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Procedures for staff, students and visitors aged under the age of 18

This page serves as appendix D of the University Safeguarding Policy and Procedures. For more information, including our list of key contacts, visit our Safeguarding section.

  1. These procedures cover staff and students of the University who are under the age of 18 and others who are on University premises or under the care or supervision of its staff and/or students (young people). This may include: children brought onto campus independently or as part of a school group or with college staff, participating in an event or otherwise present because of an event, attending open days as potential applicants or as part of a family group, using music, sports or other facilities, work experience placements or as visitors for any other reasons. This list is not exhaustive.
  2. The University is committed to equal opportunities in its admissions. All applications are considered on their individual academic merits and, on occasion, the University admits students who are under the age of 18 years. The admission of students aged under 17 years at the point of first enrolment will be considered on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
  3. The University of Bradford is an adult environment and all students and applicants are expected to act as adults and to assume an adult level of responsibility. Students are expected to have the necessary skills to study and live independently alongside people from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. Places are offered on the understanding that students will be able to adapt to living away from home and deal with the practicalities that this involves.

Information and Publicity

  1. Publicity and information issued by the University to students under the age of 18 years and their parents/legal guardians at confirmation and before enrolment will provide an accurate description of the level of care and support that can be given to this student cohort. They must also be provided with a copy of this policy.

Parental Responsibility

  1. The University is unable to take on the usual rights, responsibilities and authority parents or legal guardians 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 (with the exception of students attending a summer school where a risk assessment for the occurrence of each event will also be undertaken).

Guardian’s Responsibility

  1. If a student is from overseas and the parents remain abroad, the student’s parent or legal guardian is responsible for appointing a UK-based guardian until they reach the age of 18. The University requires the 24-hour contact details of the appointed guardian for the student who is resident in the UK, who must live locally to the University and close to the student concerned, and who will be accessible to the student and to the University should the need arise. The University requires a copy of the guardian’s agreement with the parents, in which the guardian asserts that they will act on the parents’ behalf until the student’s 18th birthday. The University reserves the right to decide not to admit a prospective student under the age of 18 as a student of the University if the agreement, in its view, is not fit for purpose.
  2. Being a guardian involves carrying out the tasks and responsibilities of the parent as delegated by the students’ parent(s) or legal guardian. As such it is a private agreement between the parent and the guardian.
  3. The University is not able to assist parents in finding a suitable guardian. However, families who do not have friends or relatives in the UK can obtain a list of accredited agencies from The Association of Educational Guardians for International Students (AEGIS)

Student’s Responsibility

  1. All students, including those aged under 18, are expected to abide by the requirements of the University Ordinance 16, Conduct of Student Members of the University, the Regulations Governing Disciplinary Procedures for Students and the Dignity & Respect Policy

Emergency Contact

  1. Emergency contact details must be 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. The University will also provide the parents or legal guardians with a 24-hour contact telephone number if emergency contact is required with the student or University.


  1. In rare instances, consent for emergency medical treatment may be required before parents or guardians can be contacted. The University therefore requires parents or legal guardians to give their consent that, in the case of such an emergency where a parent/legal guardian is not present or contactable, a senior member of the University has parental permission to act on medical advice and do what is in the best interests of the student. By signing the relevant pro-forma, the student’s parents or guardians indicate their consent to act in this way.
  2. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for ensuring that the University has been informed of any special needs or requirements of the student.

Parental Involvement

  1. It is the University’s usual policy to communicate with students and not with parents or legal guardians. This approach will also apply to students who are under the age of 18 years. Although those aged under 18 years are regarded as children under UK law, they still have the legal right under the Data Protection Act (1998) for information about them not to be disclosed without their explicit consent. This means that the University is not able to give information to parents or legal guardians regarding the student’s progress, results or any other personal circumstance unless the student has given specific consent. The University will therefore correspond with students and not parents or legal guardians (unless consented by the student). The University will, however, contact parents and / or guardians in an emergency situation.

Notification of Age of Student

  1. The relevant Dean and Head of School will be notified by Admissions, prior to registration, of any student intending to enrol at the University who will be under the age of 18 years on entry to the University. The University reserves the right to decide not to admit the child as a student of the University if a guardian’s agreement is not provided or, in its view, is not fit for purpose.


  1. As a general rule, those under the age of 18 are unable to enter into legal contracts. Where contracts are required, for example for tuition fees or accommodation, the University requires parent or legal guardian to act as guarantors and to honour all obligations under any contracts with the University that the student enters into prior to her or his 18th birthday. By signing the relevant pro-forma, the parent or guardian agrees to this.

Field Trips and Placements

  1. 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 relevant pro-forma the parent or legal guardian gives consent for the student to take part in these activities on that basis. Students taking part in exchange programmes with other institutions will be required to adhere to the policies and procedures applicable to that place. Organisers must consult the University’s Safeguarding Officer prior to these trips/placements or activities being undertaken if they involve students under the age of 18 years.

