Support for pregnant students

We firmly believe that potential should know no barriers and so we never view pregnancy or maternity as an obstacle to your success.

We strive to provide as much flexibility as possible to pregnant students or those within 26 weeks of giving birth. This is also the case for adoption, miscarriage, surrogacy, still birth and neonatal death.

Letting us know

You do not need to disclose your pregnancy to us if you don’t wish to. But if you do decide to tell us, we can arrange for a range of early stage support and take into account any absences.

To let us know of your pregnancy, you can discuss your circumstances with our Disability and Wellbeing Advisor, based over at Dilke House. Our Advisor also has the role of Pregnancy and Maternity Advisor and is here to discuss anything confidentially and sympathetically with you.

Once you have disclosed your pregnancy, our Pregnancy and Maternity Advisor will draw up a Support Plan. This ensures you are being treated fairly and that academic standards aren’t compromised. It will also outline any special arrangements you might need and a timescale for when you can return to study.

Authorised periods of absence

If you would like to, you can study up to your due date. If you would prefer not to, you are entitled to authorised periods of absence, including a break from attending classes two weeks after giving birth and any time for antenatal care.

You may also want to take a longer maternity-related absence by applying for withdrawal, study break or deferral – more information about this can be found here.

We usually recommend you take at least 6 months to a year’s study break. This will of course mean that it will take longer to complete your studies.

If you wish to take any maternity-related leave or granted absences, we will do all we can to help you catch-up on any classes.

If you take a prolonged absence, our Pregnancy and Maternity Advisor will contact you before you’re due to return to talk about any concerns about returning to study. She will do all she can to make sure you are fully supported through this transition.

Assessments and exams

If you’re due to give birth near or during an assessment or exam, and you’d still like to complete your work or sit an exam, you can do so if you wish to.

There is of course also the option to ask for reasonable adjustments to help you balance your studies and personal life. These include sitting an exam in a separate location to allow for more breaks and alternative forms of assessment. To view the full list, take a look at our full Support for Pregnant Students Policy.

Support for partners

We also offer support to those whose partner is pregnant, regardless of your gender.

We advise you to let our Pregnancy and Maternity Advisor know early on, so that she can agree any absences for antenatal appointments or time off around birth.

If you’d like to take maternity/paternity leave, you’ll need to let us know in writing at least 15 weeks before your partner’s due date.

If your partner develops any complications with her pregnancy, or any maternity-related illness, you should let us know as soon as you can so we can support you, such as applying for mitigating circumstances.

For more information, you can view our policy here.

You can also visit the gov.uk website to find out more about your rights when pregnant.