Advice for when you have concerns about a student


Royal Holloway has an excellent reputation as a caring institution. An important part of this is being alert to when one of our students is in difficulty. There may be times when you notice a change of behaviour in a student. They may suddenly become withdrawn, or you may be concerned about their vulnerability and the impact on others of their changed behaviour, or they may simply have stopped attending.

In these cases, it is important to follow the right procedures. These are also informed by the Government’s Prevent Strategy, which it is important we pay attention to even though only the smallest minority of our vulnerable students are likely to be exposed to relevant extremist thinking.

All of the advice that you need can be found on this page, from how to be alert to signs of a potential issue through to who to contact if you do have a concern.

What is the College’s approach to vulnerability?

We treat all students who might be at risk or in danger of being a risk to others as vulnerable. This includes:

  • Severe mental health problems
  • Victims of crime
  • Perpetrators of crime
  • Victims of domestic incidents
  • Family estrangement
  • Those at risk from alcohol, drug or substance misuse
  • Students at risk of being drawn into extremism.

A team of relevant College and SU staff meet weekly, in strict confidentiality, to monitor the progress of all such students and to ensure their and everyone else’s safety. 

What to do if you have a concern about vulnerability?

You should report any concerns to the Support and Advisory Services team by emailing them directly.

The Support and Advisory Services team will review the case to determine the facts and support will be put in place. We can resolve most cases in College with an internal support package, but sometimes we do need to arrange an external referral from a specialist agency. This would be the case with substance addiction, for example.

If there is a serious concern, the College Prevent Lead will discuss further with the Police Prevent Officer.

What is the Prevent Strategy?

Prevent is one of the government’s anti-terrorism work streams.

It has been created by the Home Office and Police, with the aim of stopping people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism either domestically or internationally.

The objectives to Prevent are to:

  1. Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat faced from those who promote it;
  2. Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support;
  3. Work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation which need to be addressed.

Here at Royal Holloway, we are committed to protecting the welfare of our students and staff, and as such, the guidelines and advice contained on this page are informed by the Prevent Strategy. While we have a legally defined role to secure freedom of speech and to promote academic freedom, as an institution, we also have a role to play in protecting students and staff from harm, and monitoring resilience towards the threats posed by extremism.

What are the potential signs to look out for?

It is important that all colleagues are alert to changes in students or vulnerabilities which may suggest they may be at risk of radicalisation.  You can find out more on the following websites:

Is there any training available for staff?

Yes, we are currently setting up a new training module for staff. More details will be communicated to staff shortly. Support and Advisory Services staff are also able to offer bespoke training on a variety of welfare and wellbeing issues, such as duty of care, bereavement, dealing with and responding to difficult situations.

Find out more in our Welfare Guide