For most people at some point in their lives, something goes wrong. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a friendly smiling face to help put things back on track?

Meet Brighton Students’ Union Support team!


The Support Service consists of a team of professionally trained and experienced staff who have a wealth of experience helping students navigating the complex regulations that govern your academic experience.?The service is free to students of Brighton University, advice is independent of the University, and always confidential. No problem is too big, or too small.? 

In addition, we know that your health and wellbeing can really impact on your time at University. We can help by directing you to services that can help you with your health and wellbeing - including mental health, sexual health, alcohol and drugs, and social/personal issues. If you want to know more about these services take a look at our Wellbeing web pages.  


Here at Brighton SU we can help you explore your options and the implications of your choices. In all cases, the earlier you contact us the more assistance we will be able to give you. 

For help with any of the issues you see on this page please contact us and we can arrange to provide one-to-one advice and support with any of the academic issues you see on this page. 


What can we do for you?

• We can ensure that we are the best service on campus to help you. 

• Fully assess the help you need. 

• Establish how quickly you need to be seen. 

• Provide you with some useful information before your appointment which could help to get a quicker resolution. 

Book an appointment with us via our email:



Are you having current issues with your academic study? To see how our team can assist, please visit our 'On Your Side' campaign for more information:

2nd March 2021 - We are on your side article & information

This campaign covers the following: Open letters to the government and the local council, No Detriment policy, Tuition fee refunds, Accommodation refunds, Wellbeing & Quality and confidence 


There are a number of ways you can run into trouble with the university’s rules on student conduct, and we know how distressing it can be if you find yourself in a situation where you’re accused of any type of misconduct. That is why you can ask us and we’ll be able to answer your questions.

  • Academic Misconduct 

  • Fitness to Practice  

  • Disciplinary 


What is misconduct, and what do all these terms mean?

Academic Misconduct is a serious assessment offence and covers many areas of improper practice, including plagiarism, self-plagiarism, cheating in exams, falsifying research data, collusion, impersonation, unethical behaviour and ghosting, to name a few.

The University use as one of the methods to assess an assignments originality. It is an online text matching tool that can show similarities between your work and others. At the University of Brighton, turnitin is used in a formative way to raise awareness about plagiarism. Some useful information on how to avoid academic misconduct, by improving your academic study skills (i.e. reading, note-taking, and academic writing skills), can be found here.

If you have been accused of academic misconduct, you should receive an invitation to a meeting at which the allegation will be explained and you will be asked for a full and honest explanation of what happened.

If you wish, you can write a statement about the piece of work including what has led to the allegation and present it to the meeting organiser either before or during the meeting. We recommend you do this as it may help you in several ways such as; making sure your voice is heard, helping you keep focused on, as well as reminding you what you want to say. It may also help University staff to better understand what you did or didn’t do. If you need help, we can check what you have written and advise you on what to expect at the meeting.

You can be accompanied to the meeting. We recommend you seek our support but please contact us to check availability.

If you are accused of academic misconduct and it involves other students, you will all be called to attend the same Academic Misconduct Panel, however you will be interviewed separately. You will each be asked for a full and honest explanation of what took place and how the work was shared.


There are two types of meetings relating to issues of academic conduct: 


Typically, this meeting is for students facing their first charge of misconduct and in their first year of study at the University.  An Academic Practice Review relates to allegations of poor practice such as a lack of understanding of academic protocols and referencing. 

It does not carry any penalties. Your Head of School (or a nominee) will meet with you will ensure that appropriate guidance is given on how to avoid the problem in the future. The meeting is normally scheduled to take place within five working days following notification and will be given a copy of any work or evidence to be considered at the meeting. 

The possible outcomes of an Academic Practice Review meeting are:

  • The allegation is dismissed, and no further action is taken. No record is placed on your file.

  • The allegation is upheld. This can either mean:

    • The allegation will remain on your file for the rest of your course and it will be taken into consideration in any future allegations.

    • Your work will receive a mark based on the merits the valid parts of your work.

  • The allegation will remain on your file for the rest of your course and it will be taken into consideration in any future allegations. Your Course Leader will be notified of the outcome.  Your work will receive a mark based on the merits the valid parts of your work.

  • The allegation is referred to an Academic Misconduct Panel.



