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Student Advice Covid-19 FAQs

 

The COVID 19 outbreak is generating lots of concerns, questions, and issues for many people.  We're receiving a lot of queries related to the virus outbreak and we hope to be able to help you navigate these as best we can. We have created a list of FAQ’s. If your question has not been answered below and you need further advice, you can book an appointment with an adviser using the booking form at the bottom of the page. Appointments are primarily through Microsoft Teams (all University students have an account): Chat, Call, or Video.  Please bear in mind the situation changes frequently and there is not a response that fits all scenarios.  You can remain up to date on government guidance announcements by signing up to receive email alerts here 

Keep reading to see our top FAQs on housing, finance, academic, and personal issues - these are specific to Student Advice Centre queries, but you can also read through the University's FAQ's here.

Book an AppointmentHousing FAQsFinancial FAQsAcademic FAQsPersonal Health FAQsImmigration FAQs



Housing Advice

Generally speaking if you have decided to move out of your accommodation, this does not mean the contract is now null and void.  Unless a surrender/termination of the tenancy has been expressly agreed with your landlord or provider then the contract continues along with all its’ responsibilities and liabilities.  Try not to compare your situation to another student.  Circumstances might seem or be unfair, but we are dealing with a situation that could not have been predicted or planned for and given the complex and diverse nature of the housing market the various responses were never going to be equal or the same.  Whilst the stereotype of a landlord being out to take advantage of a tenant might be very entrenched in our culture, please try to remember that landlords have their own commitments and families to support.  Unless the landlord or housing provider has denied you something in regards to your tenancy, they haven't actually done anything wrong and the situation should not be used to renege on what has been agreed between the parties.  All parties – that includes landlords and tenants or prospective tenants should not be disadvantaged by something outside of their control. This is the Student Advice Centre view on housing at this current point in time and this is not a legal perspective and anyone is free to seek out legal advice.  A solicitor can be found via the Find a Solicitor search on the Law Society web page.

With most housing queries it is important that you contact your letting agency first as they may have steps in place to help you.

If you've read through our FAQs and your question has not been answered, please use our booking form.

Book an Appointment

A: In line with the government’s advice, those who are shielding or otherwise clinically vulnerable (those who have received a letter advising they are) should ensure they are aware of the medical advice, including staying at home and avoiding unnecessary contact over this period if at all possible. Consider carefully your own personal situation and the circumstances of your move and you may wish to seek medical advice before deciding whether to commit to or go ahead with a move. You are advised to also discuss arrangements with the housing manager to see if you can change move dates/contract dates if possible.  If the dates are not able to be changed then the contract might have to commence without you moving in and you will still be liable for the rent.   Some moves are likely to be lower risk - for instance if the home is empty if you can travel in your own transport and avoid contact with others. 

We would encourage everyone in these categories who does intend to move, to make clear their status to all of the professionals involved in the process. They may be able to implement additional precautionary measures to further protect you. 

A: No. If you pose a direct risk of transmitting coronavirus you should not move. People who have coronavirus or are self-isolating with their family members should not leave their homes to either move home, or undertake property viewings. 

Even if you are contractually committed to moving home, you should delay your move until all members of your household have come to the end of their self-isolation period. All parties involved in the moving process are asked to make amicable arrangements and to consider changing move dates for individuals, or where someone in a chain or their family member is self-isolating or has tested positive for coronavirus.  If the dates are not able to be changed then the contract might have to commence without you moving in and you will still be liable for the rent.    

Should a move be essential for people in this category, for instance due to an urgent health and safety risk, please contact Public Health England/local public health teams for advice. 

A: The current guidance is changing quite frequently and we expect this to continue over the coming weeks/months so this might depend on when you want/need to move. Currently the guidance has been updated to say as long as you are not clinically vulnerable/shielding/self-isolating or have the coronavirus, you are free to move.  However we are currently being advised to stay alert and social distance wherever possible.   

However, the guidance is not as straight forward as it might seem.  It is not written with student properties, Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s), or Halls specifically in mind.  The practicalities of these situations are more complicated to manage.  In the immediate sense this is more likely to concern students who want/need to move out of their accommodation but the principles apply in all cases. If the situation changes we will update these pages. The process of finding and/or moving into a new home is likely to be different from the norm, as practices and procedures will need to be adapted to ensure that the risk of the spread of coronavirus is reduced as far as possible. It is vital that everyone stays alert and safe.  

