: Poppy Damon <request-586866-
Freedom of Information Officer
University of Bath
31 July 2019
Dear Ms Damon
Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 2000 – 2019/189
Your request was received on 3 July 2019 (slightly amended on 4 July 2019) and is copied below
for your reference, with our numbering added:
“I’m looking for information regarding the bereavement services which are available in your
university or college. Please could you answer the following:
1. Do you offer specific provisions for counselling services for students specific to
2. Do you offer any support or counselling services for students? Y/N
3. Do you have an institution-wide policy/guidance regarding caring for students following a
4. Do your policies or practices exclusively relate to support for students who have lost
parents or does your support factor in other forms of bereavement, such as losing a
5. Can you tell me what special provision you have for offering extensions and academic
breaks in study after a bereavement?
6. How much money did you allocate to counselling and support services for bereavement
per year (Jan 2016-Jan 2019)?
7. If you feel you would like to offer an opinion, would you say your institution feels you are
offered enough from the Government in order to support students who have experienced
bereavement while studying?”
Section 1(1) usually entitles you to be told whether the requested information is held and have
that provided to you unless it is judged to be exempt from disclosure. We are able to provide the
1. Yes. We provide comprehensive counselling support for students with a range of issues,
and bereavement is a common presentation or trigger issue. In the recent Alterline
national mental health survey 48% of students had experienced the death of a close
friend or family member. We recognise that bereavement is a key risk factor for student
suicide and mental illness. Our counsellors are well trained in responding to these issues.
Later this year we will be piloting a new peer-to-peer facilitated social group for those
affected by bereavement.
2. Yes. Our provision is available online at www.bath.ac.uk/professional-services/wellbeing-
3. Yes. Guidance for staff on how best to support students facing a number of issues,
including bereavement, is available at www.bath.ac.uk/collections/student-services-
In addition, a staff advice line provides ‘just in time’ guidance for staff
responding to student bereavement issues.
4. Guidance is focused on the wider impact of bereavement, rather on the specifics of any
type of loss.
5. This would be considered on a case-by-case basis, reflecting individual circumstances. If
a student experiences bereavement, they should talk to their personal tutor and/or
director of studies who would be best placed to advise them and, if appropriate, direct
them to our Student Services department for further support. If an assessment has been
affected, bereavement could be considered as an ‘individual mitigating circumstance’.
Further information about Individual Mitigating Circumstances is available online at www.bath.ac.uk/guides/reporting-individual-mitigating-circumstances-to-the-university/
6. The University does not hold this information. It is not possible to break down our overall
student welfare budget to show spending purely on bereavement support, and to
disaggregate our staff and infrastructure expenditure in the way requested.
7. We have no further comment.
In addition, our Student Services department is working closely with the University’s Centre for
Death and Society to improve the bereavement related services that we provide to students.
Information about the centre’s research project is available at www.bath.ac.uk/projects/supporting-bereaved-university-students/
If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of how your request was handled you may ask the
University to conduct an internal review. A request for an internal review must be submitted
within 40 working days of receipt by you of this response. Requests received outside this period
will only be considered at the University's discretion and where there is a valid reason to do so.
Applications for internal review should be addressed in writing to Freedom of Information Team,
University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you remain dissatisfied you may appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office at Wycliffe
House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. Further details of this process are available
via the following link: https://ico.org.uk/concerns/getting/
Please note that the Information
Commissioner will only consider appeals once the internal review process has been completed.
Freedom of Information Officer