The University of Derby is committed to equal opportunities and all applications are considered on their individual merits.
Occasionally the University admits students who are under the age of 18 years. These students and their parents/guardians should understand that the University of Derby predominantly admits students who are over the age of 18 years and that they will be entering into an adult environment. The University 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 access to a comprehensive range of specialist student services.
However, the University acknowledges that anyone under the age of 18 is legally a child and recognises that students under the age of 18 may therefore have additional needs in relation to their wellbeing.
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.
It is a condition of admission to the University that the parent or guardian of any student who is under the age of 18 years, on enrolment, confirms, by providing a signed copy of the consent form, their acceptance of the arrangements set out in this policy.
Additional guidance for students under 18 and outside the UK
Where a student is from overseas and the parents remain abroad, the University requires details of a guardian who is based in the UK.
The University will only be able to register a student once they have provided details of their UK based guardian. If, however they do not have a contact in the UK, who is willing and able to act as a guardian then there are agencies who will, for a fee, make arrangements for them. The Association of Educational Guardians for International Students (AEGIS) inspects and provides accreditation to guardianship organisations in the UK in line with current UK legislation.
As a general rule, those under the age of 18 years are unable to enter into legal contracts. Where contracts are required, e.g. for tuition fees or accommodation, the University requires a parent or guardian to act as guarantor and to honour all obligations under any contracts, with the University, that the student enters into prior to their 18th birthday. By signing the consent form for students under the age of 18 years, the parent/guardian agrees to this.
Students and their parents/guardians should recognise that residential accommodation offered by the University is generally intended for the use of adults. Students under the age of 18 years can be housed in University accommodation in line with the Student Living Application Procedure for students under the age of 18 years.
Students under the age of 18 years, choosing to reside in halls of residence, will be allocated an ensuite room in a same gender flat and it is likely that they will be sharing a flat with students over the age of 18 years. A generic risk assessment is completed to consider any risk associated with this.
Should Student Living halls of residence accommodation be provided, a separate contract will be sent to students, and their guarantors.
Programmes may involve compulsory or optional field trips, excursions or other periods of study away from the University. 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. Unless indicated otherwise, by signing the consent form, parents give consent for the student to take part in these activities on that basis.
Academic programmes are designed and validated to be delivered to students over the age of 18 years. Therefore, they may contain teaching materials that are 18-rated. If students and their parents/guardians are concerned about the content of the programme that they wish to enroll on, they are advised to discuss the content of the programme with the Programme Leader.
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so lectures and contact time with tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. The University cannot undertake to supervise any student travelling home during these extended hours.
Alcohol and Tobacco
It is illegal for alcohol or tobacco to be sold to or bought by individuals 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 Union of Students is responsible for ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place for its own licensed premises.
Students who are under the age of 18 are encouraged to join University or Students’ Union clubs and societies but are not able to hold office until after their 18th birthday (this is because Officers carry legal responsibilities). Their participation in certain activities may be limited.
Relationships with staff
The University of Derby believes the professional relationship between a student and a member of staff is an important part of the student’s educational development. To ensure that students maximise their learning experience, it is vital that trust and confidence exist between staff and students.
The University discourages consensual relationships between staff and students (irrespective of the student's age) in the learning environment and in all areas of support, guidance and administration, and regards it as unprofessional for a member of staff to actively seek to initiate such a relationship, or to pursue such a relationship without regard to the full range of issues or problems that may ensue.
Under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000, it is a criminal offence for any person in a position of trust (which includes members of University staff) to engage in sexual activity with someone who is under 18 years. It is the University view that any sexual relationship with a student under the age of 18 years will be considered as gross misconduct by that member of staff.
As a matter of law, a person under the age of 18 years is a child. The University has a responsibility to protect those under the age of 18 years from abuse and is obliged to report any suspicions or allegations of abuse of children to the appropriate Children’s Social Care service. Any such suspicions or allegations will be reported to the University’s appropriate designated person, who will contact the appropriate authorities.
The relevant Dean and Programme Leader and Student Wellbeing will be notified, prior to enrolment, of any student within their College who will be under the age of 18 years on entry to the University. The Programme Leader will be responsible for ensuring that the personal tutor and any relevant teaching staff are notified.
It is the University’s usual policy to communicate with students (with whom it has a contractual relationship) and not with parents or guardians and this approach will apply equally to students who are under the age of 18 years. The University will therefore correspond with students, and not normally with parents or guardians. However, if the student fails to pay any sums agreed on contract (see Contracts above) then it will be necessary to disclose this to the guarantor.
It is particularly important that emergency contact details are provided for students under the age of 18 years and such students and/or their parents are required to supply this information prior to their arrival at the University. If a medical emergency arises these emergency contact details will be provided to the appropriate statutory services.
Provision of IT services
The University offers email and unregulated internet services for all its students. These services are provided on an unsupervised and unmonitored basis. When using these facilities, students are expected to act in an adult and responsible manner and to abide by the University’s IT Acceptable Use Policy.
Although those under 18 years of age are regarded as children under the law, they still have the right, under the Data Protection Act, for information about them not to be disclosed without their consent. This means that the University is not able to give information to parents regarding the student's progress, results or any other personal circumstance unless the student has given their specific consent or in the circumstances outlined above. However, if the student fails to pay any sums agreed on contract, then it will be necessary to disclose this to the guarantor and possibly to a debt collection agency.