In terms of moving in students often move in much later than when their tenancy starts normally so the situation may have changed again before many student tenancies are due to start.  If you have a tenancy that starts earlier, e.g. June 2020, this needs to be managed very carefully.  

In both scenarios you are advised in the first instance to make contact with the people managing your housing – whether that is the University, Private Hall Manager, Managing Agent, or Landlord – for guidance on how to proceed.  They should have given consideration on how or whether this can happen safely and give particular consideration to anyone who is clinically vulnerable or shielding and may have particular needs and support.  In these circumstances it is likely to require a case by case approach.  If you are intending on living in shared accommodation this is especially important.   

We would encourage anyone who has been ill with the virus, has had or is having symptoms of the virus, has self-isolated at any point before a move, to make clear their status to all of the professionals involved in the process. They may be able to implement additional precautionary measures to further protect you and others. 

A:  You are allowed to start looking at property you might want to move into.  Ideally and normally we would always advise you to do this in person before making any commitment.  However, practically this is going to be a lot more difficult especially for groups of students wanting to live together. Only your household should attend and consider if you all need to be there.  If you have not been currently living as a household you will need to decide if you want to nominate particular individuals to do viewings and for them to do these separately.  It is advised: 

  • Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible.  Any physical viewing should only be requested if you are seriously considering taking the property.   
  • If any member of the household being viewed is showing symptoms or is self-isolating then physical viewings should not be conducted. 
  • All physical viewings restricted in numbers to allow for social distancing and be limited to the same household  
  • If physically viewing, avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly, take your own hand sanitizer.   
  • If you really need to take small children, try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly. 
  • The guidance on moving home has recently changed and this includes viewings.  Virtual viewings should be used before visiting a property in person.    
  • If any agent, manager, member of either the household being viewed or the household undertaking a viewing is showing symptoms of coronavirus or is self-isolating, then a physical viewing should be delayed. 
  • Agents with notice are able to visit in order to take photos/videos of the property whilst socially distancing.   
  • Before any viewing open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products. 
  • You may want to open windows to improve ventilation. 
  • Where possible vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place to minimize contact with those not in your household. If you cannot vacate practice social distancing in line with public health advice. 
  • You may want to discuss determining the number of viewings in a given period with whoever is managing the property. 
  • Ensure the person conducting the viewing has informed anyone coming into the house of what to do.  

A: If you currently live in a student group/household and the same group intends to live together elsewhere then moving from one property to another is more straight forward but if this is moving into a Hall or block type accommodation you should discuss with the provider or manager in advance to see what measures they require/recommend to do so safely and minimize risk to yourself and anyone currently living in the hall/block.   

This gets more complicated when you are not currently living together in a student group/household but you intend to do so for the coming academic year.  Again we advise you to speak in the first instance to the provider/landlord/manager to lead on this.  It might require a phased move in so you can socially distance over a period of time or some other recommendation.   

When moving between properties, you (and if relevant those in your household) should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can. If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then speak to the professionals involved, your landlord, estate agent as they may be able to put in place extra measures. 

These are challenging times.  Be prepared to be flexible.  Be prepared to have to change plans if circumstances change.  If you, someone in your household, someone you intend to live with or someone in their household develops symptoms or has to self-isolate, plans will have to change.   

A: This is a very difficult question to answer as it depends on individual circumstances.  We advise you to think very carefully before you do.  We have seen throughout this crisis an expectation by students’ that rents and contracts should be waived because of the situation but this is simply not the case.  If you want to sign a contract we advise you to discuss and agree on the terms very carefully.  Flexibility clauses that would allow you to change your contract start date might be an option along with the ability to cancel should you not move in but these are not something you can demand.  

A: Letting agents may also want to consider obtaining landlord and tenant consent for inventory check-in /out arrangements occur before a tenant moves in or out during vacant periods if possible.  A copy of all documents should then be sent to the incoming/outgoing tenant for comment along with supporting dated photographs and where necessary documentary evidence.  It is very important this process is not sidelined or missed entirely as deposits could be at risk. 

A: Tenants’ safety should be Housing managers / Letting Agents’ and Landlords’ first priority. They should be aware of and follow government guidance on coronavirus and renting, which explains protections in greater detail and make sure tenants are aware of this guidance.  Any visits to a property must be made in accordance with government guidelines on working in other people’s homes and social distancing.   

