“At the University of Bolton, we take great pride in providing a quality, supportive learning environment for our students.”
Professor George E Holmes DL | President & Vice Chancellor
“...tutors are very supportive and you’re not just a student ID number, at this university you are an individual with a name.”
Ellisse Vernon | BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing
15 August 2020
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The university understands that accessing education is key to enabling people with criminal records put the past mistakes behind them, so they can become positive members of society; and so we welcome applications from ex-offenders.
Having a criminal conviction will not necessarily prevent an applicant being successful in securing a place at the university although there may be requirements for some courses and careers – this is highlighted as part of our online course information. Suitable applicants would not be refused a place at the university because of offences which are not relevant and do not make them a risk to staff or other students.
Details of the lawful justification for processing this data can be found in the Student Information Policy Zone
For courses that are exempt under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974):
If you are applying for a course that is ‘exempt’ from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and requires a placement, the university will require applicants (for ‘exempt’ courses, only) to complete a confidential declaration in relation to any convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings that are not ‘protected’ (i.e. eligible for filtering) as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended 2013). A criminal record check will also be made with the Disclosure and Barring Service for any course that involves a placement in an establishment frequented mainly by children or vulnerable adults.
Courses within the following subject areas are classed as ‘exempt’ and therefore require declaration as above:
All Teacher Training and Initial Teacher Education
Community Development and Youth
Health and Social Care
Early Years and Childhood Studies
Sport and Exercise Science
Sports Development and Coaching
Sports Science and Coaching
Strength and Conditioning
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Education and Learning
Applicants should note that for some courses where a placement is optional then a DBS check will be required prior to commencement.
Further advice and guidance on whether your cautions and convictions are eligible for filtering can be found on the Nacro website by clicking here. Alternatively, you can contact Nacro Resettlement Advice Service on tel: 0300 123 199, or by email at email@example.com.
For all other courses:
It is a requirement to declare any convictions that are considered relevant and ‘unspent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, as a condition of your application to the university; however, you are not required to declare any ‘spent’ convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings for the vast majority of courses available at the university. For further confidential advice on whether your convictions are ‘unspent’, please contact Nacro Resettlement Advice Service on tel: 0300 123 199, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Nacro website at www.nacro.org.uk
Applicants whose circumstances change in the period between application and enrolment must declare such changes to the Admissions Team prior to enrolment so that these can be taken into consideration.
In the first instance only FORM A – Initial Disclosure Form should be completed and returned to email@example.com
Offences against the person, whether of a violent or sexual nature;
Offences involving the unlawful supply or use of controlled drugs or substances;
If the course involves regular contact with children or vulnerable adults, the university would consider it a high risk to enrol anyone who has been convicted at any time of any the following offences: murder; manslaughter; rape; other serious sexual offences; grievous bodily harm or other serious acts of violence; serious class A drug related offences; robbery; burglary; theft; deception or fraud.
In the event that relevant information (whether in relation to previous convictions or otherwise) is declared by an applicant during the application process or obtained through the DBS check, the university will carry out a risk assessment in accordance with the Student Admissions Policy which can be found in the Student Policy Zone
It will consider the following (non‐exhaustive) factors before reaching a decision on whether to permit the applicant to commence study:
whether the conviction or other matter revealed is relevant to the or course in question;
the nature and seriousness of any offence or other matter revealed;
the length of time since the offence or other matter occurred;
whether the applicant has a pattern of behaviour or other relevant matters;
whether the applicant’s circumstances have changed since the offending behaviour and whether there have been efforts made not to reoffend; and
the circumstances surrounding the offence and the explanation(s) offered by the applicant.
Where these factors present a conflict to the university’s duty of care and associated fiduciary duties, the university reserves the right not to make an offer to study (or to withdraw an offer to study made in advance of a criminal conviction declaration and not disclosed prior to enrolment) where it considers it has lawful basis to do so.
It is important that suitable applicants are not refused a place the university because of offences which are not relevant and do not make them a risk to staff, students or the wider community. The process therefore includes an initial assessment by the Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions including checking whether a conviction is spent, relevant, exempt or filtered before moving to a three stage Risk Assessment process as follows:
Stage 1 includes completion of a Hazard Matrix which is reviewed by the Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions, the Safeguarding Champion in Student Recruitment and Admissions, the relevant Head of School and any potential placement provider.
This may recommend approval to proceed or move to Stage 2.
Stage 2 includes asking the applicant for a Disclosure Statement which includes contextual information and requests for further information from 3rd party organisations involved in the applicants’ rehabilitation.
This information will be reviewed by the same panel as in Stage 1. This may recommend approval to proceed or move to Stage 3.
Stage 3 includes a full risk assessment carried out by the university Counsellor which would include interviewing the applicant. During this stage the documentation must be reviewed by the original review panel in Stage 1 and the Registrar, PVC (Academic) and Head of Student Services.This may recommend approval to proceed or recommend that the application is rejected on grounds of high risk.
Appeal – an applicant may appeal the decision via the Complaints and Appeals Process for Applicants, the final stage of which includes a review by an external appeal officer nominated by the Vice Chancellor.
For information and transparency you may review all forms and process documents used by the university in carrying out a Risk Assessment.
In the first instance only A – Initial Disclosure Form should be completed and returned to firstname.lastname@example.org
For further confidential advice on when to declare, whether your convictions are ‘unspent’ and how to complete a Disclosure Statement please contact Nacro Resettlement Advice Service on tel: 0300 123 199, or by email at email@example.com or visit the Nacro website at www.nacro.org.uk
If you need any advice on the university’s process please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01204 903394