This meeting is for more serious allegations and in most instances, students will not be new to the university. The Panel will consist of at least three members of staff; a Chair and two members of academic personnel, not involved in teaching you, along with an administrator from the school who will take a written record of the meeting. The staff member who made the allegation will also be there to present their allegations. 

You will receive notification in no less than 5 working days before the meeting is due to take place. This may be after you’ve received notification of the allegation, but you will be given a copy of any work or evidence to be considered at the meeting.  As soon as you’ve received this you should seek advice from us.

During the meeting, the marker will present their concerns and will outline the facts and evidence which has led them to make the allegation. You will then be able to present your response. You can also read out any statement you have prepared in advance and/or hand it into the chair (see above). 

The possible outcomes of an Academic Misconduct Panel meeting are:

  • The allegation is dismissed, and no further action is taken. No record is placed on your file.

  • The allegation is upheld, and a sanction will be applied to the assessment. The University can impose a range of penalties against you, some of which may mean that you cannot continue with the course.


The panel will decide what is the most appropriate penalty. Possible penalties include:

  • A mark of zero for the piece of work in question. You may have:

  • A deferral (another chance to complete the assignment or a new assignment in its place)

  • A referral (another chance to complete the assignment, or a new assignment, with the grade capped at 40%.

  • No opportunity to resubmit. In some cases, this could affect what ‘exit award’ you are eligible to receive.

  • A mark of zero for the entire module. You may or may not be given the opportunity to repeat the module. The implications of this vary depending on the module. Check your course handbook for more information.

  • The denial of an award. You will not receive any qualification from the University of Brighton. This is only possible in very extreme cases.


You should always try to attend the meeting - if you really can't attend, you should let the University know your reasons and you should submit a statement in advance of the meeting. Otherwise a decision will be made in your absence and your voice will not be heard.

If you don’t attend an Academic Practice Review without reasonable explanation, you will most probably be referred to the Academic Misconduct Panel.

If you don’t attend an Academic Misconduct Panel without reasonable explanation, the meeting will go ahead without you and the Panel may proceed in your absence. Without a statement and without attending the meeting the panel will have limited information on which to base their decision and your voice won’t be heard.

You can appeal against the decision of an Academic Misconduct Panel if you can demonstrate on the facts, academic misconduct did not take place, or there is new material evidence which wasn’t available before or if the penalty is too severe in relation to the misconduct that has occurred.

If you can demonstrate you have grounds based on any of the above, you should write to the University Registrar within ten working days of receiving the outcome of the panel.

“There’s been a problem on placement and I’m being referred to Fitness to Practise.” We often hear these words which makes us well placed to help if this is what is happening to you.

Fitness to Practise can be a very stressful process and has serious implications - it is worth getting as much help as you can as early as you can. So, if you are in this situation contact us straight away - we can guide you through the process and help you to draft your statements and prepare for meetings. The university’s Fitness to Practise regulations can be found here in the Student Contract - they provide a clear and detailed outline of the process.

The first stage is an investigation. You will receive a letter that invites you to a meeting and includes the reasons for the referral.

At this stage, the Brighton SU can help you prepare your response, provide support and make sure that you are clear about the process and its implications.

Subject to our availability, we can attend the Investigation Meeting with you.

Potential outcome of the Investigation Meeting are that is it decided that; there is no case to answer and the allegations dismissed; should be referred to another regulatory processes (e.g. disciplinary); or it can refer you to a Fitness to Practice Panel meeting.

If you are referred to a Panel meeting, you’ll receive written notification outlining the nature of the allegation. If the university think it is appropriate it will inform the professional body associated with your course that a case has been brought against you, a potential or existing registrant.


What is a fitness to practice panel meeting and how do they work?


A Panel will formally consider whether you can remain on the course and whether you are 'fit to practice' within your chosen profession.

You are strongly advised to attend the Panel meeting; an adviser from our service can attend this meeting with you (subject to availability). You must tell the Chair of the Panel the name and details of your representative in good time before the hearing.

Subject to our availability, we can attend the Investigation Meeting with you.

You may call witnesses, but you must inform the Chair of the Panel at least 5 days in advance of the date of the hearing. You can also provide written evidence and submit this in advance of the hearing. You should also receive from the University copies of any documents to be considered by the Panel.

If you fail to attend without good reason, a decision will be made in your absence.

