Students: Counselling

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 15 June 2011.

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Photo of Ben Gummer Ben Gummer Conservative, Ipswich

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what legal obligations apply to higher education providers in relation to the emotional wellbeing of their students through the provision of pastoral care services.

Photo of David Willetts David Willetts Minister of State (Universities and Science)

It is a long-established principle that universities have a duty of care to their students. Higher education institutions (HEIs) are under no legal obligations in relation to the emotional wellbeing of their students but they do have duties under the Equality Act 2010 to support disabled students in higher education, including those with mental health conditions. HEIs themselves will determine what welfare and counselling services they need to provide to their students to offer appropriate support.

Institutions have access to guidance on supporting students and staff with mental health conditions from a range of sector and medical bodies, including the Heads of University Counselling Services, the Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the former Disability Rights Commission and most recently from the UniversitiesUK/Guild HE Working Group for the Promotion of Mental Well-Being in Higher Education. Further information about the Working Group is available at the following website:

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