Information for Parents, Carers and Friends

Going to university is an exciting time, but we understand that it can be a time of great uncertainty too – for students and for those who support them. We’ve listed some information and resources below for you if you are supporting one of our students.

Sources of support for students

We offer a range of support for students, including:

  • askUS: 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.
  • Wellbeing and counselling: 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 Inclusion Service: a specialist service that can help a student if they live with a disability, if they think they might have one and would like some advice
  • Money advice and financial support: hardship funds and advice with issues like government fees and maintenance funding; guidance for international students experiencing financial difficulty
  • Accommodation support: a service if students are experiencing difficulties in any kind of private rented accommodation
  • 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 Administrators: 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
  • Careers & Enterprise services: help with part-time jobs, CVs, improving employability and learning how to work for themselves
  • University Medical Centre: our on-campus GP
  • Addressing urgent problems: information for crisis and serious issues that need to be addressed urgently

Our relationship with you

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 acted – 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 through the information on our askUS webpages or by looking through our database of frequently asked questions.

Key dates in the academic year and trimester dates

You can find information about the academic year and trimester dates here and exam 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. You 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.
  • Middle of the trimester: Generally 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 within Skills for Learning. 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. 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 within Skills for Learning.
  • Anytime: If concerns arise at any point in the academic year, students should be encouraged to contact us to discuss the issue. If the student is unsure who to contact, the askUS service is a good starting point.