• Careers
  • Contact Us

Subject Access and Examinations - What Are the Obligations of HEIs?

on Friday, 15 May 2020.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has meant wide-scale cancellation and reformulation of assessment processes for academic institutions, including HEIs.

Where alternative methods are used, and a student disagrees with a final result, there are likely to be challenges which may come in the form of a Subject Access Request.

Are HEI's Obliged to Release this Information?

The short answer is yes - if a request is made, then you are required to deal with it in the usual way. The fact that information was used for the purposes of the assessment of a grade or mark does not automatically take it outside of the right of access.

Coronavirus Legal Advice

What if The Request is Made Before The Results are Published?

If the request is made before the results are published, there is an exemption in the Data Protection Act which allows you to delay the provision of the information until 40 days after the date of the results (or 5 months after the request - whichever is earlier). Therefore, you are under no obligation to release the information prior to the results being published.

However, once results are published you should deal with the request in the usual way.

It is important to note that if the request is received post-results day, the usual one month deadline applies.

Communicating with Colleagues

It is important to bear in mind when communicating with colleagues about students that the information you are communicating may end up being shared with that student if a challenge is made. Whilst you are not obliged to give out information relating to the calculation or assessment of a grade until after the grade is published, the usual rules apply once the results are published, which could involve release of emails between staff about individuals.

If you need specialist advice on your legal obligations for responding to information requests, please contact Vicki Bowles in our Information Law team on 0117 314 5672, or complete the form below.

Get in Touch

First name(*)
Please enter your first name.

Last name(*)
Invalid Input

Email address(*)
Please enter a valid email address

Please insert your telephone number.

How would you like us to contact you?

Invalid Input

How can we help you?(*)
Please limit text to alphanumeric and the following special characters: £.%,'"?!£$%^&*()_-=+:;@#`

See our privacy page to find out how we use and protect your data.

Invalid Input