Referring students on to others

  • Your advisees will expect you to know about other University services and how to access them.

    You can see a quick summary of the main services you may call upon in the Academic Guidance Framework and find a complete list of services and contact names in the A-Z of services for staff. If you are unclear about whether or not a referral is appropriate, you may contact the service and seek guidance, without naming the advisee.

    The Student Welfare Manager is part of the University Case Conference Group, and works with Wellbeing colleagues and staff across the University to support students who are having difficulties functioning or continuing their studies for non-academic reasons.

    When to refer

    In talking to your advisee, it may become clear that you need to refer them to another service. It is important to clarify as far as possible what the student wants or needs. Questions you may need to ask yourself include:

    • Does the advisee need help with a practical problem, e.g. accommodation, health care, finance, study skills, looking for work?
    • Do they need help with a personal difficulty, e.g. bereavement, relationship problems, mental health concerns?

    You also need to be clear about the help that you can offer in your role as Academic Adviser and consider referring if you:

    • Feel out of your depth with the issues the student is bringing to you
    • Believe that you have gone as far as you can with the student
    • Sense there is a conflict between your role as an Academic Adviser and your teaching role

    Try to assess the situation and the student's needs in the light of what you and the University support services can offer. Discuss with your advisee a possible plan of action. This may involve outlining what you can do, what other forms of support they can approach, and how to access them. Encourage your advisee to decide what is best for them out of the options available.

    If you have been working with an advisee for some time, you need to explain why you are suggesting that they seek help elsewhere. It is important to be clear if you are going to continue to offer support, and what the limitations of that support may be.

    Do bear in mind issues of confidentiality, use of email, and the Data Protection Act when making or discussing a referral.

    The Counselling Service offers useful advice on what to do if you are concerned about a student, or feel that they may be at risk.

    If a student is subject to any type of disciplinary procedure or needs to know how to get help for these issues, they should be referred to the Brookes Union Advice Service for independent advice.