Steps should be taken to ensure any properties are prepared ready for new tenants, this may include cleaning to minimize any potential spread of the virus in line with government advice.  Standard documentation and processing for sign up and pre-tenancy should be done remotely/electronically wherever possible   

A: Sadly the Leave Newcastle Happy campaign is not able to run this year. Newcastle City Council has re-opened their 3 Household Waste Recycling Centres with measures in place : 

  • Brunswick - offer a one in one out arrangement 
  • Walbottle - allow 5 cars in at once with 10 minutes to unload 
  • Byker - allow 4 cars in at once with 10 minutes to unload 

Visitors cannot use vans or trailers. Only one person is allowed out of the vehicle. Typically only one person in a car but appreciate there are exceptions and as a student maybe with a parent who is the driver that would be acceptable, as long as only one person gets out the car inside the site. The student would have to show a bill or other statement with their name and Newcastle address on it along with a photo ID. Their student ID pass would suffice so with both of these they would be able to access the site. 

If people don’t have access to transport to get to waste/recycling centers but have excess waste that won’t fit or is unsuitable for the domestic bins, the bulky waste collection charges have been reduced by 25% in May. This paid for bulky waste collection service has a 25% discount in May. Find out more Newcastle council Bulky Waste Collections page. 

Charity collections are still not taking place and recycling banks are still closed, so donating items for reuse is difficult. Please do not fly tip/abandon items in streets or back lanes as you could be fined.  

A. The government has provided stay at home guidance which specifically includes and easy-read guide on what to do if you or someone you live with starts to display symptoms or gets sick from Coronavirus.  This guidance has been created in many different languages.  For illustrative purposes they have also created an isolation illustration on how long you need to stay at home where someone has symptoms. 

A. It depends.  Newcastle University advised students to return home if they could.  If you were living in University owned accommodation and you went home, removed your belongings, returned the keys and do not intend to return, you will not be charged from 29.3.20.  If you leave after this date you will only be charged up to the date you leave.  The University asks you to declare whether you are remaining in accommodation or you have left.  This link also provides more specific information on University Accommodation arrangements including information about payments and refunds.

If you live in student accommodation which is not owned by the University (even if they arranged it for you when you first applied) you will need to contact the Halls provider directly to see if they will release you from your contractual liability for the remainder of the contract term.  They do not have to do this and many will not. If they have not advised you to leave this is not an entitlement. 

We are aware of the following private halls which are allowing students to surrender their contracts for the third term after easter if they have left and moved out and do not intend to return during term 3.

Abodus

Chapter Living (London Campus)

Downing Students

GradPad (London campus)

IQ Students

Liberty Living

Unite Students

Student Roost

Check with your provider to find out if this is the case, but remember that they are not obliged to release a tenant. Each company has different deadlines to request this, check their websites for instruction on how to cancel.

We are aware that many students have lost their part time jobs or other sources of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Technically you have signed a contract and unless you have been allowed to surrender this you are required to make all payments as usual. Firstly contact your landlord, agent or provider to see what they suggest – they may reduce the payments and/or allow you to pay over a longer period. They might even consider reducing the tenancy term if they won’t release you. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, including living costs as a result of the current disruption, you may be eligible for support from the University’s Student Financial Support, often referred to as the Hardship Fund. The team are receiving a high number of applications but they aim to respond within 5 working days. If you don’t pay they may decide to pursue a legal route so it is always best to negotiate.

A. If they have their own mortgage commitments they might be able to apply to their own lender for a mortgage break or ‘holiday’ and the government intended for this flexibility to be passed onto tenants.  However  a mortgage break simply delays or extends the period over which the mortgage has to be paid.  It does not mean those months do not have to be paid at some point. All parties – that includes landlords and tenants or prospective tenants should not be disadvantaged by something outside of their control

A. No.  If you remain in your accommodation you are advised to notify your landlord/agent/housing provider. Follow any guidance or instructions you are given to stay safe in addition to safety guidance provided by the government and Public Health England (PHE).  Guidance has been released on the management of all residential educational settings

A. Withholding rent is a breach of contract.  In some circumstances in the current situation, this might be understandable and acceptable but it would depend on why you were withholding it.  If your finances are affected and you are unable to pay we suggest you discuss this with your landlord and seek advice on either how to optimise your income or seek out support.  Withholding rent just because of the situation would not be advisable.    