The Panel will consider the relevant professional code of conduct and/or professional requirements and, any witness statements when making its decision.



At the end of the Fitness to Practise hearing, you’ll be asked to leave the room while the Panel considers the outcome. The decision will be based on the evidence on the balance of probabilities. The Panel may decide your fitness to practice is considered impaired, and you should receive a sanction, or it might decide there are no grounds for concern regarding your fitness to practice, in which case the matter will be dismissed.

You can find the full list of possible penalties in the Fitness to Practice Procedure under Section 2.3:



You can appeal against the decision of the Panel if:

  • new evidence has come to light that was not available at the time;

  • the decision was disproportionate;

  • there was an error or irregularity in the process.

The appeal must be submitted to the University Registrar within 10 working days of the decision being made available to you.

Brighton SU’s Support team can discuss your grounds for appeal with you and assist you through the process.



1 in 11 students leave higher education during their first year of study and many more consider it, so it's important that you know you're not alone!

The common reasons we hear that students consider leaving University are:

  • Difficulty coping with their studies

  • Problems adjusting to a student lifestyle

  • Issues with friends & their social life

  • Accommodation

Everyone misses home comforts sometimes! If you're struggling, then there's plenty of support. Brighton SU Support, the Chaplaincy (catering for those of all faiths, and none), the Counselling Service, and the Medical Centre may all be able to help you)

If you’re finding it difficult to make friends or feel like you’re not getting the most out of your time at University: you could join a club/society or get into volunteering. If neither of those float your boat, how about joining the gym or going along to some events hosted by Brighton SU. Don't forget that Brighton, Eastbourne & Hastings are pretty big areas - if you can't find what you're looking for within the University or the Students’ Union then maybe you can find it within the wider local community instead.

The Chaplaincy may also be able to offer mediation or strategies for coping with difficult housemates (don't forget to consider that it may be you who is being difficult). If your housemate's behavior is unlawful then you always have the option of reporting it to the Police or to the University (students can be held liable for their behavior, even outside of University premises). If you need to move, then you should probably contact Brighton SU Support - we can give you advice that is tailored specifically to you and your situation, which may be unique.


Your options depend on a number of factors, including your current programme, the programme you want to switch to, and what stage you are at in your studies.

If you’re struggling to make friends or feel like you’re not getting the most out of your time with us: you could join a club/society or get into volunteering.

You may also wish to keep in mind the timing of your request for requesting a transfer. Come in to see a Union Support advisor, or visit your Course Leader or SSGT for guidance.

Further information on changing your course can be found here on the university’s website.

Everyone misses home comforts sometimes! If you're struggling, then there's plenty of support at Brighton. Union Support, the Chaplaincy (catering for those of all faiths, and none), the Counselling service and the Medical Centre may all be able to help you)

If you’re struggling to make friends or feel like you’re not getting the most out of your time with us: you could join a club/society or get into volunteering. If neither of those float your boat, how about joining the gym or going along to some events hosted by Brighton SU. Don't forget that Brighton, Eastbourne & Hastings are pretty big areas - if you can't find what you're looking for within the university or the Students’ Union then maybe you can find it within the wider local community instead.


It may be possible for you to take an authorised interruption of studies, known as "intermission". If you are unable to study for a specific reason, such as illness, bereavement, or personal problems. Come in to see an advisor from the Union Support team, or contact your Personal Tutor, Course Leader, or SSGT, who can help you apply for this.


Implications involved:

Withdrawing from University can be an expensive decision - for example, you might need to pay your year's tuition fee and accommodation fees until the end of the contract.

You should also consider the implications this may have on your funding. We strongly recommend you talk to the university’s Student Advice Service to discuss the effects on your student finance.

  • You are normally only entitled to receive funding for the duration of your course plus one year, and previous higher education study you've undertaken will generally reduce your entitlement. Therefore, if you leave your course having completed two years, for example, you might not be entitled to enough tuition fee funding if you wish to study again in the future. However, if you have experienced personal difficulties whilst studying, which lead to you leaving the course, you may be entitled to some repeat funding when you return to study.

  • If you have already received funding, you may be asked to pay some or all of this back if you leave the course. It is important for you to inform your funding body as soon as you have withdrawn, to keep overpayments to a minimum.

  • If you have signed a housing contract for student accommodation, even if you leave University you will still be liable for the rent on the accommodation for the duration of the contract. See our section on Housing.

