attendance and engagement

Attendance and engagement is the procedure UEA uses to help ensure that you are keeping up with the course in the way you should. It is a procedure that is designed to support you and offer you the help and support you need at the earliest possible point.

However, in advice(su) we understand that whatever the intention is, it can sometimes be a pretty daunting procedure to go through. We want you to know that you are not alone. We have set out below the information you need to know to help you navigate attendance and engagement. Remember that you are not alone, we are here to help you and can support you every step of the way.

What is the UEA attendance and engagement procedure?

While you are studying at UEA, the university expects that you will attend all teaching events and submit coursework on time, and these are both monitored. You are also expected to attend meetings with your adviser if you are offered them and to monitor your UEA email regularly. If you miss classes or fail to submit coursework, this can be flagged up and you can be called to a meeting to discuss why you are not engaging with your course.

Sometimes a student’s wellbeing can affect their academic studies. If lack of attendance and engagement or general behaviour gives rise to concerns for a student’s wellbeing the university has a process, called the Student Engagement Procedure to provide the support needed to continue with your course. Although it can feel daunting this is intended to be supportive and should be seen as a way of the university helping you to get you back on track, and not a disciplinary process.

If your attendance and engagement with your studies, or your wellbeing, is flagged up as a concern by the university (UEA General Regulation 13) this procedure can be started to discuss those concerns with you and put an engagement plan into place to support you. These plans are monitored, and often no other steps are needed. However,  if problems continue, or become more serious, the process can be escalated. Urgent action may be taken if there is a serious or immediate risk to you or other people.

If you are on a professional course, UEA may follow regulations about fitness to practice (Regulation 14 of the UEA General Regulations for Students) instead of the student engagement procedure where there have been concerns about you, or an engagement meeting may lead to a referral to fitness to practice.

I have been asked to go to an Engagement Meeting. What does this mean?

If anyone at UEA has concerns about your engagement on your course, you will be invited to a meeting with someone from your school. This may be your adviser or the school engagement officer.

If you get an email to ask you to come to a meeting to discuss your engagement, whatever you do, don’t ignore it. Make sure you arrange to go, and if you are at all worried, come and talk to us. We may be able to come with you to the meeting if you would like support. We can also advise you on what to expect and how to prepare.

If you can’t make the suggested time it’s important to contact the person who asked you to come to the meeting to explain and to rearrange it. If you don’t attend and don’t explain why you can’t go, you will be invited to a Welfare Engagement Meeting.

The purpose of the meeting is to explain what the concerns are about you and give you a chance to talk about any problems which are affecting you. There will then be a discussion of what you can do to improve your engagement and what UEA can do to support you to do that. Things which could be relevant include what the underlying causes of the perceived problems are, and what help you might benefit from, including adjustments to teaching, or assessment. This is a chance for you chance to tell UEA about any difficulties you are having and to ask for help.

The outcome of the meeting will be an Engagement Plan, which will include a record of the meeting. At the meeting, a review date will be agreed for the plan.

After the meeting

You will get a copy of the Engagement Plan (“EP”). How you follow the EP will be monitored. If you have any questions about the EP, contact the person you met at the Engagement Meeting. If you aren’t happy with how the EP has been recorded – for example, if you think it doesn’t reflect what you agreed - get in touch with us.

If there are still concerns at the review date, you will be invited to a Welfare Engagement Meeting.

What happens at a Welfare Engagement Meeting?

At a Welfare Engagement Meeting, your Academic Adviser and a member of Student Services staff will discuss the issues affecting your welfare and wellbeing in more detail with you and what actions can be taken to help and support you.

You can bring a member of advice(su) staff or a friend with you to this meeting to support you. You can also ask to speak to a member of UEA staff privately if you are worried about discussing something confidential in the meeting.

Possible outcomes of the meeting include:

  • a further, enhanced, Engagement Plan,
  • you agreeing to apply to take a break from your studies or,
  • if there are serious concerns about your wellbeing and the impact of those on you and other people, an Ability to Engage meeting.

No one at this meeting can insist that you to withdraw or take a break in studies without your agreement.

If it is decided at the meeting that there are no health or other mitigating circumstances which could explain your continued lack of engagement, you can be referred to your Head of School to consider whether disciplinary action should be taken.

Welfare Engagements meetings are important for you to attend and if you don’t go, without a good reason and informing the UEA that you can’t attend, you can also be referred to your Head of School to consider whether disciplinary action should be taken.

What is an Ability to Engage Meeting?

If there is an immediate need to consider serious concerns about your wellbeing an Ability to Engage panel meeting will be held. You will get at least 5 days’ notice that an Ability to Engage Meeting is going to be held and who will be on the panel. You can attend the meeting and bring someone from advice(su) or a friend with you.

The panel, which will usually include your Head of School and the Head of Student Services (Wellbeing), and be chaired by the Director of Student Services, will explain the concerns to you, and may ask you questions. You will get a chance to talk about anything you would like them to take into consideration. We can help you prepare what you want to say in this meeting,

If the Panel decides that your ability to study is sufficiently undermined or that there is a significant risk to others if you continue to study, it can impose a compulsory interruption of your studies of up to 12 months. This can be extended if you are not fit to return at the end of the period of interruption. At the end of any compulsory interruption, you will be able to return to study provided the issues leading to it are shown to have been addressed and subject to academic conditions such as repeating a period of study.

If a compulsory interruption is not considered necessary, you will be asked to attend a Wellbeing Engagement Meeting within 10 working days and the process will continue from there.

You will be sent the Panel’s written decision within 5 working days of the meeting

If you don’t agree with the outcome of an Ability to Engage Meeting, you can ask for the panel’s decision to be reviewed by the University Physician. This will be a doctor from the UMS  

What can advice(su) do to help me?

Although this process is here to support students, we understand it can feel daunting and you may be anxious about it. You don’t have to go through it alone, we are here for you throughout the process.

We can provide you with a named advice worker who can help you to:

  • Understand the process and the reasons for it
  • Consider your options and the implications of your decisions
  • Present your side of the situation and support you at meetings and advocate for you
  • Challenge decisions which are based on incorrect assumptions or misunderstandings
  • Work through the implications of outcomes of meetings
  • Request a review of a compulsory interruption of study.