A. It’s not fair but lots of things are not fair.  Unfortunately nothing about this situation is fair or equal.  The University made this decision but they have no control over what other providers decide to do.  Landlords and providers are not required to act identically. If you decide not to pay, you or your guarantors run the risk of being pursued for that at some later point.  

A. In theory, for any breach of contract, yes - however probably highly unlikely given the current situation.  The government has been clear that it expects landlords to be flexible with regards to situations that are caused by the virus outbreak and attempts to seek possession would probably not be considered favourably by the courts.  They have now issued guidance for Landlords and Tenants on rents, possession and access. The Coronavirus Act 2020 temporarily requires most landlords to give you 3 months notice requesting possession.  Additionally any possession proceeding will be halted from 27.3.20 for three months.     These scenarios are rare in student accommodation anyway but whether there will be an increase because of what is happening, only time will tell.  If possession is being sought for an issue that is not related to the virus outbreak, this might be a different matter.  In all circumstances where possession is threatened or actioned seek advice immediately. This is explained further on the Shelter website

A. If you have a contract you are liable for the rent.  If your landlord has not agreed to a surrender of the tenancy or a delayed/reduced rent payment then you could be pursued for the unpaid rent and breach of contract.  The maintenance loan is paid for you to pay for these types of outgoings.  

A. If you are a prospective tenant and have viewed a house and paid a holding deposit but are yet to sign a tenancy agreement, you have effectively entered into a verbal commitment to the tenancy.  Some may hold you to the tenancy until it is re-let, some will re-let the property and simply retain the holding deposit.  Check your paperwork and speak to the landlord/agent to see what the position is. Either way please get what has been agreed in writing. you can still negotiate with your landlord to see if they will re-let the property but they do not have to.  Also if they are not able to find a replacement tenant they may hold you to the contract. 

A. No the deposit cannot be released until the tenancy ends, so unless your landlord is agreeing to a mutual surrender of the tenancy then the deposit must remain protected by the scheme and cannot be used as part payment or rent or to offset against rent arrears.    

A. Firstly try not to panic. There is nothing to say you can’t, but you need to consider if this is the best thing for you to do. It is still unclear on how/when the next academic year will be commencing, with the University currently working on social distancing measures being put in place. Most Universities are looking at a blended learning model, i.e. portions online and portions of face to face and this may also depend on what stage of study you will be commencing.

The concerns about not booking and then missing out need to be weighed against arranging and then being committed even though the course might not run from September or even need you to be physically in Newcastle, if run online. Newcastle is fortunate in that it has an excess of accommodation, so even if you leave it for a number of months to see how things progress, you are likely to get something sorted. It just might not be what you had originally intended.

If you are considering applying to University Halls these are currently not open to bookings, however will be in due course. If you are thinking of applying to other types of accommodation you should be shown the tenancy agreement before you pay a holding deposit but in many cases this will not be offered. Be sure to request this first as once the deposit is paid you are contractually bound. We advise you to think carefully and check the Tenancy Agreement/T&C’s of any provider. You may wish to seek reassurance/flexibility about what happens in the event the course remains online or does not commence or you cannot move because the guidelines change again. We are aware some private hall providers are offering applicants ‘free cancellation’ options. However on closer look these are usually only in specific circumstances so are limited/restricted, so we advise you to be clear on what the commitment is.

The rental market is going to be difficult to navigate at the moment and whilst viewings are not prohibited, unless they can be conducted safely they are not advisable. See our FAQ on viewings but viewings might be limited to using 360 degree video technology to showcase properties or live video tours to applicants via WhatsApp, FaceTime, or Skype. Whilst this goes some way to showing you a property, we strongly advise caution before paying a holding deposit (you are committed from this point) or signing a contract for a property you have not actually seen. Ideally agents should advise clients to be patient. Consider negotiating contracts that have explicit terms to manage the timing risks presented by the virus. If in doubt seek advice.

A. Yes UKCISA have provided a lot of information and support which can be found here.  If you have a specific housing question please contact the Student Advice Centre but please note we cannot advise on anything related to Immigration.  

