The PMA provides an inclusive approach to learning. We believe that learners should be treated with respect by their trainers, assessors, PMA staff and those at our host venues. In return, PMA also expect and anticipate that learners will behave respectfully towards both other people and their training programme – and this includes their commitment to the scheduled work and completion of assignments.

The PMA Absence Management, Learner Commitment and Reporting Policy sets out expectations for learners’ commitment to the PMA courses and programme they engage in and the procedures that the PMA uses to resolve matters when learners’ commitment is deemed unacceptable or there are mitigating circumstance directly impacting the learners’ commitment.

The PMA Absence Management, Learner Commitment and Reporting Policy applies to:

  • both tutor-led/face-to-face courses and assessments and any online eProgrammes;
  • the learners enrolled on the programme and their employers.

A learner is any individual enrolled on an PMA programme. This includes:

  • tutor-led course and/or assessment;
  • delegates enrolled, from point of registration, that are undertaking a programme that includes a series of tutor-led courses/assessments and any online  eProgrammes;
  • learners, from the point of registration, that are progressing through an eLearning programme.

All learners and delegates are expected to adhere to Absence Management, Learner Commitment and Reporting Policy. All learners and delegates are required to use their ID/Login on the PMA eLearning Platform to participate in timetabled learning interventions.

If they don’t attend timetabled and scheduled learning interventions the PMA may contact them to talk about their absence and will help them to find additional support if they are experiencing difficulties.

If they miss timetabled and scheduled learning interventions for an extended period of time – a three strikes rule will apply – the PMA will review their engagement on the programme of study with the Head of Education.

Learners are able to access the eLearning portal to view their own engagement and attendance record.

Why learner commitment is important?
Attendance is a significant factor of success. Attending your face to face, online interventions, seminars and workshops provides learners with opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully complete their course of work. A decrease in levels of engagement and attendance can provide an early warning of problems. The engagement and attendance component of the Learning Platform is designed to:

  • improve the engagement, commitment and attendance of all learners
  • ensure a proactive approach to providing support when you need it
  • enable you to maximise your full potential, increasing success and achievement

What are Mitigating Circumstances?
Mitigating Circumstances (MCs) are serious unforeseen, unpreventable circumstances that significantly disrupt learner performance in assessment.

Learners are expected to plan their work so they can meet assessment deadlines at the same time as other obligations they may have. The mitigating circumstances process should only be used if they experience significant disruption to thier studies due to circumstances that were unforeseen and out of their control.

In order for a mitigating circumstances claim to be accepted, they must demonstrate, to the PMA that the mitigating circumstances:

  1. were outside your control; and
  2. were unforeseen and unforeseeable; and
  3. were serious; and
  4. were evidenced to be true; and
  5. relate directly to the timing of the assessment affected (i.e. that they occurred at the same time as the assessment date, or during the preparation period immediately prior to the assessment date); and
  6. either prevented you from submitting or presenting for the assessment by the due date, or where you have undertaken the assessment, adversely impacted on your performance such that if it had not been for those circumstances you would have performed significantly better.

The following are the most common examples of mitigating circumstances for which a claim might be accepted (this list is not intended to be definitive):

  • Serious short-term illness
  • Death of a close relative or friend
  • Sudden deterioration of a long-term condition

The following are examples of circumstances for which a claim will not normally be accepted (this list is not intended to be definitive):

  • Medical circumstances that occurred outside the relevant assessment period; ▪ Holiday/employment commitments;
  • Personal computer/printer problems;
  • Poor study practice;
  • Ignorance of due dates/times;
  • Poor time management;
  • Late disclosure of circumstances on the basis that a student felt unable or uncomfortable confiding in a PMA staff member about their mitigating circumstances.

Independent documentary evidence
The following examples of types of evidence is provided for guidance only. This is not an exhaustive list:

Medical Conditions
In the case of evidence relating to medical conditions, this must take the form of a medical certificate or doctor’s letter that is either obtained at the time of the illness or evidence that makes it clear that you were unwell at the time. The evidence must state the time and duration of the illness and include a clear medical opinion. A note from the doctor indicating that the student told them they were unwell will not normally be accepted, and self-certification cannot be accepted.

Where the mitigating circumstances relate to the death of someone related to or known to you, the PMA normally requires a death certificate or an officially certified copy of a death certificate, or equivalent official document to be provided. If you have been affected by a death of someone other than a partner, parent, child or close family member, the PMA requires you to explain the relationship to the deceased and the impact upon your studies.

Bereavement will normally be considered to cover the assessments within the semester when the death occurred. If you feel you have been affected by a death beyond this you will normally need to provide additional evidence to indicate how the death has affected you personally e.g. a doctor’s certificate.

Computer and information technology problems
Failures of equipment, including IT systems and computer viruses will only be accepted when they occur Practice-wide, site-wide.

Supporting evidence from Tutor Assessors
You may seek a supporting statement from your Tutor Assessor (or another suitably qualified member of PMA staff), in order to help you to articulate your claim, if that individual is aware of the circumstances and their effects, although this cannot, in itself, constitute independent documentary evidence.

Submitting a claim for Mitigating Circumstances to PMA
Mitigating Circumstances (MC) claims should be submitted to the PMA Head of Education Please note: you may be required to present your evidence to the PMA for authentication.

Learners should seek advice and guidance from their Tutor Assessor prior to submitting a claim. A learner’s misinterpretation or lack of awareness of these regulations will not be considered a valid reason for non-compliance.

You should be aware that discussing your circumstances with PMA staff does not constitute a submission of a mitigating circumstances claim.

Disciplinary Procedure

  • In the first instance, the trainer or other PMA representative will respectfully bring the issue of Absence and Learner Commitment to the attention of the learner and discuss, where and how to prevent further issues.
  • If they continue to miss timetabled and scheduled learning interventions – a three strikes rule will apply – the PMA will review their engagement on the programme of study with the Head of Education.
  • If a learner’s behaviour continues to be unacceptable they may be asked to leave the training programme pending further discussion or consultation with their employer.
  • Following an event where it has been necessary to remove a learner from a programme, an investigation will take place, taking note of statements provided by the learner, tutor assessor and the employer.
  • Where it is found that a learner was removed from a course with due cause, they will only be accepted back onto future learning programmes on the condition their behaviour improves. Their employer will be held accountable and may also be restricted in their access of future courses. No refund or credit will be made for loss of places (or other bookings) where a learner has been refused future training.
  • If it is identified that the removal of the learner was inappropriate, the PMA will accommodate the learner, without charge, as soon as possible.

This Absence Management, Learner Commitment and Reporting Policy will be formally reviewed in Sept 2018.

Emergency notification contacts

Name Email address Phone number Mobile number
Ian Jones
01606 44945 07880 788985
Austin Ambrose
07726 921685
Cathryn Lyon
07964 705839

Revisions control

Date Summary of changes made Changes made by (Name)
14th July 2016 Absence Management, Learner Commitment and Reporting Policy created Ian Jones & Cathryn Lyon
21st Sept 2017 Updated Ian Jones