Sale of Alcohol and Other Restricted Goods and Services

  1. It is an offence for a person under 18 to purchase alcohol and for anyone to sell alcohol to such a person. It is also an offence to purchase alcohol on behalf of someone under 18 whether this is for consumption in licensed premises or publicly elsewhere.  There are also age restrictions for a number of other goods including solvents, gas lighter refills and some videos, DVDs, video and computer games and some services, including entrance to some venues in which films with an 18 certificate are being shown.
  2. 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. Staff in licensed premises act in accordance with legal obligations to satisfy themselves of the age of those buying alcohol. In addition, individuals are subject to random checks in relation to their age when using any licensed premises in the UK. The University Director of Commercial Services is responsible for ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place for licenses on university premises.

Relationships with staff

  1. 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 the age of 18. The Code of Conduct on Employee/Student Relationships will be followed, which makes I clear that staff must not engage in sexual activity with students under the age of 18. Employees are made aware in this code that it is a criminal offense under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 18, even where the person is of the legal age of consent, where the adult is in a position of trust in relation to the under 18 year old. This will also be considered as a disciplinary issue under the University’s Disciplinary Procedure for Staff. The Dignity & Respect policy will also apply

Holding Office

  1. Students who are under the age of 18 are encouraged to join Students’ Union clubs and societies but are not able to hold office until after their 18th birthday (this is because holders of office can carry legal responsibilities). Their participation in certain activities may be limited.

Student Accommodation

  1. In the case of students under the age of 18 not living at ‘home’, The University will normally group these students and house them in The Green, (unless written consent from parents/legal guardians is given for students to live elsewhere). The Green management will be advised of any students under the age of 18 in the residence.
  2. The University will ensure that the students are made aware of the University Designated Safeguarding Officer and their contact details in cases of difficulties.
  3. Parents should recognise that The Green is generally intended for the use of adults and that, save in exceptional circumstances, special arrangements cannot be made.

Computer Use

  1. Regulation 21 Use of University Computing Facilities and the Campus Network sets out the policy for the use of computers on campus. However, there are no physical restrictions on access and therefor, appropriate supervision must be given to young people.

Disclosure and Barring Services

  1. The University is registered with the Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) and is required to obtain a disclosure for staff undertaking certain activities and roles within or on behalf of the University. Disclosures will be required for staff members in posts that frequently require them to teach, train, care for or supervise students under the age of 18 years old. Factors relating to the frequency of this activity, and the level of supervision available whilst carrying it out, should be considered when determining whether a DBS check is required. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) define regular as:
    • at any time on more than three days in any period of 30-days; or
    • at any time between 2am and 6am and the activity gives the person the opportunity to have face- to-face contact with the adult; or
    • at least once a week on an ongoing basis.

Whilst not an exhaustive list, it is expected that staff who work on a one-to-one unsupervised basis in the following circumstances will be required to complete a DBS check:

  • Staff supervising University employees who are under 18
  • Individual members of academic staff who are the ‘named’ tutor for students who are under the age of 18 years
  • Staff supervising work placements for under 18s
  • Staff undertaking teaching in the University Language Centre
  • Staff undertaking work or supervising in clinical settings where there may be significant contact with under 18s or adults at risk.
  1. University staff are encouraged to contact Human Resources in the event of any uncertainty relating to the circumstances in which a DBS check is required.
  2. The University will not carry out DBS checks on students over the age of 18 who are likely to come into contact with a fellow student under the age of 18.

Work Experience

  1. If the University offers to provide work experience placements for young people, induction training and risk assessments must be carried out by a supervisor within the host faculty, department or office within the University.

External Volunteer and Work Placement

  1. Those within the University responsible for arranging for any member of the University to undertake volunteer or work placements with outside bodies that might entail involvement with young people should ensure that those who are sent comply with any requirements of the receiving/host organisation.


  1. Written consent to take and use images of young people should be obtained prior to the taking of photographs and or video footage.
  2. Parents/guardians must be made aware of when, where and how the images may be used and their intended audience to enable them to give informed consent.


  1. The University’s insurance covers most of the risks likely to be involved in activities involving young people under the age of 18. Activity and event organisers need to contact the university insurance officer ( in Finance for confirmation of this.

Staff Guidelines

  1. Staff working with young people under the age of 18 should:
    • treat all young people equally and with respect and dignity at all times
    • wherever possible have contact with young people in an open environment, avoiding situations in which an adult and an individual young person are alone. If a one-to-one meeting has to take place it should be conducted in an office with an open door or with visual access. An exception to this is where the student is a client of the counselling service; for counselling to be effective privacy and confidentiality need to be protected. All counsellors adhere to strict ethical guidelines to ensure good practice.
    • not divulge home telephone numbers/personal mobile phone numbers, addresses or personal social media and email accounts to young people, ensure that there is no physical contact with them, avoid inappropriate familiarity or discuss matters of a sexual nature
    • never promise that a conversation will be kept confidential. An exception to this is with counselling. Confidentiality, as delivered by professional counsellors, is an important aspect of counselling. However, counsellors always are explicit at the start of every contract about the limits of confidentiality.