A. The government updated the advice on home moving with a section on tradespeople being allowed into homes to undertake repairs, replacements, decoration and improvements.  Visits to the property should only be undertaken if it is safe to do so.  The updated guidance outlines what is expected of tradespeople and their requirements for working safely. ? Landlords, Agents and accommodation providers and their employees and/or contractors must continue to take precautions where they are having to attend, with the government?guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)?in mind. ?It will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a two-metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety. Precautions might entail asking occupiers to leave or stay in another room whilst work is completed.  

Additionally Landlords are legally required to ensure regular gas and electrical safety inspections are conducted and failure to do so could lead to them being prosecuted. They are required to provide relevant certification at the beginning of a tenancy and carry out all scheduled inspections and tests where required. If a Landlord cannot do this due to difficulties with access they must be able to demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the law. Guidance can be found on the Gas Safe Register and in the government guidance for Landlords and Tenants

A. You should definitely let them know.  They need to know if you have just left during the current outbreak and lockdown but have left your belongings in the property and intend to return or if you have left for good and removed your belongings.  Your tenancy agreement might also have a clause stating a specified period of non-occupation where you are required to notify them so please refer to your agreement.  If you are in shared housing you should indicate if everyone has left or who remains.  This is important for a number of reasons; for health and safety, for contingency plans should this situation not improve by the tenancy changeover date; for maintenance and access and not least for security.  There may be an increased risk of burglary with empty homes so if you have left your belongings make sure you are insured.

A. Speak to your Landlord, Agent or Accommodation provider in the first instance. In the case of Halls or blocks there may be specific requirements or arrangements for access. Since the restrictions have changed on movement, see if you can arrange to retrieve your belongings but only where it is safe to do so. If you are unable to get back to Newcastle yourself, you might need to make alternative arrangements such as removal firms or storage which might take time to arrange or book and will have additional costs for you.

A. Since the restrictions have changed on movement you may well be able to move by the time your tenancy ends.  Please speak to your landlord and agent in the first instance. All parties are encouraged in the Government guidance to adapt and be flexible to alter their usual processes in respect of moving home. Currently, the guidance is to follow measures for staying alert and socially distancing whilst avoiding contact with anyone who is presenting symptoms, self-isolating, or shielding. Prioritising the health of individuals and the public must be everyone’s priority. For summer moves this will depend entirely on what the position is nearer the time and what Government guidance is at that point.? It might require your tenancy to continue as a periodic tenancy. You can find more information about this on the Shelter web pages. We will endeavor to keep these pages updated.

 
Everyone involved in the moving process must follow social distancing to minimize the spread of the virus.

We always hear that students aren't completely happy with their private housing experiences, but we need you to tell us about them through our online form if you want us to make a difference. You can let us know here. Let's not forget about all our students who can’t get home to be near their families and loved ones or are distanced from people because of self-isolation. Support each other remotely where you can.



Financial Advice

If you've read through our FAQs and your question has not been answered, please use our booking form.

Book an Appointment

A. Current students or those starting higher education in the Autumn needing a student loan can apply over the next few months. Assessment of income for maintenance loans is usually based on the student’s or their parent’s household income for the previous financial year, however can be based on current year earnings where there’s been an income drop of 15% or more. Those who’ve had a drop in income as a result of Coronavirus need to make the finance application as normal and then fill in the Current Year Income Assessment form separately. Students from Wales can apply here and students from England here.

A. Student Finance Support Fund (Hardship) applications already submitted are being fast-tracked. Larger emergency loans are being issued to those who apply if needed. They are paying out all the remaining bursaries, scholarships and scheduled payments in one go.  Here is the application form is you need to apply: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/student-financial-support/hardship/

A. Employee or zero hrs contract / agency worker who's not working? You're due 80% of salary up to £2,500/mth, but what counts as salary? Two weeks ago, the Govt announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which means employers can choose to put any staff who were on their payroll on 28 Feb on 'furlough' (standby), and the Govt will cover 80% of their salary up to £2,500/mth - firms can top it up to 100% but don't need to.

 

A. Yes the bills still have to be paid such as gas, electricity, water etc as these all have a standing charge for the service provision.  However these may be lower due to smaller usage within the property

A. As of yet the University Executive board has not decided what will happen to the 20/21 cohort in terms of registration for all years which is how the loan is released – we will update the page when we have more information.

