Support to Study/Attend Process

What is “Support to Study/Attend?”

This only applies to taught students. When the University, or a student, has concerns relating to the student’s health, safety, behaviour, or wellbeing of themselves or others within the University community, then the Support to Study/Attend procedure may be initiated.

This process is designed to enable the University to work with the student to provide an appropriate and coordinated response to these concerns, and to support a student to succeed in their academic goals.

When is this process used?

The Support to Study/Attend process may be initiated in a variety of situations.

For example:

  • When significant concerns have been raised about the student’s health and wellbeing, and whether they are well enough to be studying without serious detriment to their own health or the safety of other members of the University community.
  • When a student has complex support needs, but may not be accessing all the support available to them to enable them to succeed in their studies.
  • When a student’s behaviour, and impact on other students/the wider University is cause for concern.
  • When a student has missed significant portions of teaching and/or assessment and may not be responding to offers of support and contact from their department.
  • When departments are considering “Assumed Withdrawal” due to lack of engagement from the student, but have concerns a student may have additional needs or be dealing with other difficulties.
  • When a student is returning from a leave of absence, particularly if that leave of absence has been for an extended period and the student may require additional support in their return to study.
  • When a student themself believes that they may not be accessing all the support they need, and has concerns about whether they are well enough to study.

What can I expect from the process and what are the possible outcomes?

The aim of the process is to ensure students have the appropriate and coordinated support in order to succeed in their academic goals.

When a concern is being raised by a member of staff, the process is initiated via completion of a Referral Form. If possible, you will be informed by the referrer, that a referral has been made, and what it relates to.

Students can also self-refer – the referral form can be found on the University’s Support to Study webpage.

Once a referral has been received centrally, the University will then appoint an Independent Facilitator, who will act as the main point of contact with the student. It will also be decided which Stage will be initiated. In most cases this will be Stage 1, but in cases where a student is in crisis, or there is a serious or persistent concern about the student, cases can go straight to Stage 2.

You will then be sent a letter by the Independent Facilitator that explains that a referral has been received, that gives details of the main concerns, and invites you to a meeting.

The letter will also outline what support is available to you, and that you have the option of being accompanied to the meeting by a YUSU or GSA adviser. This is encouraged by the University, who want students to be able to access independent support. You may at this point want to contact YUSU Advice and Support Centre, or the GSA Advice Service to seek support for the meeting, and for any questions you may have.

Stage 1

Involves an informal case review and support planning.

Key staff members, such as your supervisor or other relevant person from your Department, College Manager, or other appropriate support services may be invited to the meeting to discuss your circumstances with you. The meeting will normally be chaired by a member of staff from the Student Life and Wellbeing Team or Student Services. The Independent Facilitator will be present to arrange the meeting, introduce members of the meeting, and to take notes.

You will be given the opportunity to present any information that you feel is relevant at the meeting.

The meeting will result in an agreed action plan. A review date will be set, and a subsequent review or the action plan will take place at the next meeting. At this point, either:

  • it will be decided whether the issues are resolved, and the case will be closed
  • the action plan may be reviewed and updated, and further review period agreed
  • If the agreed action points have not been undertaken by the student, or if the matters of concern become more serious, the case may be escalated to Stage 2

Stage 2

Is a more formal case review and support planning.

It is implemented when there are serious or persistent concerns about a student’s health, wellbeing and/or behaviours, safety and/or ability to study and cope at University or where there are considered to be serious concerns about risk to the student and/or others.

This stage will be overseen by a Support to Study/Attend Panel which will comprise at least two representatives as appropriate from the Student Life and Wellbeing Team and/or Student Services.

The role of the Panel is to consider whether the student is fit to undertake their studies and meet the assessment requirements of their programme and whether they will be able to do so without risk of harm to themselves or others.

There will be a discussion of the case and where possible, actions will be agreed in a written action plan, and a date set for a review of the action plan.

The student will be required to adhere to the action plan – where they are not able to do so, or the action plan fails, consequences may include recommendation for

  • A Leave of Absence;
  • suspension, termination of studies, or the student’s failure of their programme.

What are the options for responding?

If you are invited to a Support to Study/Attend meeting, you should attend if you are able to do so, and you should be given adequate notice in order to prepare. If you are unable to attend due to the date/time of the meeting, then contact the Independent Facilitator to request an alternative date/time.

Students should be asked if they have a Student Support Plan (SSP), or require any adjustments to the meeting to enable them to participate. If you have an ongoing condition or disability, it can be really helpful for the Facilitator and Chair to be aware of this, to ensure the process is run in a way that works for you. Whether you choose to share the full SSP with the Facilitator is up to you, however, at a minimum you are encouraged to make the Facilitator aware of any adjustments you might need for the meeting.

At the meeting, you will be given the opportunity to respond to the concerns outlined in the initial letter. This can include providing further information at the meeting and/or submitting any supporting evidence.

You can discuss how to respond, as well as the type of questions you are likely to be asked, and how to prepare for your meeting, with an independent student adviser from YUSU’s Advice and Support Centre or the GSA Advice Service (for postgraduates).

What support can I get from YUSU/GSA Advice Services?

YUSU is the University of York Students Union. The Graduate Student’s Association is York’s specialist postgraduate Student Union. Both are independent from the University, and have student advisers who offer free, confidential advice and support to students.  They specialise in offering advice and support to students who are going through University processes, as well as on welfare issues and signposting students to appropriate support.

The advisers don’t represent students, or speak on their behalf, but work with you to understand your situation, and to help you navigate University processes. For students going through Support to Study/Attend the student advisers can:

  • Meet with you to discuss the referral, and to explain the process
  • Help you anticipate what questions might be asked, and how to plan for the meeting
  • Consider what additional information/evidence might be appropriate
  • Talk through any questions you may have about the process
  • Accompany you to the meeting, and any review meetings
  • Help seek clarification from the Independent Facilitator if there any questions about the process
  • Meet with you following the meeting to debrief

You can make an appointment the following ways:

YUSU Advice and Support Centre – complete the Confidential Advice Record and email this to

GSA Advice Service – book an appointment, or email the adviser on

Further information, advice and support