Policies, Procedures and Agreements
The Markfield Institute of Higher Education (MIHE) takes seriously its moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all staff, students, visitors and the wider community who interact with the Institute or access its services, grounds and facilities. All individuals within MIHE (staff, students, volunteers, visitors) have a role and responsibility to help ensure the safety and welfare of vulnerable adults.
Safeguarding is understood as the act of protecting people’s health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. This policy sets out the arrangements MIHE will implement to discharge its duty to provide a safe and secure environment, to prevent abuse, and to respond appropriately to suspected or reported abuse of young people (under-18s) and vulnerable adults during their engagement with the Institute. The policy includes face-to-face activities and those delivered online.
The Institute will make this policy accessible to all staff, students, volunteers and visitors (via Moodle, noticeboards and the website).
All references to staff or adults include teaching and administrative staff, volunteers working at the Institute and visitors in direct contact with students and staff, regardless of position, role or responsibilities. This policy adopts the reactive as well as the preventative approach in keeping young people and adults safe.
Whilst the majority of our staff and student population are adults, a small minority could possibly commence their studies while under the age of 18. A number of our students may also be defined as ‘adults at risk of harm or abuse’ within a safeguarding context. Similarly, our workforce may include adults who are at risk of harm or abuse within a safeguarding context, or third parties may exist linked to our workforce or students where safeguarding concerns arise, for example, a family member, child or another dependent, a friend or acquaintance. In addition, young people from schools visit the campus during open days.
Adults who may be at risk are defined by the government as people 18 years of age and above, who receive assistance or support in the form of a Regulated Activity. ‘Regulated Activity’ includes health care; personal care; social work; daily assistance; teaching, training or instruction and advice or guidance provided mainly for children. In the context of Higher Education, MIHE also recognises that there may be adults within the Institute’s community who may be at risk but who fall outside the government definition of Regulated Activity.
The Institute aims:
- To provide a safe environment for all adults to learn, develop and reach their full potential
- To identify people who are experiencing, or likely to experience significant harm, or are at risk of being drawn into radicalization/terrorism (see MIHE’s Prevent Duty Policy)
- To provide pastoral support where students feel secure, valued and listened to
The Institute seeks to safeguard children and vulnerable adults, and will:
- Ensure that information about safeguarding is disseminated
- Provide training to staff, students and volunteers about safeguarding and how to report concerns. MIHE will ensure that staff, students and volunteers receive instruction on how to create a safe environment. All staff and volunteers will be subject to safe recruitment procedures and will also be updated with any relevant legislation, policies and procedural changes.
- Take active measures to identify and prevent anyone who is unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups or individuals. We will promote safe staff and volunteer recruitment strategies, ensuring all necessary checks are
- Manage an effective internal process for dealing with reported
- Keep accurate and secure records of concerns about individuals, even when there is no need for immediate referral to outside
- Signpost – to external agencies where further guidance and support for anyone who may experience abuse can be
- Work with our validating universities and relevant external agencies where necessary in order to implement and monitor the activities regulated by this policy.
- Review policy and supporting processes
Victimisation occurs: where one person treats another less favourably because he or she has asserted their legal rights in line with the Act, has helped someone else to do so, or is suspected of doing so or intending to do so.
The Equality Act 2010 defines unacceptable behaviour as prohibited conduct in terms of: Direct discrimination; indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
Dignity for all: All staff, students and the wider community of MIHE have a right to be treated with dignity and respect, in an environment free from all forms of bullying, intimidation, harassment and victimisation.
Our commitment: The Institute encourages participation, openness, creativity and innovation. MIHE aims to promote a working and learning environment and culture in which differences are respected, unacceptable behaviour is addressed and where individuals have the confidence to deal with harassment and bullying; being supported in that endeavour without fear of reprisals or victimisation.
The Institute has zero tolerance of bullying and harassment behaviour between members of our community. Where evidence supports an allegation, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any individuals responsible for perpetrating such behaviour in order to create an environment where individuals have the confidence to complain of harassment without fear of intimidation or reprisals. It is the responsibility of all members of the MIHE’s community to behave professionally, courteously and respectfully towards each other.
Fitness to Study Policy
The Markfield Institute of Higher Education (MIHE) is committed to supporting students` wellbeing and recognises that a positive approach to the management of physical and mental health issues is critical to student learning, academic achievement and to the wider student experience.
Definition: Fitness to study relates to an individual’s capacity to participate fully and satisfactorily as a student. It is not limited to academic progress but also related to living life independently with dignity. We acknowledge that social, physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing is crucial for a student’s learning and achievement and, that students may face adverse circumstances involuntarily during their studies at MIHE.