A. Yes students still have to pay fees as teaching is still happening and the support staff are still working to help students i.e. Student Advice Centre – the link below has a statement on tuition fee refunds from UUK 20.4.20 : https://www.ncl.ac.uk/wellbeing/coronavirus-updatedinformation/support-for-students/#fees.

A. Unfortunately, most students (lone parents/disabled students have different rules) are excluded from claiming benefits. This means that, even if you have lost your job:
- You cannot claim Universal Credit and therefore;
- You should not claim the Universal Credit Advance Payment – it will become a debt you are expected to repay. 

Similarly, Legacy Benefits (such as Housing Benefit) cannot be claimed by most students and they cannot accept new claims anyway.

Student Lone Parents

Lone parents are able to claim Universal Credit (including an amount to help with Rent).

Student Couples

(Both Students)

You will only be able to claim Universal Credit if you have care of a Child.

(Only one is a student)

The non-student can claim for you as a couple.

Students with DLA/PIP

You can only claim Universal Credit if you also have Limited Capability for Work. Unfortunately, there is no easy route to be assessed for this in normal circumstances however, people who are infected or in self-isolation (i.e. have symptoms or live with someone who has) may automatically qualify. Current guidance is unclear on whether those who are classed as vulnerable will also be granted Limited Capability for Work automatically. 

Students who are suspended

If you have suspended your studies you generally still count as a Full Time Student and cannot claim Universal Credits.

If you suspended due to health or caring responsibilities and those responsibilities have come to an end, you can claim Universal Credit for up to twelve months while you wait for your course to start again.

Employment issues
Students are able to claim Statutory Sick Pay, but you do need to have at least £118/week “normal earnings” - This is calculated as an average or recent pay, not based on your contract. You must also be employed rather than self-employed.

We expect that your employer would be able to take advantage of new rules (“furloughing rules”) where the government will pay 80% of the worker’s salary while they are unable to work because the employer is closed or reduced.

Employers do not have to furlough staff that is their choice, so if your employer does not choose to do this, you cannot force them to.
 



Academic Advice

Academic queries are at present the same as usual, however as this is an unprecedented situation this is subject to change, we will try our best to remain updated.

Any specific queries relating to your assessments should be directed to your school office (not your personal tutor) - please be patient with them and try to email rather than phoning as staff will be working remotely from home - view more here.

You should frequently check your university email for any updates from the university/school regarding assessments and study.

If you've read through our FAQs and your question has not been answered, please use our booking form.

Book an Appointment

A. If you believe that your study or ability to complete an assessment has been affected as a result of unforeseen and unavoidable personal extenuating circumstance, including COVID-19, you should complete the on-line PEC form accessible via your Student Self Service Portal (S3P). PECs relating to COVID-19 and all other health related issues will not require additional medical evidence due to high demand on medical services at present.  Please note that the request for extension or other adjustment to your assessment needs to be before the submission deadline. If you are submitting a PEC, try to include how your circumstances have directly impacted your studies.

A. The university has introduced a Safety Net Policy for taught UG and integrated Maters students. This means that you cannot be disadvantaged by your performance in your semester 2 of 2019-20 assessments. The Safety Net will therefore take all appropriate marks up to and including Semester 1 assessments in 2019-20 as being a secure measure of student attainment.  We will then calculate your individual ‘baseline average’ based on those marks and guarantee that each student’s end of current stage average is no lower than this. You will still need to pass your remaining modules for the Safety Net to apply at the end of the academic year. You can find how the university calculates your baseline average on the university FAQ page.

A. The University’s programmes are accredited by a wide range of professional accrediting bodies, and schools and the University have been liaising extensively with these professional regulatory bodies.  Several of these professional accrediting bodies have already confirmed that they are willing to consider supporting the type of measures the University has agreed to include in our Safety Net but some professional accrediting bodies have not yet confirmed their position, or have told us that this is not possible.  There are also some professional accrediting bodies who have yet to confirm either way, and we are continuing to work with those bodies to get confirmation of their stance on our Safety Net.

If you are studying an accredited programme, further details will be confirmed to you as soon as possible following discussion with the relevant accrediting bodies – this communication will be sent to you by your School.  Students on accredited programmes are asked to remember that these decisions are not in the University’s control, but the University will do what we can to act in your best interests.

