Admissions Appeals and Complaints Policy

The Northern College of Acupuncture welcomes applications from all candidates with the potential to succeed in higher education. In line with the College’s commitment to a policy of equal opportunities, no student will be subjected to less favourable treatment on the grounds of their sex, age, disability, religion, marital or parental status, social background, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin.

Our admissions practices are designed to ensure that applicants are treated wholly on the basis of their aptitudes, skills and abilities in relation to their proposed programme of study, and we are committed to operating admissions procedures that are fair, efficient and transparent.

We recognise, however, that there may be occasions when applicants will feel that the College has not adhered to the high standards it sets itself. This Appeals and Complaints Policy and the Applications Appeals Procedure tell applicants what to do if they feel that they have grounds for either an appeal or a complaint.

The College will seek to ensure that all appeals and complaints from applicants are treated seriously, positively and constructively. It will also seek to ensure that appeals and complaints are dealt with promptly, with fairness and consistency and with due regard to the College’s Equal Opportunities Policy. If an appeal or complaint is found to be justified, the College will take such action or provide such remedy as may be appropriate and will do so promptly. If an appeal or complaint is not upheld, the reasons for the decision will be communicated to the complainant.

Applicants making an appeal or complaint will not suffer any disadvantage or recrimination as a result of doing so.

Applicants and any individual against whom complaints might be made may expect complaints to be dealt with confidentially and that their privacy will be respected. However, it may be necessary to disclose information to others in order to deal with the complaint and in these circumstances the parties concerned will be informed of such disclosure.

Appeals and complaints may be submitted by an individual but not by a third party (educational establishment, parent or other representative), unless the third party has the explicit consent, in writing, from the applicant to act on their behalf.

Anonymous complaints will not be dealt with under this procedure. If a member of staff receives an anonymous complaint, s/he will be expected to seek advice from his/her line manager as to how the complaint should be dealt with.

The College believes that any complaints should be resolved as near to their source as possible. For this reason, this Appeals and Complaints Policy provides for there to be a number of stages in the handling of an appeal or a complaint.

Appeals and Complaints will not be rejected solely on the grounds of minor procedural deficiencies on the part of the complainant. At each stage of the process, the person to whom an appeal or complaint has been referred shall, if it is upheld, apply such appropriate remedies as are within his/her powers. If s/he considers that the remedy is outside his/her powers s/he shall refer the matter to the Registrar or Principal of the College.

Applicants may not make an Appeal or Complaint about a selection decision which disputes the academic or professional judgement of admissions staff regarding their suitability for entry to a particular programme of study.

The Appeals and Complaints Procedure may not be used where the decision not to offer a place arises from a failure on the applicant’s part to fulfil any academic (e.g, successful completion of a foundation course, English language requirements, ECDL certification) or non-academic requirements for admission (eg, DBS check).

Office of Independent Adjudicator

Applicants should normally make an appeal within one month of receiving the decision on their application. In the first instance, we encourage applicants to contact the member of admissions staff dealing with their application to request feedback so as to understand why their application did not meet our criteria for entry. At this stage, applicants may also informally request that the decision be reviewed, as it is possible that an error may have occurred.

If the applicant remains dissatisfied and believes that they still have grounds to appeal after seeking feedback and asking for an informal review of the decision, they should follow the College’s Application Appeals Procedure. The timeframes stated in this policy will apply in all cases.

Version 2 Policy date: 14/12/2017 Next review: December 2019 (Academic Board)