Responding to issues
Sometimes in our roles supporting students, we may have to respond to circumstances that might be difficult or unforeseen. The sections below give information and guidance to help you.
There are many different sources of academic support available to students across the University. The student support website collates these sources together into one place, so is a useful place to direct your students to.
The website also gives advice on what the student can do if something has affected their academic performance or meant that they are unable to study.
The death of a student is always a sensitive and difficult matter, so it’s important that we follow University guidance to make sure the appropriate steps are taken.
The guidance includes:
- A clear statement of responsibilities and actions
- A checklist for Family Liaison
- Key Contacts
- A list of colleagues who are automatically notified of a student death, once it has been verified.
No action shall be taken until the Directorate for the Student Experience Lead Coordinator has confirmed that the news is correct and next of kin have been informed. Once the death has been verified, a named Coordinator from the student's School will be appointed.
For further information please contact Sarah Hartley, Student Experience Officer in the DSE Directorate Office.
If you, or any of your colleagues have been affected by the death of a student, you can get support from the Counselling and Mental Health Service.
The University has particular legal responsibilities around disability. These means that if a student discloses a disability to you, or if you become aware that they might have a disability, you must offer them a referral to the Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS).
Students who have declared a disability will be given a support plan, and each school has a disability coordinator who is the main link between the student and DASS.
DASS provide guidance for staff supporting disabled students and have also produced the below documents regarding mitigating circumstances and automatic extensions:
If you're concerned that health concerns or a disability are affecting a student’s studies or that academic demands are impacting on their health, you can refer the student to the Occupational Health Service.
International students may sometimes face specific challenges related to their immigration and visa status. While we can all signpost students to information related to visas, only a small number of staff at the University are qualified to offer advice and guidance.
The immigration and visa page on the student support website has comprehensive, up-to-date visa information for international students, and contact information for more complex queries.
Many international students benefit from joining the Internatonal Society which is is a charity that promotes international friendship, celebrates cultural diversity and provides support for all students and staff at the University of Manchester with links to the local community. The society is open to all and organises activities including trips, language classes, cultural and social events, where students can meet others.
Deciding to withdraw or interrupt from a programme of study is not an easy decision for a student. As an adviser you will want to make sure that the student has the necessary information to make a decision that is right for them, and has considered their options carefully.
For PGR students there is a policy on circumstances leading to changes to postgraduate research study.
There is also information available about the research and good practice regarding student retention.
If students are in University Halls of Residence, there is guidance available and a leavers form to complete.
There is information on tuition fees and funding implications on the student support website. If students may struggle finacially due to an interruption or withdrawal, they could apply to Student Finance for compelling personal reasons funding.
Students should be advised to contact their School support office if they're looking to withdraw or interrupt.
The University has a policy* to cover our approach to student mental health, together with a guidance document for staff, and guidance for students.
The Staff and Student Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy reflects the University's commitment to ensuring our approach is in line with best practice in the sector.
If a student’s mental health is having a significant impact on their daily life and academic performance, you can refer a student to the Counselling and Mental Health Service with their permission, or they can refer themselves.
The Counselling and Mental Health Service offers telephone advice for staff who are helping students in difficulty, and also provides regular training sessions on recognising symptoms and managing challenging interactions. If you ever need assistance out of hours, more information is available on our help in a crisis page or you can contact Health Assured for more advice.
*Please note this is currently under review. This section will be updated once completed (information correct as of June 2023).
The Student Services Centre can help with any questions about the administration of tuition fees, registration, council tax, funding payments (they also cover immigration, visas, exams and graduation). They're based on Burlington Street near to the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons (number 57 on the campus map). The phone number is 0161 275 5000.
There's also lots of information advice and tips to help students develop skills to make their money go further, search for funding opportunities or learn more about their current funding/finances and find the answers to any specific questions they may have.
If a student is struggling with their finances or wants to make the most of their money, please refer them to the student support website. If the answer can't be found on the website, their contact details can be found on the student support homepage.
After a national disaster, or at times of political unrest, we may need to support students who are feeling unsettled or worried, whether about themselves or family and friends. Depending on an individuals needs, there are a variety of support materials and services available via the Student Support website that students can be signposted or referred to.