Activities – External

  1. The university does not take responsibility for young people under the age of 18 who come onto campus to take part in activities arranged by non-University organisations/individuals. A form of agreement between the hosting University of Bradford officer and the external party must be in place for such activities. This agreement must:
    • include a disclaimer clause relating to young people
    • require the organisers to provide written risk assessments for approval by the University before the activity takes place
    • provide confirmation that all adults involved in the activity have up to date DBS checks
    • provide written confirmation that they have insurance which covers their contractual obligations.

Activities – Internal

  1. The responsibilities of the person in charge of any University organised activity for young people under the age of 18 will include:
    • establishing and implementation of health and safety systems to ensure the young people are in a safe environment at all times whilst on University premises
    • producing a risk assessment to be approved by the Dean of the Faculty, Director or delegated officer
    • gaining appropriate consents from parents/guardians or school/college or community group
    • obtaining confirmation from Finance of appropriate insurance cover
    • ensuring young people are adequately supervised by appropriately qualified supervisors.

Children of Staff and Students

  1. There may be occasions when it is unavoidable for staff and students to bring their own young people onto campus. In these circumstances the staff member or student is responsible for the direct supervision and welfare of the young person during their time on campus. They should be aware of the hazardous areas including but not limited to, staircase, lifts, building work in progress and the pond.

Process for students under the age of 18

1. Admission arrangement


Admissions staff to send a policy document and form to parents at time that an offer is made. 


All those to whom the University makes an offer and who will be under the age of 18 at the time of their first enrolment with the University will be sent information explaining the measures that will be taken by the University to carry out its duty of care.

Parents or legal guardians will be informed that the University will not act in loco parentis in respect of the student and will be sent a form seeking their consent, among other things, for the student to participate in student activities, and to be given emergency medical treatment. Parents’ attention will be drawn to the limitations of supervision in University accommodation.

If, having considered the documentation, parents or legal guardians do not wish the student to participate in activities that any student is normally expected to undertake, they must inform the University before the student takes up his or her place. If this decision would, in the University's reasonable opinion, have a significant detrimental effect on the student's experience of University life, the University may decide to amend the offer so that a place is offered for deferred entry.

Parents or legal guardians will in addition be asked to accept liability for the student's debts to the University and may be asked to give a formal guarantee.

It will be a condition of accepting overseas students who are under 18 that they have a guardian in the UK who has authority to take decisions and give consent on the student’s behalf.

Where an offer holder will be aged under 17 years at the point of first enrolment, admission will be considered on a case by case basis and the proposed support arrangements must be approved by the Designated Safeguarding Officer prior to an offer being made.

2. Parental consent


Parent to return form before enrolment. 


Parental or legal guardian consent will be signified through completion and return of a consent form.

3. Student responsibility


On-going throughout programme until age of majority. 


Whilst the University recognises its special duty of care to students who are under the age of 18, it will expect such students to act responsibly and appropriately and in an adult manner.

The University will do its best to inform appropriate University officers of underage students but the student as an individual also has a responsibility to disclose that she or he is under the age of 18 years, especially in the context of social and non-academic activities.

The University expects its students to obey the law. For example, it is not legal for a person under 18 to buy or be sold alcohol.

4. Identification of students who are under 18


Admissions to ensure schools are aware that they are making offers to individuals who are under 18 and provide a list of under-age applicants at confirmation. 


Admissions and the International Office will inform the relevant Dean, Head of School/Department and Faculty Business Manager of the identity of new students who are under the age of 18.

5. Responsibilities of faculties


Schools to make appropriate arrangements on the basis of the list of under-age applicants at confirmation provided by Admissions and the International Office. 


Faculties that enrol students who are under the age of 18 must ensure that:

  • All students aged under 18 are provided with a named Personal Academic Tutor
  • The Head of Department and Personal Tutor are aware of the age of the student.
  • The Head of Department and Personal Tutor will be reminded of the special duty of care owed to underage students and of the offence of abuse of trust under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 and of the requirement for DBS checks for those working frequently on a 1:1 basis with under 18 students.

The Personal Academic Tutor will advise the student at induction of the requirements of this policy and procedure, including any restrictions on their activities.

6. Social and Sporting Non-Academic Activities


The providers of sporting and social activities to invite students to declare if they are under 18 and to make appropriate arrangements. 


Any University department or related organisation (the providers) organising social or sporting non-academic activities should be aware of students who are under the age of 18 years and should take all reasonable steps to identify their higher duty of care and ensure the safety of under 18 year old students through agreed procedures and good practice.

For on-campus activities, the providers should have systems to identify under 18-year-old students and should inform the students directly of their responsibilities to disclose their age.

For trips off campus which involve an overnight stay, the providers must ensure that group leaders and/or trip organisers are aware of the attendance of under 18-year-old students and take appropriate child protection measures.

For social activities, the providers should take reasonable steps to ensure compliance with the law.

Risk assessments will be carried out as appropriate.