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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.

Academic struggle and progression

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.

Death of a student

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:

  • Clear statement of responsibilities and actions
  • Checklist for Family Liaison
  • Key Contacts
  • List of colleagues who are automatically notified of a student death, once it has been verified. 

No action shall be taken until the Director of Campus Life has confirmed that the news is correct and next of kin have been informed.

Contact Sally Bray, Interim Director of Campus Life, x 58733

Once the death has been verified, a named Coordinator from the Student's School will be appointed.

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 Services.

Disabled students

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 you and DASS.

DASS and Occupational Health share a referral form and procedure which should always be used when referring students.

DASS provide guidance for staff supporting disabled students and have also produced the below documents regarding mitigating circumstances and automatic extensions:

Ill health

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.

DASS and Occupational Health share a referral form and procedure which should always be used when referring students.

International students

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.

Interruption and withdrawal

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.

There is a policy on Interruptions to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Programmes of Study, along with guidance for students and guidance for staff.

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 tution 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.

For further advice, students can contact the Students' Union Advice Service, or visit the Student Support and Advice website.

Students should be advised to contact their School support office if they're looking to withdraw or interrupt. 

Mental health issues

The University has a policy to cover our approach to student mental health, together with a guidance document for staff, and guidance for students (which you can share with students).

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 Services with their permission, or they can refer themselves.

The Counselling and Mental Health Services offers telephone advice for staff who are helping students in difficulty, and also provides regular training sessions on recognising symptoms and managing challenging interactions.

Money/finance/funding

Financial administration

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.

Managing money

There's also lots of information advice and tips to help students develop skills to make their money go further, search for funding opportunites 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.

National emergencies i.e. political unrest/natural disasters

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 about family and friends. You can find guidance here: www.staffnet.manchester.ac.uk/supporting-students/disaster/.

Non attendance/non engagement

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.

Sexual violence, bullying and harassment

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.

See also the University's Dignity at Work and Study policy and the procedure for students.

The University's Sexual Violence and Harrassment Response Manager, Melissa Reilly, can be contacted at melissa.reilly@manchester.ac.uk.

Particular circumstances

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.

Safeguarding/students in vulnerable situations

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:

Domestic violence

Women and children: Refuge (Refuge also supports a 24 hour national domestic violence freephone helpline number: 0808 2000 247 along with Women's Aid).

Men: Mankind Initiative and Men's Advice Line.

LGBTQ: Stonewall.

Further information can be found in this factsheet.

Forced marriage

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.

Prevent

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

The University has a duty to ensure the safety of its students and staff, and that of other people with whom students interact as part of their course of study. The application process therefore requires applicants to disclose relevant unspent criminal convictions and details the procedure that will be followed.

The Careers Service also has advice for students on gaining employment with a criminal history.

 

Key contacts

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.

Information sharing

Throughout this please remember our policies on information sharing which can be found here.

Something missing?

If we’ve missed a common issue or you're aware of resources we can share, please email studentsupport@manchester.ac.uk.