FOI: bereavement services

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Corpus Christi College, Oxford,

I am e-mailing to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

If you have any questions or need clarification to complete my request, I would be grateful if you could contact me prior to the deadline of 20 working days from receiving my request.

I’m looking for information regarding the bereavement services which are available in your university or college. Please could you answer the following:

+Do you offer special provisions for counselling services for students specific to bereavement? Y/N
+Do you offer any support or counselling services for students? Y/N
+Do you have an institution wide policy/guidance regarding caring for students following a bereavement? Y/N
+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 sibling?
+Can you tell me what special provision you have for offering extensions and academic breaks in study after a bereavement?
+How much money did you allocate to counselling and support services for bereavement per year (Jan 2016-Jan 2019)?
+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?

I understand that under the Act, I should be entitled to a response within 20 working days. I would be grateful if you could confirm via e-mail that you have received this request.

Regards,
Georgia Coan + Poppy Damon
[Number Removed]

Yours faithfully,

Poppy Damon

Rachel Clifford, Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Dear Poppy

Here is a response from Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

Do you offer special provisions for counselling services for students specific to bereavement?

We provide support to our students with a range of welfare needs, including bereavement. The chaplain has had training and experience in bereavement work, funerals and memorial services, and training provided by a hospice specialist and a funeral director. Her work is either faith based or not depending on what the student wants. The central University Counselling Service (which the college supports financially) has staff with a range of expertise, including bereavement and loss.

Do you offer any support or counselling services for students?

Yes, the College has a welfare team to provide support for a range of issues; these individuals regularly engage in training. We can provide financial support for costs related to bereavement (e.g. needing a flight to return home because of a death or an impending bereavement – we have a large number of international students). We have also provided financial support for private therapy, on a case by case basis.
The Junior and Middle Common Room have welfare officers in a variety of roles. We also have a link with a local GP practice with vast experience and expertise in welfare and health issues of the student aged population. From October we will have an on-site professional counsellor for a half day a week provided by the central University Counselling Service, which has the advantage of being able to draw on central services and the great range of therapeutic specialties and methods provided centrally.

Do you have an institution wide policy/guidance regarding caring for students following a bereavement?

Not a policy but our aim is to be student centred in cases of bereavement. No two bereavements are the same or have the same depth of impact on the individual. We work with the student to find the best way forward in terms of support they need and any adjustments in their academic course.

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 sibling?

We would support any student following a bereavement of a family member or close friend. As stated above we work with the student to find the best way forward in terms of support.

Can you tell me what special provision you have for offering extensions and academic breaks in study after a bereavement?

Should a bereaved student require an extension to their examinable work we will apply to the University for permission for the extension – this is normally approved. Should a bereaved student wish to suspend their study following a bereavement of a close family member we fully support the request. We also discuss with students who have a seriously ill parent or sibling (with a short life expectancy) the option of suspending their studies so that they can spend time with their family/relative.

How much money did you allocate to counselling and support services for bereavement per year (Jan 2016-Jan 2019)?

We do not have a specific budget for bereavement as a category in what we spend on welfare.

Please note that we are a small institution of only 350 students and try to offer a bespoke support service to any student who requires assistance. If we are unable to provide such support (in particular professional counselling) we recommend that the student use the wider University of Oxford welfare/counselling support facilities as well as the college doctors, and often assist with referrals.

Rachel Clifford
Academic Registrar
Corpus Christi College
Oxford
OX1 4JF

Tel: 01865 276737
Fax: 01865 276767

www.ccc.ox.ac.uk

Corpus Christi College is a Registered Charity no. 1143714
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