We can help if you think there is a problem so get in touch with us as early as possible. We invite you to talk through these difficulties. We can help by directing you to a number of support services, information sources and student activities to help you into a more positive mindset. And if you still discover that Brighton University isn't for you, then we want to ensure you can make a well-informed decision with confidence.



Most students want to appeal because they don’t agree with a decision or a grade they’ve received for their work. You can appeal some university decisions*, but only on specific ‘grounds’ (reasons).


Timing. If you wish to make an academic appeal, you must do this within 21 calendar days of the results being released to you. This will usually be via Student Central. You can check with your School Office  when your results will be or were released.

You can challenge the decision of an Examination Board if:

  • "there has been a significant administrative error or omission in the assessment process which has had a detrimental effect on the student's outcome".

There are separate processes for appealing decisions about withdrawal from university and penalties arising from Academic Misconduct

Sadly, you cannot appeal against a grade or mark just because you disagree with it or feel it is unfair. Also, you cannot appeal against the academic judgment. i.e. your tutor's 'judgment' about your work/grade/marks. If you’re not sure if your reasons for wanting to appeal fall into the ‘ground’ listed above, get help from your Students’ Union Support team.


Starting an appeal:

Stage 1

  1. You must use the Stage 1 Form which can be downloaded from the Student Contract web page.

  2. Don’t forget that you must appeal within 21 calendar days of the results being released by your school. You need to follow the instructions in the stage 1 form carefully and don’t forget to attach any documentary evidence to support your appeal. If you are still awaiting evidence and cannot provide this within the deadline of 14 days you should submit your appeal form together with a note explaining what further evidence is awaited, and when it will be received.

  3. You should send the completed form and evidence to the University's Appeals Team via the email

  4. Your appeal must be submitted by you as it won’t be accepted by anyone else including your parents, friends, lawyers, or the Students’ Union. 


What happens next?

You will receive an acknowledgment within 2 working days.

If your form contains all the required information, you will receive a decision on whether your appeal has been 'upheld', or 'rejected' within 5 working days. 


Not satisfied? Then you should consider moving on to Stage 2.

Stage 2

  1. If you are not happy with the outcome of the stage 1 appeal, you are told in the outcome letter what you need to do next, including the deadline in which you need to do it.

  2. You should also read the Appeals Regulations carefully and get advice from Brighton SU Support service and see whether you have grounds to request a Stage 2 ‘Review of Appeal Decision’. 

  3. The Stage 2 Appeal Form can be downloaded from the Student Contract web page.

  4. When you’ve completed the form, you’ll need to send it within the deadline set out in the Stage 1 outcome letter.


What happens after that?

Once you have received your Stage 2 Outcome, the university’s academic appeal process is concluded and you’ll receive a “Completion of Procedures Letter” (“CoP” letter for short).

If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of your Stage 2 Appeal, you can apply to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (“OIA”) for an external review.



You cannot appeal simply because you are unhappy with your grade.  Read more about what you can appeal to in the university's 'Guide to Academic Appeals for Students'. 


Contact the team:

  • through all stages of the university’s Academic Appeals procedures

  • with identifying and accessing support that may be beneficial to you with the issues you are experiencing

  • develop your appeal statement

  • to understand the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) appeal and complaint procedures




Appeals of an Academic Misconduct Panel must be submitted within 10 working days of the decision being made available to you.

Appeals of a Fitness to Practice Panel must be made in writing and submitted the Registrar and Secretary within 10 days of the notification of the decision being made available to you.

In the case of permanent exclusion from the university, any appeal must be lodged, in writing, with the Registrar and Secretary within 15 working days of the date of the original hearing and oral notification of the decision, stating the grounds for the appeal and giving notice of any witnesses you wish to call.



Contact the team:

  • The Students' Union Support service can check your appeal, help you identify evidence & arguments, and guide you through the process. Still need advice? Contact us


You can complain about any aspect of university life; teaching or supervision, the quality of facilities or learning resources, incorrect information being provided, or the failure by the university to provide a satisfactory service. Be prepared though, you will need to be specific about the problems and provide evidence of the issues you have faced.

If you’re concerned about how you’ll be viewed or treated by your tutors or others when you make a complaint, don’t be! The university says; “Students will not be disadvantaged as a result of bringing a complaint”, this means you should not be put off or worried because you are thinking of making a complaint. You can be confident you will be dealt with fairly and you can expect to have your issues resolved confidentially and in a timely manner.

