Safeguarding and support for current students

With a student population of over 20,000 people, it’s natural that from time to time we have a reason to be concerned about the welfare of students. In such cases, the University of Plymouth has a range of policies which guide the action we take, which are briefly outlined below.

 

In the case of serious concerns:

  • We are happy to provide you with general information about University services, but any specific information about a student can only be provided to them.

  • If a student would like the University to talk to you, we require their express written permission to do so, and without this we are prevented from sharing any information with you or other third parties.

Confidentiality

The transition to university life, where a student has been at sixth form or college immediately before, also brings a change in how parents and supporters are communicated with. 

Sixth forms and colleges are able to share information about pupil’s progression and welfare with their parent or guardian, but at university, this changes as students are now treated as adults and the University doesn’t have the same duty of care as schools.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation prevents all universities from sharing personal information about students with any third parties, including parents and supporters, unless we have the express permission of the student.

We know, for parents and supporters, leaving your son, daughter, partner or family member at University can be worrying and unsettling, and we’re sometimes asked by parents or supporters about the location of our students or to check they are safe. 

Because of data protection legislation, we are unable to do this. But we recognise the stress parents and supporters might be experiencing so to reassure you, we’ll do things like:

  • Encourage students to talk to their family and let them know they are safe and well.
  • If they don’t want to do this, we will encourage them to talk to their GP or our own Wellbeing Services, to get support with whatever might be troubling them.
  • Our Wellbeing Services ask students about their support network and encourage them to reach out, and we may ask the student if we can contact their parent or supporter on their behalf.
  • If we’re concerned about a student, their tutor or the faculty will be able to offer support and advice, along with central Student Services.
  • We encourage parents and supporters to contact the police if they have a reason to believe their son, daughter, partner or family member might be in danger or missing.

Safeguarding

The University is committed to supporting and promoting the welfare and safety of students, staff and visitors throughout our operations and environment. 

Occasionally students may become vulnerable, be that due to a deterioration in their health or some other reason, or they may be very young – we have a few students who start with us under the age of 18.

Our approach to safeguarding is outlined our Safeguarding Policy.

If you are worried about a student, discuss your concerns with them to check they are looking after themselves as much as possible. 

If they feel unable to keep themselves safe, they should contact the police on 101 or they could refer themselves to Student Wellbeing Services for mental health support

For general health concerns they should arrange to speak to their GP.

Study and Wellbeing Review

We realise that falling off track academically can be very worrying, and this can happen due to circumstances outside of a student’s control, for example becoming ill. It’s really important that students communicate with us about any problems around their health or academic progress, so that we can support from the earliest moment. If you, as a parent or supporter, become aware that there might be a problem, please encourage your son, daughter, partner or family member to speak to their personal tutor.

Where we have a concern about a student’s health or academic engagement, for whatever reason, we use the Study and Wellbeing Review Policy to decide what support to provide the student with to avoid any prolonged impact upon their academic success and the further payment of tuition fees. This policy talks about a variety of support and the procedure of meetings, including action plans and temporary interruption from study, which the University may use to ensure it is best supporting the student and any others who may be affected.

Student Charter

In 2018 we were delighted to launch a ‘Student Charter’ which outlines the agreements made between the University, the Students’ Union and the entire student body. It describes what each party commits to do, along with expectations and responsibilities we all sign up to. For parents and supporters, this can be a useful tool in helping you understand what we expect of students as adult learners, as well as how the University and Students’ Union works to support students in their academic career, encompassing education, student life, representation and communities. 

There are certain expectations of all parties, and we hope that the student experience at Plymouth is first class for all students. If a student were to behave in a way that may contravene the Student Charter, we’d want to address that promptly possibly though the Student Disciplinary Procedure. Similarly if there were a concern that the University was not providing what was expected, we’ve a Complaints Team who can advise on how to raise a concern.

Images from the Student Charter signing event

Find out more about the Student Charter