MIHE recognises that there may be instances where a student’s physical or mental health may give rise to concerns about the student’s fitness to study, for example, the student’s capacity to engage with his/her studies and/or to function more broadly as a member of the Institute’s wider community. Such instances may arise where, for example, the Institute expresses concern that:
- A student poses a risk to his/her/ own health, safety and/or wellbeing and/ or that of others
- A student’s behaviour is (or is at risk of) adversely affecting the teaching, learning and/or experience of other students
- A student’s behaviour is (or is at risk of) adversely affecting the day‐to‐day activities of the Institute or a placement provider
- A student’s support requirements fall outside the scope of the support and other services which the Institute can reasonably be expected to provide
MIHE staff dealing with affected students will consider what support may be offered to them, both from within the Institute (e.g. through our welfare support system, via an individual learning plan agreement) and externally (e.g. directing or referring students to local GPs or mental health services). Students will be encouraged to seek support.
An action plan should be determined and agreed with the student, including setting specific review dates. Further informal meetings will convene on these scheduled review dates to determine if the concerns previously raised are being resolved. A copy of the action plan will be sent to the student and his/her Course Leader.
Effective communication recorded between staff will be important to achieve informal resolution of the concerns regarding fitness to study. The majority of cases can be resolved via such procedures. However, where this does not facilitate ‘fitness to study’ for the student then the procedures outlined below will apply.
Case Review: This stage engages a ‘Case Review Panel’ comprising of academic and administration staff who will enact early intervention measures and take positive informal action with the student’s co-operation and involvement. The Panel may seek advice from the validating University (Newman University) at this stage.
The Panel should invite the student to discuss the areas of concern and assess the student’s fitness to study. A medical assessment of the student may be required which can usually be obtained from the student’s GP or medical practitioner. This will allow any decisions about the case to be taken. The student will be able to submit documents to the Panel for consideration and will be permitted to attend all or part of the Panel meeting, at the Chair’s discretion. If the student decides to attend, they have the right to bring a friend or representative to the meeting.
The Panel will seek to identify suitable steps forward which serve the best interests of the student, balanced with the best interests of other members of the Institute. A letter/email will be sent to the student following the meeting detailing any decision taken and its reasons. The decision of this ‘Case Review Panel’ will form an outcome that was not previously suggested at the ‘Informal Action’ stage. The Panel may decide:
- That no further action is
- To monitor the student formally for a specific period of time by a mentor who will support an action plan agreed with the student.
This action plan will either contain more detailed steps to those included in previous plans stipulated in the ‘Informal Action’ stage or provide new strategies which are agreed by the Panel and the student. At this stage the student will be informed of the consequences for breaching the action plan, which will normally involve their case moving to a ‘Suspension of Studies’ designation for a short period of time.
The Panel will convene in the student’s absence if the student chooses not to attend, or, despite all reasonable attempts, the Institute has not been able to contact the student. If the student is able to provide good reason for their absence, the meeting will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Fitness to Study Panel: This stage will apply only where all previous attempts to support the student have been unsuccessful, including where the student has little insight regarding their fitness to study or where there is evidence of a serious risk to the health and safety of the student or others at the institute. This course of action will be applied when it is considered that suspension, or requirement to withdraw may be the appropriate course of action, or where the student has not agreed to a recommendation or action plan.
MIHE’s Prevent Duty Policy
MIHE takes seriously its responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students, staff and the wider community. The Institute aims to prevent any member of the MIHE community from being drawn into terrorism. At the same time, MIHE also has a responsibility to protect academic freedom and general freedom of expression. Some of the ways in which the Institute can meet these responsibilities are set out in its policy which can be found on Moodle.
Bullying and Harassment Policy
Bullying, harassment and victimisation of any individual will not be tolerated. Any allegations of such behaviour will be investigated, and ultimately disciplined, in accordance with the Bullying and Harassment Policy. Any form of discrimination against any individual is not tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, discrimination because of age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, and sexual orientation.
Bullying is defined as: ‘Unwanted, offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient’ (ACAS, Bullying and harassment at work: a guide for managers and employers London: Acas, 2014, page 1).
Typically, bullying is one person targeting another, or a group of people targeting an individual. Bullying can also occur in less obvious scenarios and outside of traditional power relationships, for example, a member of staff may be bullied by a student or a manager by a member of staff. The following are examples of what may constitute bullying:
- Verbal e.g. threatening shouting, swearing or sarcasm
- Physical e.g. hitting or pushing
- Humiliation e.g. belittling a person
- Unfair treatment e.g. blaming a person for someone else’s mistake
- Unreasonable fault finding or criticism
- Giving the cold shoulder e.g. blanking or ignoring the
- Threatening or abusive comments made by email or through internet forums
This list is not intended to be exhaustive and bullying can take other forms.
Harassment is defined as:
- ‘Unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the complainant, or violating the complainant’s dignity’ (Equality Act 2010: section 26 (para. 1-5)).
- Unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct which may (intentionally or unintentionally) violate a person’s dignity or create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment which interferes with an individual’s learning, working or social
- Use of threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour, disorderly behaviour or the display of any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, and which is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress;
- Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature (sexual harassment); treating a person less favourably than another person because they have either submitted to, or did not submit to, sexual harassment or harassment related to sex or gender ”
Some examples include:
- Sexual harassment e.g. innuendoes, unwanted body contact, shocking or subtle body language.
- Racial and religious harassment e.g. threats or abuse directed at someone because of their faith and creed, colour, race or ethnic origin: Racial Harassment can include jokes in reference to a person’s race, religion, or nationality. It can include offensive remarks about dress, culture and customs which attempt to ridicule and create prejudice towards individuals or groups.
- Religious stereotyping and profiling – comments may not necessarily be directed at an individual, but may consist of a general culture which is intolerant of another person’s religion or beliefs.
- Ageism e.g. belittling or insulting someone or his/her abilities because of their
- Harassment because of disability e.g. ridiculing or treating an individual differently because of their disability – e.g. mimicking a disability or making offensive references to an individual’s appearance, behaviour or speech; further excluding people from activities due to their
This is not a definitive list as harassment is often specific to the person.
Sex-based harassment means harassment of a woman or man based on the person’s gender, while sexual harassment means unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature that is either based on someone’s sex or gender reassignment. For an act to be considered sexual harassment it does not matter what sex the perpetrator or the victim are for example male/male, male/female, female/female, or what the sexual orientation of those individuals is.
We will take particularly seriously any cases involving the abuse of a position of authority. All complaints (informal or formal) will be treated confidentially. Information shall only be divulged on a need to know basis and with the knowledge of the complainant. We will treat seriously all complaints of harassment and bullying made within the framework of this policy in a sensitive and fair manner with due regard for the confidentiality of all involved. Specifically, no one will be considered ‘at fault’ until an investigation has been fully conducted.
No one will be adversely affected in their studies, employment or opportunities for progression, promotion or training by making a complaint in good faith of alleged unacceptable behaviour. However, if the Institute finds that a complaint is malicious or made for reasons that are not genuine, it may take disciplinary action.
Training: Provide information and training in the operation of this policy and procedure for those responsible for providing support to students, and staff in management and supervisory roles.
Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to provide a suitable and coordinated response by academic and administrative support staff for any students:
- whose achievement and progress are hindered due to any of the above circumstances
- when other internal procedures such as extenuating circumstances procedures are not appropriate
- when all other avenues within the Institute have been explored
This policy should be applied when a student’s fitness to study is a cause for concern and all other procedures or options have been considered or exhausted. It is to be used as a last resort. A student’s fitness to study may be a cause for concern as a result of a wide range of circumstances, including (but not restricted to) the following:
- Behaviour which would usually be dealt with as a disciplinary matter, which may arise from, or suspected to be the result of, an underlying physical or mental health
- A student’s health difficulties are adversely affecting the health, safety or wellbeing of themselves or
- A student’s academic performance is unsatisfactory and may arise from, or suspected to be the result of, an underlying physical or mental health
- A student’s behaviour at their place of residence is adversely affecting the student and people in proximity to them. This calls into question the student’s ability to live independently in their accommodation.
Informal action: The staff will approach a student once concerns regarding his/her fitness to study have been raised and an informal attempt will be made to address these. The student will be encouraged to access the academic and welfare support services offered by MIHE.
Once concerns have been raised/ identified, the relevant administrative staff along with the Course Leader (or equivalent) should expedite a meeting with the student. At this meeting, a clear explanation will be given to the student regarding the concerns raised. The meeting will be conducted in a sympathetic and supportive manner. The student may be accompanied by a fellow student or representative of their own choice. The meeting will attempt to identify any underlying causes for the concerns raised and determine if any adjustments can be made to alleviate these concerns.
The Panel may decide:
- To suspend studies either temporarily or permanently
- To review a decision to suspend at the request of the
A student who is subject to a temporary suspension may not be allowed to enter the Institute’s premises and/or take part in any activities on campus. A student will be designated as ‘suspended’ on MIHE’s internal data system and the validating University (Newman University) will be informed.
Return to study: The Panel will convene to decide if the student is fit to ‘return to study.’ Relevant medical evidence will be requested from the student regarding their ability to recommence their studies and to fulfil any course requirements and, where applicable, live independently in student accommodation. A student will only be permitted to return if, after considering medical evidence, the Panel is satisfied that the individual is fit to study.
Right of appeal: The student has a right to ‘Appeal’ against the Panel’s decision to suspension or withdrawal of studies. The letter/email of ‘Appeal’ should state the grounds of appeal and should be sent within 20 days of the date that the decision was taken.
The appeal will be heard by a committee comprising staff members who have not previously been involved in any stages of the case. The committee will be given a case report prior to meeting with the student, to allow an independent informed decision to be made. The Principal will chair this meeting and any decision made by the committee will be final.