If something isn’t right it probably needs fixing. That’s why we suggest you try not to think of a complaint as a personal attack on an individual or on the university, instead, it is your opportunity to express your concern that your experience is unsatisfactory. Also, there may be several different ways to address your concerns, not just through making a complaint.

We're here to provide you with information to help you make an informed decision about what might be the best way to resolve your concerns. We can also support you through the complaint procedure offering help to understand the various steps, accompanying you to meetings. We can also advise you on gathering the right evidence to support your case.

The university’s Complaints Resolution Procedure is a three-stage process to address informal and formal concerns or complaints.


In brief, this consists of:


Early Resolution


It is hoped, the majority of concerns can be resolved informally within your school. In most cases, this approach provides a quick solution and avoids the formality of submitting a written complaint. You are encouraged to raise issues with your School Complaints Officer - the person nominated to listen to your concerns and help find a resolution with you.

When you contact your School Complaint’s Officer, it's important to be as specific as possible what your concerns are and to think about what might help to put the problem right. You can send them an email or ask to meet in person. You should contact them to let them know that what you are discussing is an early resolution to your complaint. We recommend you email your concerns or write them in a word-processed document to attach to an email. 


Tips on what to write

You need to be as clear as possible, as the person who reads your complaint will know nothing about your circumstances. Once you have written your complaint, you need to read it back and consider whether someone with no prior knowledge of your complaint would understand what you have written.

Writing a chronology of events may be helpful. Be as specific as you can with the dates that the events occurred.

Give examples to support the points you raise and include evidence where possible.

If you are complaining about a specific person, you should include their name otherwise your complaint cannot be followed up. If you know what their job title is, or which course they are studying, you should include this as well.

Only mention witnesses and people who support your complaint by name if they have given you permission to do so.

You do not need to write your statement like an essay. It is fine to write it as a list of bullet points.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of the ‘early resolution’ you can take your complaint to the next level, the formal stage. 


Formal Stage

If you are not satisfied with the response to the early resolution stage or the matter is too serious to be dealt with informally, you can submit a Stage 2 complaint using a Stage 2 form.

You need to send the form, with as much evidence as you can, to the university’s complaint email address

You should receive confirmation of the receipt of your complaint within 3 days. A complaint investigator will be appointed who will then keep you informed about the progress of their investigation. You may be called to a meeting with them. Contact Brighton SU Support team if you would like someone to help you to get ready for the meeting. 

If you believe that the outcome of your Stage 2 complaint is unreasonable or unfair, you can request a review of the previous stages.




As this is a review of what has taken place at the earlier stages, you aren’t permitted to raise new concerns at this stage. If you have new concerns, you should use one of the earlier stages and make it clear this is a new complaint.

You must raise a request for a review (Stage 3) within 14 working days of receiving the written outcome of Stage 2 by completing a Stage 3 Review Form and sent via email to


Your form should specify the reasons why you believe your complaint should be reviewed, which must fall within one or more of the following categories.

i) proper procedures were not followed

ii) the outcome was unreasonable.

iii) new material evidence has come to light which you were unable for a valid reason to provide earlier in the process.

If the Review Stage is upheld, then the complaint will be returned either to the original complaints officer to consider the further material or to a complaints officer not previously involved in the matter. 

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)

Once all university processes are completed, if you remain unsatisfied with the outcome you can contact the OIA - an independent body set up to review student complaints.

Free to students, the OIA deals with individual complaints against Higher Education Providers in England and Wales. The OIA will consider how your complaint was handled and is interested in whether the university has acted fairly, reasonably, and within its own procedures. You can contact them to speak about your case before you submit a complaint, and we recommend you do this.

Brighton SU Support service can discuss your concerns with you, help you clarify your issues, and help you formulate your complaint. We can guide you through the process, check your statements and attend meetings with you (subject to availability).





We are on YOUR side:

Here's a weekly round-up of what the Brighton officer team has achieved through collecting your valuable student feedback and lobbying the University and government~

Brighton Students' Union is committed to making student life better, and we hope that this quick little update will answer some of the questions you have about what's been happening over the last few weeks.


Click HERE for a detailed report on every part of this campaign.