4. School Procedure At Interview

10. The Head of School (or nominee) should have a member of support staff to accompany them to record the meeting and to act as a witness if the need arises.

11. A record of the meeting should be kept. The notes taken by the member of support staff will usually suffice. These notes should be kept on file for approximately two months in case of an appeal against the decision is made by the student to the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct.

12. To begin the interview, the Head of School should introduce the staff present and confirm the identity of the student and any supporter accompanying the student. Ascertain whether the student wishes to speak for themself or whether their supporter will speak for them. (However, it should be made clear that this does not prevent questions being asked directly to the student, if necessary). The Head of School must then explain the allegation, the procedures, including the right of appeal, and make sure that the student understands.

13. The student should then be given the opportunity to admit or deny the allegation, to explain their view of the situation and/or to offer any extenuating circumstances in defence of their actions. The student can be questioned by the Head of School and may be required to present evidence of any extenuating circumstances described.

14. The student can be asked to leave the meeting while the Head of School considers the evidence and the student’s explanation. The Head of School should then reach a decision.

  • If the Head of School is satisfied that plagiarism has occurred, they may impose an academic penalty (see 15 below). Instruction should be given on good academic practice and the importance of upholding academic standards.
  • If the Head of School is NOT satisfied that plagiarism has occurred but considers the student has engaged in poor academic practice, the student should be warned and given instruction about plagiarism and the necessity of properly acknowledging sources. The work should be marked according to normal arrangements and without penalty.
  • If the Head of School considers that there is no case to answer, the work should be marked according to normal arrangements and without penalty.
  • If the Head of School considers the extent of the plagiarism is more serious than first thought, they may refer the case to the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct.

15. The Head of School may impose an academic penalty by reducing the marks or results given for the piece of work to Grade H or by a lesser amount (e.g. by reducing by one primary grade). In determining the level of the penalty, the Head of School should take into account:

  • The extent of the plagiarism and any attempts to reference the material correctly;
  • The maturity of the student in terms of their level of study and length of exposure to the procedures, practices and regulations of the University (see 5a);
  • Any extenuating circumstances presented by the student. Whether or not these are recognised by an adjustment to the penalty is at the discretion of the Head of School and the student may be required to submit evidence to support their claims.

The Head of School should also determine whether or not the student will be allowed to resubmit the work in question and under what conditions. It is University policy that any resubmission is not awarded marks higher than the minimum required to allow normal progression. A cap on any resubmission grade must therefore be applied.

16. If the student has been asked to leave the meeeting, they should now be invited back into the meeting room and informed of the Head of School’s decision. Where appropriate, the details of any penalties are explained and the student warned about their future behaviour. The Head of School should give the student advice about avoiding plagiarism, proper acknowledgement and referencing and direction to other sources of help if it is still unclear.

17. The Head of School should remind the student of their right of appeal to the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct in respect of the penalty imposed or unfair procedure.

18. The Head of School should advise the student that they will receive details of the outcome in writing within 10 working days.

19. Where it has been judged that plagiarism has occurred, the student should also be informed that a record of the allegation and the outcome will be sent to, and held in, the Senate Office. This will be used to inform a Head of School that any subsequent allegation is a second offence should a further allegation be made and, as such, should automatically be referred to the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct for consideration.

5. Procedure After the Interview