Tanya Thomas

Getting a degree from University is now a huge financial commitment. A degree can positively impact upon your career and your future earning potential. When things go wrong, such as failing your degree, or being expelled, it is often of overwhelming importance to try and put things right. It is therefore really important that you get independent and competent advice as soon as you possibly can. Delay is often the main reason complaints and appeals are not upheld. I help students understand how university procedures work and how to go about challenging them. I have helped a number of students achieve academic success after experiencing serious setbacks such as ill health, mental health issues, disability, bullying and malicious misconduct allegations.

Tanya was admitted as a solicitor in 2002. Tanya has a wealth of experience in the Higher Education sector and has represented hundreds of students in higher education to help them achieve their academic goals including return to study after having been withdrawn.

Tanya is particularly knowledgeable about the issues faced by students having worked as a University Advisor within a Russell Group University. In that role Tanya not only gave advice to hundreds of students but was also involved in helping the University draft its regulations to meet the Good Practice Framework requirements set by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (the OIA) which is the Ombudsman for Higher Education. Tanya’s unique insight into the way in which Universities deal with student issues enables her to provide advice on how clients can make use of other relevant procedures to maximise their prospects of success. Tanya has also undertaken training at the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) to develop her knowledge of the external complaints process.

Tanya has succeeded in getting students back on their courses including medical, nursing and teaching students due to undiagnosed or ‘hidden disabilities’ (referred to as ‘extenuating’ or ‘mitigating’ circumstances). She has represented a large number of students in disciplinary cases to appeal against unjust or overly harsh penalties.

In 2016 Tanya represented a cohort of medical students in a widely publicised case. All the students she represented were permitted to return to study and following their representations the university issued a public statement about its failings in relation to Equality and Diversity.

Whilst at the Students’ Union Tanya participated in an NUS pilot study to address ‘lad culture’ on campus. She also collaborated with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office on a domestic violence advocacy pathway by facilitating training and introducing an anonymised referral form. In 2016 Tanya delivered a workshop at the NUS conference in Liverpool about both projects to assist other Student Unions in improving the student experience.

Areas covered:

  • Academic Appeals – mistakes of fact, procedural irregularities and extenuating circumstances (including undiagnosed disabilities)
  • Unfair Practice – Plagiarism, exam misconduct and collusion
  • Student Discipline – misconduct including misuse of social media
  • Fitness to Practise (professional qualifications) – medicine, nursing, healthcare sciences, social work and law etc
  • Complaints against the university – post graduate supervision, procedural irregularity, bullying etc.
  • Complaints to OIA
  • PhD – complaints and appeals about supervision and examination irregularities
  • Appeals against withdrawals / expulsion