Students may need to apply for mitigating circumstances, and should seek support from their School Support Office. Some students may also have financial concerns, if transfer of funds from overseas are potentially delayed. These students should be encouraged to apply to the Living Cost Support Fund.
If a student is currently in a country that may be at risk of conflict and is concerned about travelling to Manchester, they should seek advice from the International Team. Their email address is email@example.com. If a student is in Manchester and concerned about returning to a country that may be in conflict, they too can contact the International Team or their School Support Office.
If a student is on placement and becomes stranded, 24/7 and/or emergency support is available via the University main telephone number (0161 306 6000) and our insurance provider. The Go Abroad Team provide support before, during and after off-campus activities.
Supporting students who are not engaging with their programme, or not attending, is a particular challenge. The Teaching and Learning Office has put together guidance to encourage active participation, and provide information for schools on good practice.
See also the formal University regulation relating to monitoring attendance and wellbeing.
Coming soon: If a student's absence from residences or their course is a cause for concern, please see guidance available here.
Having a diverse student population here at the University of Manchester means that our students will often have varying and specific needs. The information on our particular circumstances section aims to provide further context and guidance to help us support them in navigating their specific situation.
The University's policy on religious observance for students can be found at: www.staffnet.manchester.ac.uk/tlso/policy-guidance/assessment/practice-of-assessment/religious-observance/.
Sometimes, you may become aware that a student is in a vulnerable situation. There is a range of external support services and charities that it might be helpful for you to point the student towards, and remember that the Counselling and Mental Health Services are able to offer general support. Security can be contacted 24 hours a day on 0161 306 9966 for emergency situations.
There are also a range of external support services that can provide support in a variety of situations:
Further information can be found in this factsheet.
If you become aware that a student is either a victim of forced marriage, or may fear that they are going to be forced into marriage at some time in the future.
There are several charities in Manchester that may be able to support your student, contact details, along with advice from Greater Manchester Police can be found on GMP's Forced Marriage webpage.
The University of Manchester is a specified authority under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. As such we are subject to legally-binding sector-specific Duty Guidance and must demonstrate “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism“. Duty Guidance covers such areas as risk assessment, action planning and staff training.
If you have concerns that a student or colleague is vulnerable and at risk of being drawn into terrorism, or have any other Prevent-related queries, then please contact the University’s Prevent Lead, Dr David Barker, Director of Compliance & Risk. This can be on an anonymous basis.
A note about criminal convictions
For the majority of courses the University no longer requires applicants to disclose criminal convictions.
The exception to this is for certain courses that involve working with children or vulnerable adults where applicants must declare all criminal convictions, including spent convictions, cautions and bind-over orders. Applicants for such courses will also be required to complete a criminal records check with the Disclosure and Barring Service and/or a similar police check in their home country.
The Careers Service also has advice for students on gaining employment with a criminal history.
As a whole University community, we believe that bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination are never acceptable.
If a student discloses any of these issues, a useful first step is to help them to access the Report and Support tool, where they can report something anonymously or speak to a trained advisor for help and guidance.
If you, or any of your colleagues, have been affected by a disclosure from a student, you can contact the Counselling and Mental Health Services for support.
Any member of staff at the University could receive a disclosure of sexual violence from a student. We want to make sure that staff feel prepared, know what to do and know how they will be supported, and that students receive a consistent experience whoever they disclose to. The following guidance contains details of your roles and responsibilities in responding to disclosures and the steps that you will need to take.
For advice or support in responding to student cases, you can contact the University’s Sexual Violence and Harassment Response Manager on 0161 275 5780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are all part of a team when supporting our students. If you need some guidance, it might be that colleagues in your School or Faculty have helped students in similar circumstances and can offer advice. For contact details of all of the support services at the University, including central services and School support offices, see the University Services A-Z page.
Throughout this please remember our policies on information sharing which can be found here.
This page is a work in progress so if there is an underrepresented group or specific student community not mentioned here please let us know. Additionally, if you’re aware of resources we can share, please email email@example.com so we can continue to grow the list of resources to support our students.