A. The university has a dedicated email address for baseline average related questions: BaseLineAverage@newcastle.ac.uk.

A. You should expect to be assessed but no assessments/examinations will take place on campus. At present, you will not be required to return to the campus for any teaching or assessment before the end of this current academic year.

The university is working on alternative assessment formats and you will receive more information on this from your School in due course.

A. Yes, you can request to defer all Summer assessments to the August resit period, which has been extended by a week (17th August- 4th September). The decision to defer is therefore one with significant potential consequences and students are advised to consider carefully the implications before applying for a deferral, and to discuss any such decision with academic tutors, the Careers Service, family and friend.

You will also need to think about the following when making your decision:

  • These ‘pre-approved’ deferral requests are only available if you are seeking to defer your first attempt for all your remaining assessments.  If you wish to request to defer some but not all assessments, you will need to submit a PEC form setting out your reason for making the request and each form will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the PEC committee.
  • If you defer your first attempt to the August assessment period, you will undertake the same form of assessment as other students on your modules did in the Summer Term.  In order to ensure fairness for all students across a module we will not be reverting to the ‘normal’ type of assessment in the August assessment period.  In particular you should note that the University will not be conducting face-to-face invigilated examinations in the 2020 August assessment period.
  • There will be no additional tuition for students if they elect to defer their assessments, moreover students are likely to find staff availability more limited at this time of year.
  • If you defer all your assessments to the 2020 August assessment period, you will still be entitled to one resit for any failed modules in line with the University’s regulations and subject to any additional normal regulations for your specific programme.  If you are an undergraduate or integrated masters student and fail more than 20 credits you will be entitled to resit all failed modules, but you may be required to take a year out of your studies and undertake your resits as an external student during the 2020-21 academic year – this is in line with University regulations 2019-20.

You need to think very carefully about whether to request to defer all your assessments, taking all these issues and your own personal circumstances into account.

A. You will have access to the COVID-19 Impact Form from the 11th May 2020. You can use the form to inform the university about circumstances that have affected the remote teaching on one or more modules, but where you do not require an immediate adjustment to their assessment. This form is not intended to gather information on where your teaching and learning opportunities are different from what you would experience in normal circumstances.

A. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may need to submit more than one form to inform the university of your situation. The university has put together a table explaining the differences between the mitigating forms and when they should be used. Read through each carefully in order to help you make a decision on which is the most appropriate.

A. The university has launched an online service which gives access to popular cluster PC software and your University files. The student Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) has most of the software that is available on a standard University cluster PC.  You can log in to it from a PC, laptop or tablet that is connected to the internet via https://go.ncl.ac.uk/itservice/wvd.

A. Impact on your research degree can usually be dealt with either by instigating an interruption to studies, or by giving an extension to your thesis submission deadline. Your Supervisor and/or Graduate School will be able to guide you on the most appropriate option for your circumstances.

In order for the university to understand how best to support you, you are encouraged to complete the online form for your relevant Faculty.

Further information on the options available to PGR students can be found on the PGR FAQs. These FAQs outline the support available to you during this time as well as answer any questions relating to travel, teaching, APR, viva etc.

A: Any student with a thesis submission deadline up to 30th September 2020 is eligible to apply for up to 3 months of fee free extended submission.

If you are in this situation, you do not need to take any action at present, your Graduate School is collating details of the relevant students and will be contacting you (normally using your University email address, unless you have already provided us with additional, alternative contact details.

The ‘30th September 2020’ date will be reviewed on the 31st July 2020 as part of a rolling programme of review and provide an update during the week commencing 3rd August 2020.

A: In accordance with the UKRI guidance issued on the 24th April 2020, if you were/will be in receipt of a UKRI funded studentship between the 1st March 2020 and 31st March 2021, you may be eligible for an extension of up to 6 months of funding. Colleagues responsible for UKRI studentships in all 3 Faculties will be in contact with relevant students shortly to confirm the process for requesting this funding extension.

A: APRs will continue as normal this academic year, where possible. This will provide you with an opportunity to provide information on the progress you have made, as well as detailing the impact that the current situation has had on your research project.

If your APR is due before the end of this academic year, this will be arranged by your School as usual.

If you do not have an APR scheduled during this timeframe, your School will be asked to arrange an extraordinary APR, which will be an ‘impact review’ (using the APR process) to consider the impact of the Covid-19 disruption on your research degree.

