Grace shares an update on the SU's campaigning for better support for student parents and carers.
In December 2015 the Students’ Union campaigned for the New Deal for Student Parents. This consisted of fourteen points we wanted ARU to take action on, and I’ve got some progress to share with you based off these points:
- ARU will request information upon registration of whether students are parents or have caring responsibilities from September 2017
- When students reregister, they will be able to update this status in line with guidance from the Equality Challenge Unit guidance.
- There’s a new website specifically for student parents and carers which has gone live recently. This includes information about childcare provision and wider support. http://web.anglia.ac.uk/anet/student_services/student_parents_and_carers/index.phtml
- Nicki Sinclair was appointed in December 2016 as Childcare and Carers Information Coordinator. You can contact her here: firstname.lastname@example.org
- ARU’s Equality Plan 2016-20 has an action to review policies on a systematic basis to ensure all areas are reviewed. Parents and carers are protected under the Equality Act if they are treated unfavourably because of their connection to a person with protected characteristics: age or disabilities.
- ARU will signpost and provide information to students particularly through the new website, but cannot provide childcare for all students in need of it.
- ARU have set up a discount at Barracudas Activity Day camps (£10 off weekly rate and half price early and late clubs if booked by 31/05). If you’d like more information you can get in touch with Nicki: email@example.com
- ARU has made an ongoing commitment to give information and financial support to those students directly affected by the nursery closure.
- There is now access available to a Student Parent and Carers Fund. This is available for academic year 16/17 and was made available to postgraduate and international students on 3rd March 17. 67 students had been successfully awarded funding as grants, totalling £20,600 up until 24th March 17.
- ARU will continue to monitor the number of students who have childcare responsibilities and publish their finding publically on the ARU website in the student demographic snapshots that have been made.
- Action for Family Carers (AFFC: a carers’ charity in Essex) have been running a monthly drop in on the Chelmsford campus raising awareness and offering advice. The intention is to run this in Cambridge with another charity from September 2017.
- Childcare and other caring responsibilities are handled sensitively when mitigation claims and extension requests are reviewed.
- Training on the issues faced by student parents and carers for Faculty Student Advisors (FSAs) is covered in their “Thinking Inclusively Part 1” training.
I’m really happy that we’ve got these changes for you so far, and I know now that student parents and carers are firmly on ARU’s agenda and there to stay. I’d really like to know your feedback on these changes, and we’ll keep updating you of other wins we have for student parents and carers in the future.
If you are a student parent or carer that needs support, please feel free to email Nicki Sinclair: firstname.lastname@example.org