Welfare and Support
International students’ physical and emotional well being is of paramount importance to us at Oxford Sixth Form College, and we take steps in all areas of College life to ensure that their welfare is safeguarded.
If you are suffering from stress or anxiety, please do not hesitate to speak to your Senior Tutor or the College Matron.
The use of social media will inevitably increase during this time and, while this can be a positive thing, it’s important to be safe and to keep your mental health in check.
Our advice to students:
- Know who you are speaking to online – if something doesn’t feel right, tell someone
- Don’t be afraid of coming forward and speaking to your parents, carer, guardian, teacher or other trusted adult
- If you are being bullied online or someone is speaking to you inappropriately, know the police are there to support you as well. You will not be in trouble.
Our advice to parents:
- Trust your instincts – you know your child better than anyone:
- Has your child suddenly become very secretive?
- Are they sad and withdrawn but won’t say why?
- Do they seem distracted?
- Do they have sudden mood swings?
- Are they unable to switch off from their phone or social media?
- Have open conversations with your child about their internet usage
- Use parental controls where appropriate and seek guidance from free resources such as thinkuknow.com
Travel to Oxford
We require all under-18 year old international students to be met at the airport and accompanied to their accommodation to ensure their safety. We will provide an airport transfer unless a suitable alternative is confirmed with the College beforehand. Our drivers will meet the student at Arrivals with identification and the student’s name clearly shown. This service is also available to all students aged 18 and over.
Arrival at the College
On arrival, all students have an Induction and are assisted in registering with the police, registering with a doctor, opening a bank account, taking local public transport and becoming familiar with Oxford. Once courses start, academic supervision enables students to discuss concerns about their work, and is supportive whilst being practical and balanced.
Health and Emergency care
Prior to arrival at the College we will ask you to complete a health questionnaire to provide us with the information we need to ensure you are well looked after. Students will also be asked to complete an Emergency Care consent form. This allows us to provide for you in any situations where emergency medical care may be needed.
The College requires students to register with a local doctor in Oxford, and we have access to an excellent team of local GPs. Similar arrangements should be made to register with a dentist and an optician if necessary.
Medical treatment on the British National Health Service is generally free to international students, but there are fairly complex requirements for a free service, especially for students on short visas. We recommend strongly that you take out medical insurance before leaving home to cover hospital stays or return home in the event of accident or illness. This can normally be covered by extending an existing policy.
Students under the age of 16 must have a guardian. If 16 or over, we still strongly recommend that you have a guardian, so that there is someone in the UK who can act on your parents’ behalf in the event of an emergency.
A guardian may be a relative or a family friend. Some international students may choose to use professional guardianship companies: the College can provide advice on this if necessary.
Dealing with problems
In cases where a difficulty has arisen with a domestic or personal situation, the Oxford Sixth Form College Welfare and Support Team are always ready to offer help. Our ‘open door’ policy aims to ensure that students feel that they can approach any member of staff when there are issues that are causing them concern. The Principal, the Student Services Director, Academic Director, the Personal Tutor Coordinator and the Accommodation and Welfare Officer are all available to speak to any student seeking help.
Often the first sign that a student needs additional welfare support is missed classes. If a student is not present in any class, we immediately phone them to make sure they are safe and well. If we cannot speak to them, we phone parents, guardian and agent and keep trying until we speak to someone. Actions are then taken to support the student.
Where the support needed is of a more sensitive and personal nature, a student may prefer to speak to the one of the Safeguarding Team who will be pleased to offer whatever help they can. An appointment may be arranged at any time, and in a situation demanding more immediate support and advice, is given priority. In certain circumstances, we may enlist the help of an independent counsellor; such meetings are entirely confidential.