Last Updated: March 2023
If you are going to be away from your studies for any period of time then you need to inform the CAL Student Attendance Team. However, there are different types of absence, and it is important that you know the differences between them. It is a good idea to bookmark this page so that if you need to submit an absence, you have easy access to the correct forms and the most up to date guidance.
Important information for students who need to take an absence
The three main forms you may need to complete to report an absence or change in study location are:
If you encounter any problems with any of the forms linked to on this page or if you have any suggestions as to how we can improve their functionality and ease of use, please contact the Student Attendance Team for your school on the appropriate email address:
Problems with the MyAttendance App
If you are using the MyAttendance app to record your attendance at teaching sessions then you may encounter situations where, for one reason or another, you cannot access the app or record your attendance. If you encounter any problems with the app that mean you cannot record your attendance, then please contact the University's IT Service via the IT Service Desk.
IT Service Desk
If you were present at a scheduled in-person seminar where you attendance should have been recorded via the MyAttendance app but the code wasn't given or was incorrect then please contact the academic leading the session. Once you have done this you can then complete the CAL Attendance Confirmation form to have your attendance retroactively recorded.
CAL Attendance Confirmation Form
Declaration of Absence
A Declaration of Absence is required for anyone who is planning on or has been absent from their studies for a short period of time. It is not enough to only email your tutor ahead of a session to let them know that you will be absent, although this is good practice and is strongly recommended. You must also submit a Declaration of Absence to the CAL Student Attendance Team.
It is your responsibility to inform your tutors of any absences, and it is your responsibility while absent to catch up with any and all work you might miss using resources such as Canvas and Academic Office Hours.
We encourage you to discuss your absence with your Personal Tutor, Supervisor, or a Wellbeing Oficer, particularly if you are likely to have further absences in the future.
What is a "Declaration of Absence?"
If you are absent for a short period of time and are not planning on travelling, then you will need to declare your absence.
Appropriate reasons for declaring an absence are defined according to the University's Codes of Practice. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Reasons related to your university progression, such as conferences or trips
- Emergency or last-minute medical appointments (where no alternative was available)
- Absence due to poor health
- A family emergency
- To attendance a job interview (where no alternative date was available)
- Jury service
- Self-isolating as a precaution
- RAP Related
You are not required to submit evidence for your absence if you are declaring it, though if your attendance is affected significantly over the course of your studies, you may be asked for more information. It is recommended therefore that you keep copies of any evidence you may have for your absence.
Once you have submitted a Declaration of Absence, you will receive an e-mail confirmation.
Please be aware that your absence will not be authorised but may be used in mitigation should your level of attendance fall below the expected standards.
Who can see my Declaration of Absence?
Your Declaration of Absence will only be visible to those for whom it is necessary to see it, including the Student Attendance Team and, unless you opt-out, the Wellbeing Team, your Personal Academic Tutor and the Student Experience Team.
The Student Attendance Team may forward your information on to members of the Wellbeing Team for them to contact you to offer further support. You can find a list of Wellbeing contacts in the College and a hub of Wellbeing resources on the CAL Wellbeing Canvas pages.
Will an absence still affect my attendance percentage if I submit a Declaration of Absence?
If you are absent from your studies, i.e. missing timetabled teaching sessions in which attendance is recorded, such as a seminar, your attendance percentage will be impacted.
If you submit a Declaration of Absence your attendance percentage will still be impacted by your absence. This is because it is important for us to have an accurate record of when you did or didn't attend teaching.
If my attendance rate will drop if I am absent, why does it matter if I submit a Declaration of Absence or not?
It matters because it helps us keep an accurate record of why you were unable to attend. If your attendance percentage drops low enough that we need to get in touch with you, having a record of your absences and the reasons for them helps us better tailor the support we may offer you.
If you need guidance on how to complete the Declaration of Absence form, please refer to our Declaration of Absence Submission Guidance (PDF, 394KB)
Submit a Declaration of Absence
Authorised Absence for International Students
As a Student Route (formally Tier 4) sponsor licence holder, the University of Birmingham has an obligation to monitor and keep records of attendance and absence for student route students.
A Student Route visa is issued for the purpose of full-time study at the University of Birmingham, however the University recognises that there may be times when you need to be absent from the University due to unforeseen circumstances (such as a bereavement or illness of an immediate family member). Students may also be permitted to undertake a period of study in or outside the UK, not based at the University of Birmingham (e.g. fieldwork or to work on your thesis or dissertation).
Before submitting an Authorised Absence, please make sure you read the following information in order to ensure that your form is filled out correctly, which will greatly speed up the processing of your application.
Please note that if you are studying on a twenty-four (24) month full-time Masters programme, you do not need to submit an Authorised Absence application in the vacation period between your first and second year.
