Information for Parents, Carers and Friends who are Supporting Students
Going to university can be both an exciting time, but sometimes a time of uncertainty, both for students and those who support them such are parents, guardians, carers or friends. These pages provide you with some practical advice and information which may be of use at this time.
- Sources of support for students
- Our relationship with you
- Questions which students may ask
- Semester dates and key events in the academic calendar
- Contact details
We offer a range of services to support students, including:
askUS: Enquiries – this is a general service for all sorts of student enquiries. We aim to provide an answer straight away or make a referral or appointment for a more specialist service. Not sure who to ask? Start here.
Counselling and Wellbeing– the staff in this service help students by providing services, support and guidance for mental and emotional health issues. The team members have training and relevant experience however they are not a psychiatric or emergency service.
Disability and Learner Support – a specialist service that can help a student if they are disabled, or if they think they might be and would like some advice.
Money Advice and Financial Support – the University offers hardship funds and advice with issues like government fees and maintenance funding, also guidance for international students experiencing financial difficulty.
Accommodation Support – if students are experiencing difficulties in any kind of private rented accommodation they can access this service.
University Chaplaincy and Faith Centre – the service offers Christian and Muslim worship, quiet spaces and society activities, services for those of any faith or none, delivered by our Chaplains who also provide a kind listening ear.
Study Skills – A variety of online and self-help options as well as workshops and one-to-one support.
Student Progression Administrator – each School has a progression administrator who can help students access the right support if they are experiencing difficulties on their course. Personal Tutors and Supervisors are also good contacts if students are facing challenges. Students can access staff through their School Reception / Office if they do not already know how to contact them directly.
If a student you support is experiencing a mental health crisis outside working hours, here are some options.
There may be times when you want to discuss ‘your’ student’s situation with the University. Staff at the University are usually unable to provide any information about an applicant or student to a third party without the applicant or student’s written permission. This includes providing confirmation that a student is studying at the University. This is because the Data Protection Act (1998) does not permit disclosure of information about an individual except in certain situations.
However, if you have any concerns about the student you are supporting, and either you can’t talk to them directly about it, or you still feel that they might be struggling or at risk, please don’t be put off from contacting us or another appropriate source of help (such as the student’s GP). Here’s how we will respond if you contact us with a concern.
- If you have information which suggests that the student might need additional support we can accept this and contact the student to see how they are, or take another appropriate action.
- We probably won’t be able to tell you what action we take or whether we have taken action – but we can usually give you advice as to the sort of action we would typically take based on the information you have given us.
- If a student is accessing additional support from us, even if the student was involved in concerning behaviour such as drug use or an attempt at suicide, we would not necessarily inform the student’s family or emergency contact.
- We would usually discuss with the student whether it would be beneficial for them to tell their family or other supporter about the challenges they are facing.
- If there is a high immediate risk to the student or we have good reason to believe that there is, and it is necessary, we will take steps to communicate with a student’s emergency contact without notifying the student.
- If you have major concerns about a student, perhaps you have not heard from them for a while or similar, if you leave contact details or correspondence with us, we will endeavour to pass a message to the student and encourage them to contact you (assuming the individual is a student at the University) to make contact. If the individual is not a student at the University the details will be destroyed.
We may be able to help you by providing general information about support services or processes or click here for more information.
Please find the answers to some of the common questions students have in the section below.
At the start of each module, students will be provided with details of which assessments they need to complete and the submission dates for assessments. Information is usually provided through the relevant module site on Blackboard so you are advised to check here first. If you are still unsure, you should ask your Module Leader.
The Personal Mitigating Circumstances (PMC) procedure is designed to help you if you experience an unexpected unavoidable event which prevents you from submitting a piece of coursework on time. You can submit a PMC here.
You can submit a claim for personal mitigating circumstances for the following reasons:
- Late submission of work but bear in mind that the University’s late submission period is 4 working days. If you try to submit work beyond this point, it will be classed as a non-submission. Late submission is not possible during the resit period.
- Non submission of work or absence from an assessment.
If a personal mitigating circumstances claim for late submission is accepted, late submission penalties will be removed.
If a personal mitigating circumstances claim for non-submission/absence is accepted, you will be given a replacement assessment attempt the next time the assessment is offered.
Evidence of your circumstances will be needed to support your claim.
For Disabled Students
You can access the Personal Mitigating Circumstances (PMC) process as above if an unexpected unavoidable event occurs. In addition to the reasons outlined above, if you believe that there was a shorting coming or failure in your support arrangements, or that arrangements were not implemented in time, then you can also use the PMC procedure to make a claim on this basis.
However if you need extensions agreed in advance as a reasonable adjustment for your disability, this is a separate, evidence-based process. Decisions are based upon medical evidence or recommendations in Educational Psychologist or Needs Assessment Reports. If you have met with a Disability Adviser to complete a Reasonable Adjustment Plan (RAP) this Plan will indicate if you are eligible for an extension. If the RAP does not make a recommendation or recommends a temporary extension or an extension on demand contact Disability & Learner Support to request an extension. If you have not met with a Disability Adviser yet please contact Disability & Learner Support to discuss with an Adviser the reason for the extension, the type of evidence required and to arrange an appointment to explore whether other support may be available.