This will ensure that all students have a review of the impact of Covid-19 disruption before the start of the 2020/21 academic year.

Your School/Institute will provide you with further details on dates and specific arrangements as these are finalised.

A: Vivas will be carried out remotely. To facilitate remote vivas, the Deans of Postgraduate Study have approved a blanket concession for MPhil and PhD vivas to take place via video link, subject to confirmation that the viva is conducted via a professional Zoom link.

Your Graduate School will be providing guidance directly to your academic unit/supervisors about how vivas by video link can be supported and are currently identifying students who have a viva scheduled in the next three months and advising the relevant Supervisors. If you are a student in FMS and required to undertake a pre-viva presentation, this is likely to be done via video link to just the Examiners.

If you are a creative practice student, you may have different arrangements for your examination which may include elements in addition to a viva, e.g. a performance, installation, etc.  If you are concerned about the arrangements for an upcoming examination in the next three months, please contact your Supervisor and/or Graduate School to discuss this and determine the options available to you.

A: Please contact your Graduate School Office:

HaSS and SAgE students: gradschool@ncl.ac.uk

FMS students: medpg-enquiries@ncl.ac.uk



Personal Advice

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A: There are many organisations and services that are there to support you or someone you care about at this very difficult time. Our personal webpages have a section on bereavement where we list some of these along with links to support within the University.

Newcastle University Grief and Bereavement Guide - This guide is intended to provide some support to help you negotiate the next steps in your bereavement.

YOu can also check out the bereavement resources the Student Advice Centre has put together here.

Download Bereavement Support

A. There is a lot of support out there to help you.  

Mental Health during Covid-19: A Guide to looking after yourself and others

Suicide Prevention

Student Minds 

Mind

Newcastle University Wellbeing and on line CBT with Silvercloud

Student and Staff Wellbeing – Corona Virus Updates

Public Health England guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of Coronavirus

Coronavirus: How to Protect your mental health (BBCNews)

Every Mind Matters NHS

Information about how to look after your sexual health during lockdown

A new page on Newcastle City Council’s website – www.newcastle.gov.uk/sexualhealthinlockdown – brings together all the places in Newcastle that you can contact for sexual health advice and support, including access to free condoms, emergency contraception, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and termination of pregnancy. There is also a new Facebook page, Sexually Healthy Newcastle, sharing information about these services, as well as other ways you can look after your sexual health and relationships.

Streetwise will now be delivering sexual health medication to young people’s houses during the COVID19 lockdown.  All you have to do, is contact New Croft on 0191 229 2999 for your repeat contraception and you will be given the option to go and collect it from New Croft or have it delivered to your door by Streetwise.

They also are able to deliver other forms of sexual health medication such as tablets for young people who have tested positive for Chlamydia as well as full STI testing kits.

HealthWorks resources

HealthWorks have developed a list of online resources to help families keep active, healthy and happy. More information is available here.  

Citylife Line

Citylife Line is a new service that has been launched by Newcastle City Council, in partnership with the community and voluntary sector, for residents wanting to volunteer their time whilst also providing a service to support residents in need due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. To register to offer support or to request support, visit the Newcastle City Council website or phone 0191 277 8000.

Health & Well-being

Newcastle City Council have a website page with advice on how to look after yourself and your family during this time, particularly when staying at home, given that some people understandably find social distancing or self-isolation very difficult. At this time more than ever, emotional and mental wellbeing should be considered. The Coronavirus: Looking after yourself website page includes some helpful information and advice on how to do this, much of this from the Mental Health Foundation website.

A. Nightline is running its online chat service, so if you're wanting to chat with someone anonumously and confidentailly click here.  Their service runs from 6pm to midnight during term time.

A. Please take a look here at a full list of domestic abuse information. 



Immigration Advice

The Student Advice Centre cannot advise on any Immigration related queries.  In the first instance Newcastle University Visa team web pages have a lot of information which is regularly updated including their contact details.

The UK Government has also provided guidance for anyone applying for a UK Visa

The Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Helpline remains open: 0800 678 1767 (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm – calls are free of charge if made from within the UK).  The Home Office asks that customers check gov.uk first as that is the central source of information, but if individuals remain concerned about their immigration status they can contact: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk



Get In Touch

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