Your Education Welfare Team
Education Welfare support
A short overview of how our team can support students
If your mental or physical health or wellbeing is having an effect on your ability to study, or your studying is creating health problems for you, then our helpful and experienced Education Welfare Team are available to talk to you in a confidential and non-judgemental way about any issues you may need support with.
The Education Welfare Team can help with:
• Worries about your academic progress, due to a health or wellbeing difficulty;
• Signposting you to the right people to help you with any difficulties relating to College processes, such as mitigation and assignment submissions;
• Support around interrupting your studies or changing your mode of attendance;
• Information about Wellbeing Services' support and appointments with their advisors - the team can help you make the right appointment to
discuss mental health support, disability support or set up an Individual Learning Plan;
• One-off meetings to provide support around a specific study-related problem or issue;
• Ongoing support through the Health, Wellbeing and Support for Study process.
What is the Health, Wellbeing and Support for Study Procedure (HWSS)?
The HWSS procedure is a supportive procedure that is used when there are concerns about a student’s health and wellbeing. The student may be struggling to either meet academic learning outcomes and course competencies or to manage other aspects of university life, and it is felt these difficulties are not likely to be resolved in a single meeting with support staff.
Why does the University have a HWSS procedure?
Health and wellbeing are crucial ingredients to a successful and fulfilling student experience. However, the University recognises that difficulties with health and wellbeing are very common. A student’s health and wellbeing may impact on their ability to study, reach their potential and make the most of their time at University. The HWSS sets out a structure where the difficulties a student may have can be discussed and available support options considered. Then a plan can be put in place to help the student get back on track.
The overall HWSS aims are to ensure that:
- The best interests of the student are considered in relation to their personal situation, their health, wellbeing and/or any disability they may be experiencing
- Students are supported to study and manage their health, wellbeing and current circumstances to the best of their ability, and wherever possible to meet the required learning outcomes and complete their course
- Students who are experiencing difficulties in relation to their health, wellbeing and/or disability are supported to address their difficulties at the earliest appropriate point
- Students are able to make informed decisions regarding options available
- Any reasonable adjustments that may be recommended for the student are considered and put in place
- Staff from Colleges/hubs/departments and from central Support Services work together where appropriate so that students experience a consistent and fair process
The University will aim to ensure that the HWSS procedure is used sensitively, ensuring the student is at the centre of the process, and making all possible steps to minimise additional stress and anxiety.
Who is the HWSS procedure for?
The procedure can be used for all students including undergraduate and postgraduate students, whether they are on full-time or part-time courses.
The only exception is when a student is studying a course that is accredited by a professional body such as HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council), GMC (General Medical Council). In these cases an alternative procedure is likely to be used, such as Fitness to Practice.
The procedure may be used when there are ongoing concerns about a student’s academic progress and/or behaviour or ability to function appropriately at university. These concerns could be the result of mental or physical ill health or disability.
How is the HWSS procedure structured?
There are 3 levels to the HWSS procedure:
- Level 1 is when there are concerns about a student’s health/disability/wellbeing that may be affecting their ability to progress academically or engage in the University experience, and that may require ongoing action and review.
- Level 2 is used when there are continued concerns that were not being resolved by Level 1 meetings, or where the concerns about a student’s health and wellbeing are more significant and a higher level of support or response from the University is needed.
- Level 3 is where there is serious concern about a student’s health, disability, wellbeing, behaviour or safety, and/or their ability to cope at university. In most cases Level 3 would only be used when all options of support have been exhausted and when a student has not engaged with recommendations at Level 2.
How will I be contacted/informed about the HWSS?
HWSS (Level 1 and 2) can be requested by any member of staff who knows the student. This can be college support staff, academic staff, residence life team leaders, or Wellbeing Services member of staff. HWSS (Level 1 and 2) can be requested by any member of staff who is involved with the student. This can be college support staff, academic staff, residence life team leaders, or Wellbeing Services member of staff. The meetings themselves are convened by the Education Support Advisors (Welfare), who decide whether the process is appropriate for the student. Best practice is that students will have been informed about the HWSS procedure before they are invited. Students will be invited to a meeting either by email, telephone or during a face-to-face discussion. An E mail invitation will be sent for Level 2.The email will explain what the meeting is, and inform the student that it is a supportive procedure. The decision to hold a Level 3 meeting is made by the Head of Student Services, Head of Wellbeing, or Head of Professional Services (Penryn).
