Policy for students under the age of 18 years
Occasionally the University admits students who are under the age of 18 years1. In most cases this will be a very temporary situation, as the student will be approaching their eighteenth birthday. The University is an adult environment and treats all its students as independent, mature individuals and students who are under the age of 18 years will be treated in the same way. The usual personal and academic support arrangements will apply to students who are under 18 years. This normally includes the allocation of a personal tutor and, if the student is resident in University owned or leased accommodation, the allocation of resident tutors and a Hall Manager as well as a comprehensive range of specialist student services. However, the University acknowledges that anyone under the age of 18 living in England is legally a child and that some legal restrictions apply to that cohort eg, prohibition on the consumption of alcohol on licensed premises and the sale/supply of videos with a British Board of Film Classification of 18 years of age.
The University is not able to take on the usual rights, responsibilities and authority that parents have in relation to a child, and it will not act in loco parentis in relation to students who are under the age of 18 years.
A person of 16 or 17 has the status to enter into necessary contracts for education and accommodation but until their 18th birthday will not be legally competent to enter into all legal contracts. In circumstances where a person must be aged 18 or over to be legally competent to enter into a contract the University requires a student’s parents to honour all obligations (under any contracts with the University) that the student enters into prior to his or her 18th birthday.
Parents should recognise that residential accommodation offered by the University is generally intended for the use of adults and that, save in exceptional circumstances, special arrangements cannot be made for students who are under the age of 18 years.
Programmes may involve compulsory or optional field trips, excursions or other periods of study away from the University. Subject to the University’s duties under health & safety law, the University is not able to take any additional responsibility for a student who is under the age of 18 years in relation to such activities.
It is illegal for alcohol to be sold to or bought by students who are under the age of 18 years. The University will take reasonable steps to seek to ensure that the law is not broken in relation to licensed premises under the University’s control but cannot undertake to supervise any individual student. The Students' Guild is responsible for ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place for its own licensed premises.
Students who are under 18 years are not allowed to hold office, for example, they may not be secretary or treasurer to a sports club or other students’ association.
Relationships with staff
Under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000, it is a criminal offence for any person in a position of trust (which may include members of University staff) to engage in sexual activity with someone who is under 18 years.
As a matter of law in England, a person under the age of 18 is a child. The University will report any suspicions or allegations of abuse of children to the appropriate Social Services officer. Any such suspicions or allegations will be reported to the University Registrar who will contact the appropriate authorities.
The relevant College Manager and Hall Manager will be notified, prior to registration, of any student within their School or Hall who will be under the age of 18 years on entry to the University. The personal and residential tutors (if any) will also be notified (Teaching and other staff will not routinely be made aware of a student’s age).
It is the University’s usual policy that it deals with students (with whom it has a contractual relationship) and not with parents. This approach will also apply to students who are under the age of 18 years. The University will therefore correspond with students, not parents.
Students who have not attained the age of 18 can have their refusal to receive medical treatment overridden by parents and hence, emergency contact details must be provided by students or parents prior to the student’s arrival at the University. However, please note that a child from the age of 16 is entitled to consent to medical treatment, and that such consent cannot be overruled by parents.
1 The University does not normally admit students under 16 years old. For BMBS Medicine and MSc Nursing we will not admit students under 17 years old, and all students must be 18 years old by the end of January within the first year of the programme. For BSc Diagnostic Radiography, students will need to be 18 by the start of the third term.