Student Charter - the Irish Academy of Public Relations UK

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Student Charter

1.         Introduction

The Academy is committed, through a partnership of management, staff and students, to ensuring that its affairs are conducted in a fair and equitable manner, which is conducive of good working relations online and on campus and an efficient and effective academic environment. This Student Charter, sets out the rights and obligations of online students and students undertaking a programme of study operated by the Academy. It has been prepared and will be implemented in that spirit.

1.1 The Charter includes particulars of:

(a)                The rights of students

(b)               The Academy’s code of conduct

(c)                Disciplinary procedures.

1.2 The Charter applies to all registered students of Academy Programmes.

2.         Rights of Students

Students have the following rights:

(a)                the right to expect from the Academy tuition of professional standard on the course for which they are registered and reasonable educational and support facilities consistent with the resources available to the Academy.

(b)               The right to be treated equally irrespective of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.

(c)                The right to fair and just procedures, including appropriate appeals procedures, in all matters involving breaches of the code of conduct.

(d)               The right to be treated as responsible adult members of a third-level institution, to be able to represent personal views in a reasonable manner and to be treated with normal standards of courtesy by all other members of the Academy.

(e)                It is the policy of the Academy that, unless otherwise stated, and with the exception of Academy staff, student details are not issued to third parties (except in certain cases, where external accrediting bodies require student information for their own registration procedures).

3. Codes of Conduct

3.1 The Academy recognises the respect due to third-level students as responsible adults. Accordingly, it expects that each student of the Academy will behave online, on campus, or on activities off-campus under the aegis of the Academy, in a mature, reasonable and honest manner which protects the good name of the Academy, meets the requirements of his/her course of study, has due regard to the rights of others and does not adversely affect the conduct of Academy business.

While self-discipline will be expected and encouraged, failure to meet the standards expected may result in sanctions up to and including suspension and exclusion.

3.2 The following specific provisions shall apply without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing.

  1. Only students who are validly registered may be admitted to online courses or classes. Registration is valid up to a maximum of one academic year at a time.
  2. Students shall at all times obey the lawful instruction of Academy staff.
  3. Students shall refrain from conduct liable to infringe the rights of others.
  4. Students shall respect Academy property (physical, intellectual and copyright) at all times. Students may be held liable for the cost of repair or replacement of Academy property damaged by them.
  5. Students shall respect the property and persons of all members of the campus community.
  6. Unauthorised use or entry to the Academy or its facilities shall be prohibited.
  7. Students must pay the appropriate Academy fees and charges prescribed for each year in advance of commencement of their course of study or must satisfy the Academy that the appropriate payments will be made on their behalf within such a period as the Academy may allow. Fees are non-refundable once a course of study has commenced.
  8. Students must keep the course co-ordinator informed of their current address while at the Academy.
  9. Students must comply with the academic discipline laid down for their course including the requirements of attendance, assessments and examinations as laid down by the regulations. [The right to continue a course of study depends upon satisfactory payment of all fees, completion of enrolment requirements, the maintenance of satisfactory attendance, academic performance and satisfactory conduct].
  10. Students must comply with the Guidelines and Regulations of the Academy. All decisions of the Exam Board are subject to the Academy’s procedures on rechecks, reviews and appeals. Students may also have the disciplinary procedures initiated against them in respect of an alleged breach of the Regulations.
  11. Students shall comply with all safety regulations that may be in force at the time, including those laid down by the Academy and those governing the buildings and facilities on campus.
  12. The Academy does not accept responsibility for any loss of personal property. Students should report any such loss to the relevant University authorities.

Student Complaints Procedure

1. Introduction

These are the Student Complaints Procedures for students undertaking a programme of study operated by the Academy, as they currently apply.

1.1     This procedure applies to all students of the Irish Academy

undertaking a programme of study operated by the Academy. This procedure does not cover academic appeals for which there is a separate procedure.

1.2       No student will be disadvantaged through availing of the complaint

procedure. However the Academy expects that in raising possible issues of complaint, students themselves will have observed their obligations and responsibilities in keeping with the Student Charter. The Academy also expects that students will not engage in frivolous or vexatious complaints.

1.3       The intention is that most problems will be dealt with locally, in a

spirit of conciliation. Thus the formal complaints procedure should be seen as a last resort in the search for a solution.

1.4       Any party involved in a complaint has the right to be accompanied and

represented by a person of his/her choice at every relevant stage of the procedure.

1.5       The procedure is intended to produce a speedy and efficient resolution.

The aim is to prevent unnecessary delay, whilst ensuring a full and fair assessment of the particular circumstances of any individual complaint.

1.6       Complaints provide an important source of feedback on the

performance of the Academy’s services and staff. As such the Academy will monitor the registration of complaints and the progress towards resolution.


   1.7       All complaints should normally be made within 21 days of the alleged

incident, matter or concern.

1.8       The complaints procedure is based on the principle of Natural Justice.

Consequently anonymous complaints will not be accepted.

2.         Stage I

2.1       Students who feel that they have been treated unfairly or inequitably

have the right to express their complaint.

