Version 1.0 - Last Updated: 16 Feb 2021

Exceptional arrangements in AY 2020/21

Temporary winter term start courses

Some providers may be experiencing challenges with delivering learning and late exam resits for their standard autumn start courses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help you with this, we are offering the option to create a new temporary winter start version of your courses. This will only be available for the 2020/21 academic year.

The temporary winter start version of study will allow for a condensed period of study from January to August 2020/21. In 2021/22, we expect these students to start their academic year in September again.

This option should give you greater flexibility to

  • deal with an increased intake
  • provide sustainable online tuition
  • spread your provision throughout the year to enable any in-person teaching

Updating course information on the Courses Management Service (CMS)

If your course was due to begin in the autumn term but will now be rescheduled to a winter start, you should create a new course on CMS. You can find more information about how to do this in the Creating courses section of this guide.

The course start date should be in the winter term. The end date should be in the summer term – no later than 31 August 2021.

You should not add these students to an existing winter term course. If you do this, you will not be able to change their term start back to autumn.

When you create the new course, you should add ‘Rescheduled’ to the course name. For example, if the course name is ‘Maths and Physics’, you should name it ‘Maths and Physics – Rescheduled’. This will allow us to process the Change of Circumstance notifications (CoCs) to transfer students onto these temporary courses.

As normal, these courses should have 3 terms, running from January 2021 to July or August 2021.

Telling students about the changes

You must tell your students about the change to course dates and the name of their course. You must do this before you submit any CoCs. It is important that students know about the changes before we send them any revised communications.

Telling us about the changes

After you have confirmed changes with your students, you should email the relevant pro forma to us at

This will help us to process the course changes and CoCs. It will also help us to ensure that we make the correct payments to you and your students.

If you would like another copy of the pro forma, please email

Transferring students to the new course

To transfer your students to the new temporary courses, you should submit a standard course transfer CoC.

You can do this on the Student Information Service (SIS) for most students. The exceptions are:

  • Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) students
  • Part-time Grant students (excluding new Welsh Part-time Loan and Grant students from AY 2014/15)

You should submit any changes for SAAS students directly to SAAS. For Part-time grant students, you should request a CoC form. You can do this by emailing

This guidance does not apply to higher education providers in the Republic of Ireland or Scotland.

You can find guidance on submitting course transfers in our Student Information Service (SIS) user guide.

If you have a large number of students moving to a new course, you may find it easier to submit CoCs using the bulk upload function. You can find more information about this in the CoC csv import chapter of the SIS user guide.

2021/22 academic year

You should transfer your students back to the autumn start version of your course for academic year 2021/22. To do this the 2020/21 course must be completed before the 2021/22 course can start. Therefore your temporary winter start course must finish by August 2021.

Registration and attendance

With these changes to the term dates, it is important that you maintain high standards when you submit registration and attendance.

You should only confirm registration and attendance when you have evidence to support the confirmations. You should also wait until the cooling off period has ended before you confirm attendance.

Student maintenance and tuition fee payments

Students entitled to maintenance support will receive 3 instalments for AY 2020/21, one at the start of each of the updated terms. Students now starting in the winter term will not receive the first instalment of their maintenance support until January.

You will receive tuition fee payments in the normal way. You can receive 2 instalments in term 1 (January to March 2021) if you choose to submit term 2 attendance confirmations in term 1. If you do not take up this option, the second tuition fee payment will be available in May 2021. 

You can find out more about tuition fee reprofiling for 2020/21 in the Exceptional arrangements in AY 2020/21 chapter of the SIS user guide.

Students resitting exams

Students resitting their exams may not be able to join a September course start due to a delay in receiving their results. There are several options for these students.

They can join the original course late and continue as normal. Or, if numbers warrant it, you can create a new intake of the course starting later in the autumn term. We would expect cooling off arrangements to apply as normal.

Bursary awards

If you use our Bursary Administration Service (BAS) to pay bursary awards, you should check the award rules you have set up. This will ensure any payments to qualifying students are disbursed at the correct time.

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