Please know that the University is here for you should you need any guidance, help and advice in relation to your Wellbeing. To learn more about our Wellbeing services please visit the Your Wellbeing page.
What is an "Authorised Absence"?
An Authorised Absence is only applicable for international students. If you are planning on being away from your studies for a short period of time during term and will be travelling away from campus then you must submit an Authorised Absence request.
You may be required to submit evidence alongside your application, particularly if you will be leaving the country. You can take a maximum of eight (8) weeks under an Authorised Absence, but all absences will need to be approved.
You must submit your request for absence in advance to the Authorised Signatory for your School. If you are unsure of whose name to enter as your authorised signatory, please check the section below, 'Which e-mail addresses should I use for the Authorised Signatory and Administrator boxes when completing the online form?' before submitting your authorised absence request.
Please note that once the authorised absence request has been received by Registry, following processing by CAL, the standard processing time is ten working days, however during peak times this may extend to twenty (20) working days (maximum). If you have not had a response after this time, you should first contact the CAL Student Attendance Team Administrator for your School and not the Authorised Signatory.
Please be advised that Authorised Absences are not reflected in your attendance record and any other absences during this time will be recorded as unauthorised. This is because the College expects that all absences will have an impact on academic performance and will use this information to ensure that you receive any necessary support.
For more information on Authorised Absences please visit the Authorised Absence Intranet Page.
What's the process of an Authorised Absence?
Once you have submitted your Authorised Absence form the Administrator for your School and the Authorised Signatory will check the application to ensure it is correctly completed, and then will either approve or reject it. When an application is rejected at this stage, the Administrator will likely provide reasons why, usually due to incorrect completion of the form. Please double check the form before you submit to ensure that all your details are correct.
Should the application be approved, Registry will then issue a letter (attached to an e-mail in the form of a PDF) to your student university e-mail address, along with further instructions relating to your Authorised Absence. Please keep these details safe and accessible throughout the entirety of your absence.
Please not you may not always be required to provide evidence when submitting an Authorised Absence, however, if you are unsure, please consult the Authorised Absence Reasons for Absence Guidance (PDF, 188KB). Evidence should support the reason for absence. Evidence that is not in English must be translated into English by a certified translator. When providing translated evidence, please provide both the original and the translated copy.
My assessments are all "Take Home" papers, does that mean I can complete assessments from my Home Country?
The University and the College expect all students to be in the UK during the assessment period. While you may wish to travel over the Christmas period you must ensure you return to the UK no later than 09.01.2023.
Which e-mail addresses should I use for the Authorised Signatory and Administrator boxes when completing the online form?
If you are an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Taught student, please use the email address for your School shown below when completing your application:
If you are a Postgraduate Research student, your Authorised Signatory is your lead supervisors, please use their email address for the Authorised Signatory. For the Administrator, please use the Administrator email address for your School shown below:
Authorised Signatory: Dr Jing Huang (J.Huang.email@example.com)
Administrator: EDACS Attendance (CALfirstname.lastname@example.org)
Authorised Signatory: Georgia Antonopoulou (G.Antonopoulou@bham.ac.uk)
Administrator: Law Attendance (CALemail@example.com)
Authorised Signatory: Kate Nichols (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Administrator: LCAHM Attendance (CALemail@example.com)
Postgraduate Taught Authorised Signatory: Dr Herjeet Marway (H.Marway@bham.ac.uk)
Undergraduate Philosophy Authorised Signatory: Darragh Byrne (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Undergraduate Theology and Religion Authorised Signatory: Karen Wenell (email@example.com)
Administrator: PTR Attendance (CALfirstname.lastname@example.org)
Authorised Signatory: Armin Grünbacher (email@example.com)
Administrator: SHaC Attendance (CALfirstname.lastname@example.org)
Please note: Please do not enter any other member of staff or email address as the Authorised Signatory (except Postgraduate Research students as outlined above) or Administrator. Failure to insert the above details correctly will prevent your application from being considered or processed.
Submit an Authorised Absence
Leave of Absence
A Leave of Absence will be agreed between students and members of the Wellbeing Team when an extended period of absence away from studies may be necessary.
What is a "Leave of Absence"?
During your studies you may encounter challenges or difficulties that may compromise your ability to fully engage academically. During these periods an authorised break from studying may be suitable, known as a "Leave of Absence".
A Leave of Absence will be agreed upon as part of a wider discussion with yourself, Wellbeing, and your Personal Tutor. If you feel a Leave of Absence is something you require, then it is important that you initiate that conversation and contact Wellbeing as soon as possible.
You can find Wellbeing's contact information and further resources on the CAL Wellbeing Canvas pages.
A Leave of Absence differs from a Declared Absence or Authorised Absence in that it will last for significantly longer, usually several months, and will likely result in deferring your studies until the next academic year.
For more information on Leave of Absence, please visit the Leave of Absence Intranet Page.