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A request to acknowledge additional support requirements for student carers

This petition had 107 supporters

Who We Are:

We are the student carer equality representatives within Northumbria University, representing the views and needs of student carers on campus. Both of us identify as carers, in so, we aim to improve student carers experiences at Northumbria.

The National Union of Students (2013) ran a study on the barriers towards education unpaid carers face. The NUS defined a carer as: a student who provides unpaid support to a family or friend who could not manage without them. This support can include physical, emotional or financial tasks and do not have to be conducted within the home environment.

We have been in this equality role for over two years now trying to change the experiences of student carers at Northumbria. Despite this, not much tangible work has been achieved due to red tape (bureaucracy) and the University taking too long to act on our requests. This is why this petition exists. We need you to sign so we can get the needs of student carers supported now.

What We Propose:

We propose the creation of a CSSR (Carer Student Support Report). This would function in the same way as the currently implemented DSSR (Disabled Student Support Report) which enables disabled students to access additional support and receive allowances in relation to assessments in accordance to their disability. These allowances may include late submissions or extra time in exams amongst others. Each CSSR would be overseen by student support and wellbeing who would make an assessment of the impact of the caring role on the student and provide appropriate support. Currently, DSSR’s are shared between tutors and university faculties so that every academic a student interacts with should be knowledgeable of the extra support needed.

Justifications of Proposal:

NUS (2013) reports that between 3-6% of the student population identify as carers. This is comparable to the 7% of undergraduate students that identify as disabled and receive disabled students allowance. Within Northumbria, this comparable amount of students can receive support through a DSSR whereas carers cannot.

A carers experience in University can also be likened to a disabled student's experience. Both populations experience a very individualised circumstance within their lives which can affect their access to education.

For instance, carers have been shown to experience chronic stress on a higher level than the typical student population which has been demonstrated to result in deficits in memory and processing of new information. Thus, carers may need more time to learn and demonstrate knowledge in a module than the typical population.

Please sign and share now so that there is support available for student carers.

Point of contact:

If you have any questions please send them to: 
Rachel Whitehouse
Laurie Doyle-Davies


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