This page looks at the specifics of requesting temporary leave for taught students.
A definition of temporary leave
A student is able to ‘take time out’ of their studies when they are experiencing difficult or challenging circumstances whilst studying with us. Students can take temporary leave lasting under four weeks which is handled at School process level. If the circumstances affecting the student are more long term and will last over four weeks, the leave must be discussed via the school and then submitted to either the Operations Team (if within standard requirements) or Student Cases (if it does not meet standard requirements).
Standard temporary leave vs exceptional leave
Standard temporary leave requests must meet certain requirements, and if not then the implications of leave are likely to be more significant. If the requirements are not met but a leave request is still considered appropriate, a request must be made using the Student Cases Exceptional Leave process. The standard requirements are as follows:
- Start of leave must be before the end of week 8 of teaching (very small number of course exceptions)
- Expected return date must be within one year of the start of leave, this includes if there is any prior leave that connects into one block with the current leave request
- Leave duration does not extend the student’s studies beyond programme duration + 2 years
- Reason for leave must be compliant with restrictions outlined on leave request form (certain reasons not permitted for temporary leave)
Student and School conversations - temporary leave
Temporary leave has more stringent regulations than permanent leave. As the student is expected to be returning to programme, they are still subject to University requirements whilst on leave and upon return. Schools should ensure the student is aware of the implications of their leaving and the conditions they will need to fulfil to return to study, and signpost to resources as detailed below. The agreement of leave and return should be clearly documented in writing between school and student. Further information on the below can be found for students on the Leaving Leeds Early students page and for staff members on the SES staff site guidance. This information is also reflected on the conditions of return form.
- Reason for leave - see also below section “standard guidelines aaffecting temporary leave”
- Previous leave – this has an impact on expected completion and length of leave
- Start of leave and expected return date – this has an impact on current and future term assessment and expected completion date.
- Examinations and progression - consider whether mitigating circumstances might be required.
- Support while on Temporary leave – Students can access LUU wellbeing, counselling services, School support officers for advice throughout their leave and should be advised to do so by the School
- Funding (links on the Leaving Leeds Early students page as above most relevant)
- Student visas – see the international students pages on the students site
- School/course requirements determined by school e.g. placement requirements
- Accommodation - this is not part of programme arrangements but does have a significant impact upon the student’s personal situation. The University accommodation site outlines requirements to terminate a contract.
Standard guidelines affecting temporary leave
LEAVE START REQUESTED
- The University’s Operations team is responsible for finalising a student’s leave start date, which may differ from the leave date requested by the student. This date will be entered into the student record and signifies when the student’s leave request has been approved and processed. It is important that the leavers form is submitted to Operations within 10 working days of the initial meeting with the student, as Operations are unable to backdate beyond this period.
- Degree Apprenticeships are an exception to standard leave date regulations. Due to the nature of the contracts covering Degree Apprenticeships, their leave start date must be the last instance of learning.
- End of Week 8 is considered the final point that students can take temporary leave without sitting end-of-semester assessments. For example, a student on a standard September start programme considering temporary leave in December would not be expected to standardly start leave until the start of the next semester in January, after exams are completed. If a student wishes to go on a period of temporary leaver between week 9 of semester 1 to the start of teaching in semester 2, the School must ensure approval is given by the Head of School or appropriate academic colleague. Schools must then seek permission from Student Cases, who will liaise with Operations if the leave is approved. The following guidance will assist you as to the process in which to follow to submit your case – Student Cases Guidance, Templates and Forms
- For all standard undergraduate courses, week 8 will be a set date in line with the University published academic calendar and can be seen in the Programmes and Assessment Timeline. For all other courses, this should be calculated based on the custom start of term date as shown on their Banner record.
REASON FOR LEAVE
Students may want to take temporary leave for health reasons (both physical and mental), personal/other reasons (including maternity, bereavement, changes in family circumstances), an internal change in programme within the University or intercalating as part of a medical degree. Reasons outside this list, particularly employment or financial reasons, require Student Cases approval.
- School staff has emailed the form (those permitted to do so as agreed within the school’s staff framework).
- Student has emailed from their University email account authorising the same leave request that is submitted. Alternative evidence may be used only where the student is absolutely unable to authorise the form, e.g. emergency hospitalised student, and for professional based courses (in particular PGC-SCITT/S PGCE Secondary SCITT or ND-PSIA/CPD where correspondence verifying student information is agreed to come from the linked external party).
EXPECTED RETURN DATE
- Operations can approve leave from one month up to 12 months continuous temporary leave at a time (inclusive of any immediately preceding leave). For leave spanning more than 12 months continuous leave, this will need to be approved by Student Cases.
- Students are expected to return at the standard start of term or custom start of term for non-standard/calendar programmes as specified.
- Students should not repeat any teaching already fully completed (unless Head of School or appropriate academic colleague authorises this).
- The students return date reflects their return to teaching. Any resits are advised to be after teaching has been resumed or after a period of external status.
COMPLETION OF PROGRAMME
A student will be given a new expected completion date including how much time they have been on leave. Due to the Ordinances of the University, students are not allowed to study beyond the standard duration of the course by maximum two years. Therefore, their new expected completion date must not exceed this time limit.
For all temporary leave, independent evidence of the reason for leave must be received and stored safely by the School in line with GDPR requirements.
Supporting return from temporary leave
Returning from temporary leave is a return to teaching. It is not advised that students return to immediately take exams. If a School and student agree a return to external status, this should be thoroughly considered and agreed with the Assessment and Progress team, no later than the deadline for external resit applications (end of Week 4), flagging the student is currently on temporary leave. Any agreement on updating the record should then be made with Operations having authorisation from Assessment and Progress. Students are not allowed to take resit examinations within the same academic term as their leave. For example, if a student is on leave and due to return to study in September, they would not be permitted to take any resit examinations in August. The next examinations period they would be permitted to take their resits in would be January.
Any conditions of return should be tracked as agreed while the student is on leave. For example, if the student is required to meet with Disability Services, this should be checked at the agreed time. At minimum, Schools should email students (template available on request) either 1-2 months or well before module enrolment prior to the expected return date. If the leave was for health reasons, the School must receive a fit to study note, usually from the students GP.
Once return is confirmed with the student, Schools need to then email email@example.com to flag the return and confirm fit to return evidence has been received if relevant.
Confirmation of return should be completed by April for September returners (to allow module enrolment), or otherwise in the month prior to return. Operations can then prepare the Banner record ready for return.
Before the student registers, check the Banner record is up to date. Contact the UG Fees or PG Fees team if there are any fee amendments to be made (see returners and reduced fees guidance), check modules are correct on the record and notify the student when they can complete registration.
Where a student has failed to return from temporary leave by their expected return date, students are withdrawn in line with the monthly registration deadlines as above, following the month for registration as the month of return.
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