The Personal Mitigating Circumstances (PMC) procedure is designed to help you if you experience an unexpected unavoidable event which prevents you from attending an assessment such as an exam. You can submit a PMC here. If you are unable to attend an exam, you should submit a personal mitigating circumstances claim for absence. Evidence of your circumstances will be needed to support your claim.
For Disabled Students
You can access the Personal Mitigating Circumstances (PMC) process as above if an unexpected unavoidable event occurs. However if your sickness is disability related and you feel that should the exam be rescheduled this may occur again it may be beneficial to speak with a Disability Adviser to explore what options may be available to you.
You should review the feedback provided by your tutor and discuss this with your tutor. Moderation of the marking process is undertaken to ensure that specific marking criteria have been appropriately applied.
For Disabled Students
If you feel that the reason you did not do well in an assessment may be disability related or you think you may have characteristics of dyslexia for which you have not been assessed contact Disability & Learner Support to discuss further as there may be support available or where appropriate, we may be able to arrange for you to undertake an assessment for dyslexia. If you believe that there was a shorting coming or failure in your support arrangements, or that arrangements were not implemented in time, and these have affected your ability to do your assessment, you can use the PMC procedure to make a claim on this basis.
Everyone finds some parts of courses harder than others, but often people don’t share how they are feeling which might make you think you are the only one. The courses are designed to be challenging in order that you can acquire new knowledge, test your capabilities and learn new skills. Sometimes the second year might feel quite a lot harder than the first year. However, if it feels harder that you can cope with, talk to your personal tutor or Student Progression Administrator about it. Check that you have accessed all the Study Support that you can. If you think you can cope with the course but events in your personal life are weakening your ability to concentrate and study, talk to the Wellbeing & Counselling team or a Chaplain. The Wellbeing team might also be able to help if you are making progress but have had to resit some assessments or have lower grades than you hoped for. It’s a skill to be able to stay positive in those circumstances and remember that you’re still learning and progressing, and perfection isn’t everything.
It could be worth speaking to your tutor about this, to really understand what the issue is and what options might be available to you. It’s also really recommended that you contact a Careers Advisor – it might sound surprising but they have a lot of knowledge about courses and might have some ideas you haven’t thought of.
Many, many students will experience some homesickness on arriving at University. For most the feelings will be mild and will pass, but for some they will feel very strong and might seem like they are taking over everything else. There are things you can do to help the homesickness subside – Make sure you get out and do some activities, try to be realistic about how quickly you’ll feel better, don’t be hard on yourself for having normal feelings of sadness. If you need a helping hand, contact the Counselling & Wellbeing team for a chat with an adviser. Don’t make up your mind to leave too quickly – it takes a bit of time to get better so give it a chance!
It’s usually a good idea to tell your accommodation provider / landlord what your problem is first so they have a chance to put it right – if you don’t get a response after raising it informally, try putting it in writing by dropping an email. However if you aren’t getting anywhere you can contact us and we will see what we can do to support and help you get things sorted out.
Try to be open about the issues you’re having and see if your neighbours will work with you on a compromise solution. If you live in a Hall of Residence and they’re just breaking the rules and behaving badly, talk to one of the staff about it. If you’re being bullied or worse, talk to an accommodation staff member or one of our services right away, don’t suffer in silence.
If you are struggling financially then our Money Advice & Funds Service is here to try and support you. In the first instance it is worth checking out our Money Matters pages to check that you are receiving all funding that you are entitled to and to read up on budgeting and increasing your income. If you are in financial crisis then we have our Salford Support Fund which is open for applications all year round for those in need of extra support. We also offer face to face & phone appointments with our Finance Advisor which can be booked by calling 0161 295 0023.
Make sure you are registered with a G.P. locally and visit them if you are feeling very run-down. Have think about whether your lifestyle is enabling you to stay healthy – are you getting enough good food, rest and relaxation? If a particular problem is causing you to lose sleep or have trouble eating or relaxing, whether it’s a money worry, a family issue, bullying, anxious or distressing thoughts, contact one of our services and talk it through with someone.
You can find information about the academic year and trimester dates here.
There are some key points in the academic year when students may need extra support. Here are some examples:
The start of the year: this is a time when students may be moving away from home and settling into student accommodation as well as starting University life. It can take time for students to settle in, adjust to their University life and make friends. Parents/family members etc can help with this transition by talking to the student about how they are feeling about the leaving home. Focusing on positives as well as negatives can be helpful. The University’s askUS service can offer support and advice to students if required. Further information can be found here.
Middle of the Trimester: The middle of the trimester (sometime around week 6) is often when assignments are due for submission. Some students may feel anxious or unsure about the process or what is required. Support and information is available here. Students may also find it helpful to discuss any concerns about assignments with the relevant module leader.
Christmas: As Christmas approaches, some students will have lived away from home for a few months. Going home for the holiday period can be a further period of adjustment, particularly if students have been living independently. It can be helpful to discuss this with them before they come home so that everyone knows what can be expected.
Exam Periods: If students have exams, they are likely to take place in January, May or August. Exam Dates can be found here. The exam period can be a stressful time for students and it is important that students prepare appropriately. Resources and advice to help students to prepare for exams can be found here.
Anytime: If concerns arise at any point in the academic year, students should be encouraged to contact the University to discuss the issue. If the student is unsure who to contact, the askUS service is a good starting point.