time and again a key theme in your feedback to us has been the support you have received from those who are teaching and supporting you.

In this message we’re sharing some updates in relation to next term. Please also refer to the most recent update from the Registrar, which includes important information about travel arrangements for the vacation.

Examinations and Assessments

Examination timetables for the Summer period have now been published, with the first examinations taking place on Monday 26th April. All examinations will take place online, as in the January 2021 and May 2020 periods. In scheduling the large number of modules and formats of examinations, we have worked to ensure that all students can complete their assessments while taking into account a number of important principles. These principles include avoiding students having to undertake more than one examination per day, and responding to Individual Learning Plans. We have also sought to optimise the large-scale process of marking and moderating results, as well as implementing the additional assurances of the No-Disadvantage Guarantee. For all of these reasons, we have commenced examinations as early as possible within the advertised period.

For further information and guidance in relation to examinations and assessments, including our No-Disadvantage Guarantee, please refer to our FAQ pages. These include confirmation that, for finalists and taught postgraduates entering the job market or applying for further study, we have now expanded the ‘borderline zone’ within which we will give additional consideration to students on the border between degree classifications. As the FAQs detail, we have expanded this by 1%, which our modelling shows will create a positive impact on a significant number of student awards.

Furthermore, we will shortly be publishing full details of a new ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ policy, which will enable you to submit an application evidencing particularly adverse impacts of the pandemic on your studies, to assist our exam boards in making interventions on an individual basis according to the second of our safety nets. Please look out for further details of this, including how to apply, in upcoming communications.

Festival of Discovery

Once the examination period has concluded, we will be inviting you to join us for a Festival of Discovery, taking place on our campuses in Exeter and Cornwall from 24th May – 4th June. Organised in partnership with the Students’ Guild in Exeter and the Students’ Union in Cornwall, the festival will enable you to immerse yourself in a range of academic, experiential and social events, and to reconnect with your friends, peers and departments. We know how much we have all missed in-person interaction this year, so for those leaving us this summer, it’ll be a great opportunity to celebrate your time at the University, and for continuing students we hope it will be a welcome lead-in to next academic year.  We’ll be sharing more detail on the Festival of Discovery soon, and all information will be available online here. The whole programme will be delivered in line with Government regulations and guidelines, to keep you safe throughout.

We know that not everyone will be able to attend the Festival in person so there will be other opportunities to engage remotely, including Challenges Online. If you continue to have scheduled teaching during the Festival (as for postgraduates whose programmes began in January), you can still engage in the Festival as much as you’re able to.

Your feedback

Finally, to emphasise as always the value we place on your feedback, which is essential in helping us to make improvements and plan for how best we can support you. We strongly encourage you to maintain regular contact with your personal tutors, and your Students’ Guild and Students’ Union representatives who play a key role in representing your views to the University. This week we have launched our final Student Pulse Survey of the Spring Term, which we would hugely appreciate a small amount of your time to complete. You will have received an email directly with a link to complete this, which you can do until noon on Monday 29th March. Finally, if you’re a finalist, you’ll also  receive an email shortly seeking your feedback in relation to this summer’s graduation arrangements, which we’d hugely appreciate.

We wish you an enjoyable vacation period wherever you are and whatever you are doing, and hope that your preparation for any examinations you have after the break goes well.

Best wishes,


Professor Tim Quine
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education)
University of Exeter


Sunday Blake
Exeter Students’ Guild


Penny Dinh
Vice-President (Education)
Exeter Students’ Guild


Cara Chittenden
President (Exeter)
Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union