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At Staffordshire University, we are committed to providing equal opportunities for applicants and students, regardless of their personal circumstances or background. This means that we won’t make an unnecessary decision on your admissions application based on a criminal conviction.
However, we also have a duty of care towards all members of our community. This includes our duty to safeguard children and vulnerable adults who may participate in any activity organised or managed by the University or come into contact with University staff or students on or off campus. For more specific information on this, please see the University’s Safeguarding Policy.
Sometimes when you apply to study a course with us, there might be some circumstances where we need to give your application some additional consideration. If you’re studying with us and your circumstances change, we can make sure that we put something in place to support you and other members of the University community. For example, we might become aware that you have a criminal record which might make it difficult for you to be able to work in the sector that your course relates to, and we would want to talk to you to help you to understand this.
If you are applying to study on a course that leads to professional registration, like nursing or midwifery, we’ll consider this through the Fitness to Practise Procedure. You can find more information on this in the Fitness to Study and Fitness to Practise Procedure. This procedure includes a link to a list of courses which lead to professional registration.
We understand that it can be confusing when we tell you that you are going through a process to make decisions about your studies. We will always be clear on the reasons why.
We will use the Applicant Review Process if you are:
We will use the Student Review Process if you are:
This is a way for us to appropriately consider applications for admission to the University. Below are some examples why we may use this process. This list is not exhaustive.
This is a way for us to confidentially consider criminal convictions for current students. Below are some examples why we may use this process when you are studying with us. This list is not exhaustive.
If you tell us about, or we become aware of, your criminal record, or that a criminal investigation is currently ongoing, we may want to consider this in more detail. The Applicant & Student Review Process is a way for the University to assess your application and make a decision about whether the course is right for you to join or continue studying on.
This process will only look at your criminal record and any relevant information relating to that.
We’ll make sure that the information provided as part of this process is considered objectively, fairly and transparently. We’ll take a risk-based approach to consider any risks to yourself, other students, staff and the University, as well as our local community and placement providers, where applicable.
If you are an applicant, your application to the course will still be considered through our usual admissions processes. This means we might need to make a decision on your application, as well as a separate decision relating to your declaration.
We have a duty of care to everyone in our community. We also want to make sure that the course is right for you, and that you will be able to achieve your potential in study and beyond.
We know that when students join us, sometimes things have happened in their past. If you’re not on a course leading to professional registration, we may not be concerned if you have minor convictions or records, such as speeding.
Regardless of what course you are studying on, if the University becomes aware that you have relevant unspent criminal convictions which are more serious, we may need to take further action through this procedure. That includes but is not limited to anything which falls into the below categories.
We might also need to take further action if you are serving time in prison when you apply to the course, or at any time during your studies.
We might know about your criminal record if you tell us about it, or if someone else tells us about it. We might also find out because the information has been reported in the press or online.
Staffordshire University are cautious about any information that we receive from anyone other than an applicant or student. That includes members of the public, an applicant’s family member, other applicants, or a school or college. If we receive any information, we will try to check what we have been told first. If the information is found to be accurate, we will get in touch with you to discuss this.
We expect all of our students to follow the expectations that we set out. We will be looking for you to be honest and clear with us about your background, and any risks that may be presented to yourself and others, and it is your responsibility to tell us about this.
If we find out about a criminal record, we might need to get more information first. To do this, we might speak to you, or others connected to your case, someone from the Probation Service or the police. If you have a probation, court or other legal order which places restrictions on you, we will need details of these. This is so that we can determine what we can put in place to support you in following them.
Once we have all of the information we need, a member of the management team from your School or Institute will look at this. They may involve other, appropriate members of staff in this process, such as a member of the Safeguarding Team. They will decide whether it’s something that needs further consideration. If they don’t think it will affect your studies, your application will continue, and we won’t take any further action.
If it’s something that they think needs to be looked at in more detail, your application will go to a Panel. If you are an applicant this well be the Applicant Review Panel, for current students, it will be a Student Review Panel.
If you’re an applicant and we find out about a criminal record, we’ll stop assessing your application while we consider what you’ve told us.
An Applicant or Student Review Panel will include:
The Review Panel may also wish to invite relevant members of university staff to discuss the case, if appropriate, such as the Student Wellbeing & Safeguarding Manager.
Whenever we can, we will invite you to this meeting, if you are able to attend. We recognise that this might not always be possible, so this meeting will go ahead in your absence if you are unable to attend. We know this can be a difficult time and you will want to prepare for the meeting, so we will always give you at least a week’s notice (excluding bank holidays). We recommend that you contact the Students’ Union as soon as you can to arrange representation.
Alternatively, you can bring along a supportive friend. If you want to, you can write a statement before attending. You will need to send this to us at firstname.lastname@example.org 48 hours before the meeting. Someone will take notes at the meeting, and you will be sent a copy of our decision on your suitability to study on your course, usually within one week (excluding bank holidays).
If you are an applicant, the Applicant Review Panel will consider all of the information objectively, assessing the risk to you and the rest of our community. The Applicant Review Panel will make a decision whether to accept or reject your application, on grounds relating to your criminal record only. Some possible outcomes are as follows:
If you are a current student, the Student Review Panel will consider all of the information objectively, assessing the risk to you and the rest of our community. The Student Review Panel will make a decision on what support we are able to offer you, and whether this is appropriate enough for you to continue on in your studies. If we think we need to take further action, we will normally make a decision under the Student Conduct Procedure. Some possible outcomes could be:
a) The level of risk is acceptable and so you may continue without any conditionsb) The level of risk can be managed in your studies, but that you cannot continue to stay in University Accommodationc) The level of risk can be managed by a safety and wellbeing plan to help you to continue your studiesd) The level of support you would need to continue on your studies is not appropriate, or the level of risk is unacceptable
In the case of d), the Conduct Panel can decide to recommend to the Vice Chancellor that you should be expelled from the University.
Please see the section of case studies to help you to understand how we view cases.
If you are not happy with the decision that a Student Review Panel have made, you will be able to appeal through the Student Conduct Procedure. You will be given details of how to appeal in the information sent to you as part of the decision.
If you are unhappy with the decision that an Applicant Review Panel have made, you can submit a complaint about the admissions process. More details on how to do so can be found in the Admissions Policy.
Here are some case studies to help you understand how we view applications at an applicant or student review panel.
We have provided access to the previous version of the Applicant and Student Review Process (prior to September 2023)