Students will be informed by email or letter about the need for a Level 2 or Level 3 meeting at least 2 working days before the meeting is due to be held.
Students are encouraged to prioritise attendance at these meetings. However, there may be occasions where the student has a prior commitment that cannot be changed ie medical appointment. In these circumstances every effort will be made to offer an alternative date to meet.
Who will attend the meetings?
Level 1 meetings are fairly informal and attendance of staff members is kept to a minimum. The Education Support Advisor (Welfare) will attend, plus other relevant staff members.
Students will be informed who is attending and the reason for their attendance. Occasionally a student may wish to request that a different member of staff attend the meeting. This request will be accommodated if possible.
Attendance at a Level 2 meeting could include staff that have an academic or support role with the student, as well as someone who holds the appropriate level of responsibility and decision-making regarding possible options for the student. Members of staff from Wellbeing Services may attend.
Level 3 meetings will often be attended by the same people at Level 2 (or appropriate qualified staff). It will be chaired by the Head of Wellbeing Services or nominee. An invited GP/medic may also attend these meetings. At Level 3 the members of the panel may meet initially prior to the student’s attendance. The role of the initial meeting is to present key information to the Chair and to consider potential options. Final decisions are made at a subsequent meeting when the student is present.
All meetings will be held in a quiet, private space.
If a student does not attend the pre-arranged and agreed meeting, the meeting may continue in the student’s absence.
What will happen during a meeting?
The meeting is likely to include:
- An introduction by the person running the meeting, and a summary of why the meeting has been called.
- An opportunity for the student to explain their situation and/or give an update on what has been happening to them. Please note that the student doesn’t have to share in-depth personal information in the meeting. However, it can be helpful to share information about current health and impact on studies and life so that the student’s individual circumstances can be taken into account.
- Consideration of a student’s individual learning plan (ILP) and discussion about any adjustments that might need to be added to the ILP, or that due to learning outcomes are not deemed reasonable.
- Exploration of support options/networks available to the student.
- Formulation of a plan about how to move forward.
- Clarification of next steps (for example setting a review date, clarifying what happens if the student isn’t able to meet the agreed plan).
What will happen after the meeting?
A summary of the meeting and agreed actions will be written up and a copy sent to the student and any other participants no more than 5 working days after the meeting. A copy of this report will be kept in a confidential space within the College and/or other relevant University team notes system. A future review meeting may be arranged at that point.
Will the HWSS process ever recommend that a student withdraws from the University?
The aim of the HWSS procedure is to support students to remain on their programme of study wherever possible. However, it is acknowledged that there are occasions where all options of support have been exhausted and the student is not well enough to continue. In such instances the procedure may recommend interruption from studies as the best support outcome for the circumstances.
A student can choose to agree with the recommendation to interrupt or they may decide to continue and risk not passing their academic year. There are the rare occasions when all support options have been considered and it is felt the student is too unwell and the only option is to require the student to interrupt or withdraw. This outcome can only be agreed at Level 3 of the HWSS procedure.
The University is committed to ensuring that the HWSS procedure is used sensitively, that the student is fully involved and that all possible steps are taken to minimise additional stress and anxiety whilst ensuring the appropriate support is put in place.
The full HWSS procedure can be found at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/staff/policies/calendar/part1/otherregs/health/
How to get in touch with your Education Welfare team
Education Welfare Advisors and Officers are based at the College Info Points and offer advice and support, as well as signposting to specialist advice, support services and self-help materials. This support is through an initial Welfare Meeting or through the Health, Wellbeing and Support for Study Procedure (HWSS).
We can offer telephone, video or face-to-face appointment options. If you’ve got any queries at all about how we can help please do get in touch and we’d be please to help. You can contact us by email using the appropriate address below:
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Please note that at busy times the team may not be able to get back to you straight away. If you have an urgent query about your studies, for example an imminent assessment deadline that you need assistance with, please contact your Info Point or the PGR Support Team for help.
If you have an urgent health or wellbeing enquiry, please contact Wellbeing Services through their Urgent Support contacts.
Postgraduate Researchers can access the same support through the Education Welfare Team as undergraduates, often linking support structures with the Doctoral College.
Take a look at the timetable for upcoming events, talks and activities.