Caring for Carers Project
Our Caring for Carers project, a study into how staff and students could be better supported to achieve their goals at work and study, ran from December 2011 to June 2012. The final report contains a details of the project's findings and recommendations.
Our definition of a 'carer' is someone who 'spends unpaid time looking after, or supporting, a relative, child, partner, neighbour or friend who is frail, ill, has a physical or learning disability, mental health problems or substance misuse problems'.
This support may be in the form of help with personal tasks such as dressing, or practical tasks such as shopping or cooking, or emotional support and supervision.
A carer does not have to live with the person for whom they care.
What support does the University offer student carers?
The University recognises that juggling your caring responsibilities with your studies can be tough. We hope that the information provided here makes it a little bit easier. If your caring responsibilities ever interfere with your University commitments, do not worry. We are here to help you.
Below you can find information relating to:
- Pregnancy and study
- Students with children
- Students with caring responsibilities
- Dependants of international students
- Mature students
If you find that your caring responsibilities are affecting your University life, try the following:
Speak to someone in Student Support
You should notify Student Support as soon as possible that you have a problem. This will be useful if you decide to file for extenuating circumstances later. If you find that your caring responsibilities combined with the pressures of studying are affecting your emotional, mental or physical health, you can drop into Student Support to speak to a member of staff about what additional support may be available to you as a carer.
Contact details and opening times of the Student Support Office on your campus.
You may also want to your GP.
Speak to someone in your department
The administrative staff in your department are there to help and guide you. In addition, your personal tutor may be able to advise you and should be able to give you specific information relating to your course.
Notify the University of your absence
Many of the University of Essexs courses require a high level of attendance at lectures and seminars. If you feel that you are struggling with your attendance at either tuition or examinations because of your caring responsibilities, you should contact your course tutors in the first instance to discuss your situation with them to see if any special arrangements can be made.
If you are absent from teaching for more than one week, you should inform your Head of Department in writing of the reason for your absence. Please be aware that if you are absent for longer than two weeks, or if you are frequently absent, you will need to provide evidence or a detailed statement of the details of the reason for your absence.
If you wish for the reason for your absence to be kept confidential, you should discuss this with Student Support. You should also contact Student Support if you are likely to be absent for long periods of time and require your lectures to be taped or some other form of support.
For more information, please see the Absence from Tuition Notification Form and Guidelines.
If you expect to miss an examination, or have already missed an examination, you will need to notify the Exams Office. Please be aware that you must complete a separate form for each examination you miss.
For more information, please see the Absence from Exams Notification Form and Guidelines.
Fill in a Late Submission form
The University of Essex operates a uniform Course Deadline policy on late submission of coursework. Work which is submitted after a set deadline will be given a mark of zero unless you can show satisfactory evidence of Extenuating Circumstances.
To find out more about Extenuating Circumstances, please select the appropriate link:
Extenuating Circumstances Guidelines and Form for Undergraduate students.
Extenuating Circumstances Guidelines and Form for Postgraduate students.
Seek academic support
You can get extra support through the University Skills Centre. The Centre provides guidance, support and resources to help you do the best you possibly can. It is located on the Colchester campus in the Learning Resource Centre, Room 4.204.
What support does the University offer staff carers?
The University of Essex recognises that a number of its employees have caring responsibilities. It is committed to supporting these members of staff in a number of ways, in order for them to achieve a good balance between their work and their caring responsibilities.
If you are juggling working and caring for someone, talking to somebody at work about this (for example your line manager) is a first important step. Though you might find this difficult to do, there may be existing support you are not aware of, that could help you balance work and your caring responsibilities.
Here you can find about how the University can support you, and you can also get some information about additional benefits and support available outside University, whether you are a parent or you care for a disabled or elderly person.
Staff with children
For staff with children, the University offers:
For employees who are pregnant, the University has developed an assessment procedure to guarantee protection during pregnancy for the mother and the unborn child.
Before returning to work from maternity/adoption leave, an employee can undertake �Keeping in Touch� days, intended to help with the process of resuming work after a period of leave.
The University of Essex also offers excellent childcare facilities: a day nursery for pre-school children, which also offers a holiday scheme for school children, as well as an activity club (CHUMS, at the university Sport Centre) for school children (aged 8-14) during holidays. Most parents employed by the University of Essex can also benefit from childcare vouchers, which will save you money and can be used to pay various forms of childcare.
Further support for carers at the university
For employees who may find it difficult to fulfil domestic, family and working commitments due to personal responsibilities, the University will always consider practical help through a flexible working policy (.pdf). Other arrangements for alternative working patterns include �compressed hours� (.doc).
Employees with caring responsibilities can also benefit from Time Off for Dependants, which allows employees to take a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with certain unexpected or sudden emergencies and to make any necessary longer term arrangements, as well as take Discretionary Leave (.doc).
The University is committed to ensuring the holistic wellbeing of staff at work and it provides a range of support services which are freely available and accessible to staff. For example, to deal with emotionally difficult moments, anxiety and stress, carers can take advantage of free Counselling Service. Further advice on how to deal with stress is offered to both individuals and line managers.
If you think you are treated unfairly at work because of your caring responsibilities, you can contact Harassment Advisory Network for advice.
Further support for carers
Carers have a number of legal rights, which include financial support. According to Carers UK every year, millions of pounds of carers benefits are unclaimed. Below is a list of some of the benefits you might be eligible for; please note that some of these benefits are only available for unemployed carers:
- Carer's Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Carer premium/addition
- Income Support
- Job Seeker's Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Housing benefit
- Council Tax Benefit
- Council Tax Discount
- Disability Reduction Scheme
Benefits for the person you care for:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
A number of organisations give detailed descriptions of these and other benefits. For example: