Actions staff should take to support a pregnant student
What academic staff should do when they learn a student is pregnant, including how to assess need and make necessary adjustments.
If a student tells you they're pregnant, you should help them understand any implications for continuing their studies and take reasonable actions to support this.
You should arrange a private meeting with the individual within five working days. Your School or Department must provide you with cover so you can hold this meeting.
Reassure them that the University is committed to ensuring that "becoming pregnant or having a very young child should not be a barrier to applying for, starting and succeeding in a programme of study here".
Health and safety issues
Advise the student to talk to their doctor or midwife about the nature of their course and ask for advice on any potential medical issues that could affect their pregnancy or studies.
You should also advise them on potential issues, including those specific to their discipline (like particular risks of lab work or a placement setting). An initial risk assessment of their course and mode of attendance can provide more detailed information.
You can get additional health and safety advice from:
- Department or School Health & Safety Coordinator
- Department or School Health & Safety Manager
- the Health, Safety & Environment Service
Making reasonable adjustments
Discuss any reasonable adjustments that the University can make to enable them to continue their studies. These might include:
- coursework and exam adjustments
- unit selection
- adjustment to laboratory attendance
- adjustment to class attendance
- adjustment to placement arrangements
- leave arrangements
- reasonable allowance for antenatal appointments
- period of suspension if required
- a Health and Safety assessment
If they are a doctoral student there is a University policy on maternity, paternity and adoption leave
Support from Student Services
Student Services can assist with any other concerns that they may have, including:
- a personalised review of the student's funding package
- visa implications for Tier 4 students
You should continue to provide ongoing support to the student.
If the student decides to continue their studies
In this case, the Department should:
- Summarise the arrangements in a written plan for the continuation of study. The Department should only communicate specific agreed adjustments to relevant teaching staff and examination boards.
- Carry out a Health and Safety Risk Assessment for the agreed plan of study.
If the student decides to suspend their studies
If altering the study conditions is not reasonably possible, or would not avoid any identified risks, the student may temporarily suspend their studies.
The University will make every effort to ensure they are able to complete their programme of study.
Regularly meet with the student to review the adjustments and make any required changes to arrangements.
Encourage them to request further meetings with the School or Department members if needed throughout their pregnancy.