These guidelines pre-suppose that each Academic Subject Area/School will make clear to students, in writing during induction, how attendance will be monitored in that Academic Subject Area/School, and at what point action will be taken with regard to poor attendance, at what point the student should contact the School to notify/explain absence and how and with whom contact should be made.
Staff may also wish to refer to http://www1.aston.ac.uk/registry/for-staff/regsandpolicies/ for the Code of Practice for Dealing with a Report of a Missing Student and the Procedure for Responding to Critical Student Incidents
A letter should be sent to the student, marked Private and Confidential (via email, to departmental pigeonhole, to term time address, to home address if there is reason to think the student may have gone home). This letter may be signed by the relevant Associate Dean, the Personal Tutor or a member of support staff.
The letter should state clearly the reason for writing (for example: the student has been absent from tutorials on two consecutive occasions; the student has not signed in for classes for two weeks; the student has not handed in assessments and there is cause to think that s/he has not been attending lectures for approximately two weeks).
It should state that poor attendance is a matter which is taken very seriously by the School and the University. The Regulations should be quoted and the possible eventual outcome of continued poor attendance stated clearly (the student may be assumed to have withdrawn or may be required to withdraw from the programme.
There should be a clear explanation of what the student must do to avoid further action being taken against him/her (improve attendance immediately, get in touch with the Personal Tutor or AD by a specified date, provide reasons for the absence/s if there are any). There should also be a statement giving encouragement to the student to make contact and assurances that the School will consider sympathetically any problems which the student has experienced which have caused his/her non-attendance.
Copies of all correspondence should be kept.
If there is no response to this first letter, or if the problem recurs within a short time (or within a period specified by the School to the student after the first stage), a second letter should be sent. A first letter may have been signed by a member of support staff, but this time the letter should be signed by a member of the academic or related staff to signify the seriousness of the situation. The letter should refer to the first letter/previous stage of the action taken and reiterate all the points made in the letter. It should invite the student to a meeting with the AD or Personal Tutor on a specified date and at a specified time. This letter should constitute a formal warningto the student. This would also be an appropriate point in time for computer facilities to be withdrawn from the student in those Schools which take this action. If this is to be the case the letter should state what will happen and how access may be rearranged. The letter should state that if the student does not attend (or make contact to arrange a different time) further action will be taken.
Brief notes of all meetings with the student, including agreements on future attendance levels, should be kept.
If there is still no response from the student, or if the problem recurs again within a short or specified period, a final letter should be sent. This letter should be sent by recorded delivery to addresses external to the University. It should refer to previous action taken and should reiterate the points made in the previous letters. It should invite the student to a meeting as at stage 2, but this time with the most senior member of staff dealing with these issues. It should constitute a final warning and it should make clear that if the student does not attend (or make contact to arrange a different time) the following action will be taken:
- In cases where there has been no attendance at all over the period since action was first taken, it will be assumed that the student has withdrawn from the University and the School will ask Registry to cancel access to all University facilities (including University Card, Library facilities and computing facilities). In addition the LEA and Residences Manager will be informed.
- In cases where there has been poor attendance over the period since action was first taken, the School will recommend to the University that the student be required to withdraw or will be debarred from taking examinations.
If there is still no response or if attendance continues to be poor, The Head of School should contact Registry to arrange action as in 3.1 or 3.2
It has come to our attention that you have been absent/your attendance has been poor recently. Give details of absences or reasons for suspecting poor attendance.
Poor attendance is a matter which is taken very seriously by the School and the University. The General Regulations state that astudent whose attendance has not met the requirements of the programme specification may be required by the relevant Associate Dean to withdraw from the programme. It is the responsibility of each student to advise the Associate Dean in writing of any factors which may have affected their attendance.
In order to avoid further, formal action being taken in this matter you should contact xxxx by date. Your attendance must show a significant improvement from now on.
The School will consider sympathetically any problems which you may have experienced and which have caused your poor attendance. I urge you to contact xxxx or xxxx as soon as possible if you have any problems which yo wish to discuss or bring to our attention.
I am writing following my letter/our meeting of xxxx. It has come to my attention that you have been absent/your attendance has been poor again. Give details of absences or reasons fir suspecting poor attendance.
As already stated poor attendance is a matter which is taken very seriously by the School and the University, and may result in exclusion from Qualifying or Final Examinations and the requirement to withdraw from the programme and the University.
This letter constitutes a formal warning regarding your attendance. Please come to a meeting with xxxx at time on date in room in order to the matter. If you are unable to attend at this time please contact me immediately to arrange an alternative time. If you do not attend the meeting ( and fail to arrange an alternative time) further action will be taken.
(Optional) Computing facilities have now been withdrawn. Access may be rearranged following the meeting.
The School will consider sympathetically any problems which you have experienced and which have caused your poor attendance, providing that you raise these at the meeting.
I am writing following my letters of xxxx and our meeting of xxxx. Your attendance has continued to be/once again been poor and this letter constitutes a final warning. Give details of absences or reasons for suspecting poor attendance.
Please come to a meeting with xxxx at time on date in room in order to discuss the matter. If you are unable to attend at this time please contact me immediately to arrange an alternative time.
If you do not attend the meeting (and fail to arrange an alternative time) then (option 1) it will be assumed that you have withdrawn from the University and I shall ask the Registry to cancel access to all University facilities. In addition your LEA and the Residences Manager will be informed/ (option 2) the School will recommend to the University that you be required to withdraw/ be debarred from taking examinations.