2.2       The student should first try to address the issue with the subject of their

complaint or with the Academy’s administrator.

2.3       Stage I will generally be an oral process and a written record will not

be made. However staff members involved will be encouraged to share their experience of the process to the benefit of their colleagues.

2.4       If the student’s complaint is not resolved locally then Stage II of the

procedure, outlined below, should be followed.

3          Stage II

3.1       The Academy appreciates that there may be occasions where Stage I is

inappropriate and/or that a more formal approach is necessary.

3.2       The Course Co-Ordinator will explain to the student the operation of

the remaining stages of the Student Complaints Procedure.

3.3       At this point the student should complete a complaint form which can

be obtained from the local administrator in each college. The completed complaint form should be returned to the Course Coordinator. The complaint should be specific and comprehensively documented. The complaint form must detail the student’s name and contact details, any relevant documentation, and dates, locations and witnesses as appropriate. Details of any previous efforts to resolve the matter should also be given.

3.4       Where the Course Co-ordinator is the subject of the complaint, the

complaint form should be forwarded to the director. The director will identify an appropriate person within the Academy to deal with the complaint consistent with this procedure.

3.5       The course co-ordinator will acknowledge receipt of the complaint

within five working days. It is the Academy’s aim that all complaints under Stage II will be resolved within 21 days.


  3.6     At this point the course co-ordinator will advise the person who is the

subject of the complaint and provide that person with a copy of the complaint.

3.7       The course co-ordinator will arrange to meet with the student to discuss

the complaint. The student may, if so desired, be accompanied by a fellow student. The course co-ordinator will make a written record of the meeting.

3.8       To establish the facts of the complaint the course co-ordinator will hold

a separate meeting with the person who is the subject of the complaint (who may be accompanied by a colleague), and may also interview any material witnesses. The course co-ordinator will make a written record of the meeting(s).

3.9       The course co-ordinator will notify both parties in writing of the result

of the complaint and the reasons for the decision. Where the result of the complaint includes consequent action or recommendations, the course co-ordinator shall notify the appropriate person(s) or committee, internal or external to the Academy, without undue delay.


4     Stage III

4.1       If the complaint remains unresolved under Stage II, either party may

write to the director, outlining how the complaint resolution process has progressed in their view.

4.2       The course co-ordinator will be asked to submit the original complaint

to the director, the evidence considered under Stage II and the course co-ordinators report on the complaint and the reasons for the decision.

4.3       The director will forward the complaint and the accompanying

information to two extern examiners (nominated by the Director) for their consideration. The Director’s nominees will examine the material and may seek further information from the student to clarify matters concerning the complaint. They may decide, if in their opinion the evidence justifies it, to uphold (or not to do so) a complaint without proceeding further with the complaint process.

4.4       The Director’s nominees will otherwise interview separately, the

student and the subject of their complaint and any appropriate witnesses. The student may be accompanied by a fellow student. The staff member who is the subject of the complaint may also be accompanied by a colleague.


   4.5       The Director’s nominees will agree a written record of these meetings.

4.6       The Academy aims to complete this stage of the complaints procedure

within 14 days. The parties to the complaint will be informed if delays are expected.

4.7       The director will notify both parties in writing of the decision reached

concerning this stage of the procedure and the reasons for it, together with any recommended consequent action.

4.8       The director shall notify the appropriate person(s) or committee

without undue delay concerning changes recommended or required as a consequence of the complaint.

5.         Stage VI (Appeal)

5.1       Either party may appeal the outcome of Stage III within 14 days of

receipt/knowledge of the decision. The relevant party must confirm the wish to appeal in writing to the Director.

5.2       The Director will seek appropriate advice on the composition of a

complaints committee and the protocol to be adopted before establishing the complaints committee to examine the appeal.

5.3       Typically the complaints committee will have four members, chaired

by the Director (or her nominee) and include an experienced manager from another college of education, a member of the teaching staff of the Academy and a student representative. No member of the committee will have been previously associated with the complaint.

5.4       The committee will receive the documentation so far generated by the

complaint and will consider that documentation and hear other evidence at a hearing in line with 5.2.

5.5       The hearing will enable the committee to consider the way in which

the complaint has been handled at any previous stage of the procedure and/or to reconsider the appropriateness of the result of the previous stage of the procedure. However, the hearing will not be conducted as an alternative to any part of the disciplinary procedures which apply to members of staff.

5.6       The decision of the committee will be final as far as the Academy’s

Student Complaints Procedures are concerned.

5.7       The Director will inform both parties, in writing, of the decision of the

committee and the reasons for the decision.

5.8       If the committee decides that certain actions have to be taken as a

consequence of the complaint or appeal, the Director will nominate an individual to monitor such actions.

Students studying with partner colleges of the Academy.

Students studying an Academy course in a listed partner college of the Academy, are bound by the rules and regulations of that organisation. The partner college is responsible for notifying students of the relevant regulations, student charter and procedures of that institution.

Only in exceptional circumstances will the Academy intervene in a ‘local’ matter and then only when it has been established that all of the procedures, relating to that partner college, have been thoroughly investigated and exhausted by the parties involved.