Queen Mary University English and Drama students can't get degree after strikes leave exams unmarked

  • Tap above to watch video report by Kaf Okpattah

Furious final year students at London's Queen Mary University have been left in limbo after being told they can't graduate yet or receive their degree.

A strike by lecturers means hundreds of English and Drama exams have been left unmarked.

The university said only a small proportion of people were affected but student Anthony Crittenden said the situation was deeply unsettling."You have worked three years, paid the university close to £30,000 and at the end of it you're thinking you should have degree," he told ITV News London.

"But no, I am left without a degree and my professional prospects are all up in the air, I am due to start a masters in September and I am in this weird limbo and I don't know what's going on!

"I have been told by the university I'm supposed to start my masters with they will look at each student case-by-case.

"But I don't understand what this means. I don't think I will be starting without a degree - you can't start a masters without having an undergrad.

"How am I going to work professionally in the grad world without being a graduate? It is really hard."

Queen Mary University said disruption to its 33,000 students was "limited" and focused on a "very small number" of subject areas.

Bosses acknowledged there was significant disruption for English and Drama students and they were "sorry" graduation would be delayed.

A statement added: "While this represents just 2% of all final year graduating students, this is devasting for our English and Drama students and we are offering ongoing support to them. All other subject areas at Queen Mary remain unaffected and are graduating as normal."

The students are protected under consumer law and one legal expert said they could have a case for compensation.

"If you went for a haircut and someone cut half you hair and said sorry we are on strike now you wouldn't say it is job done and here's full payment!" said lawyer Ryan Dunleavy.

He said students had contracts with universities and those contracts expect something to be delivered. Ryan added: "The students are perfectly entitled to bring claims against their university for the disruption this has caused them - for the fact universities simply haven’t delivered what they promised.

"Ultimately they will get degrees but because of the marking boycott it’s taking a very long time.

"So it’s that impact of the massive delay that they should be asking for some sort of compensation from their universities.

"Students are consumers in law under the Consumer Rights Act and they are entitled to have their contracts honoured like any other consumer would be. "So this cohort of students has been badly affected because in their first year it was all locked down, so the university didn’t deliver what it promised. "Second year there were still the impacts of that.

"And strikes in the third year - now these students have been affected by a marking boycott.

"They have been shoddily treated."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…