23 Jun 2023

This week, Westmorland MP Tim Farron presented a Bill in Parliament to grant universities a statutory duty of care over their students.

The Bill has been led by Tim after recent public discussion about the role of higher education institutions in looking after vulnerable young people.

In a debate in Westminster Hall earlier this month, Tim paid tribute to Oskar Carrick. Oskar tragically took his own life two years ago whilst a student at Sheffield Hallam University.

Tim said: "Oskar had made an attempt on his life, and despite the fact that both he and his parents had consented for the university to disclose information, that incident was not passed on to Oskar's mum and dad.

"The thought that a higher education institution of any kind should have any hesitation about sharing such vital information with parents and loved ones - because of concerns about legality, form, traditions, GDPR or whatever it might be - is clearly wrong and it is important that universities understand that."

Tim has written to Gillian Keegan, Education Minister, to emphasise that the Bill must become part of government policy. In her response, the Minister thanked Tim for his contributions to the debate and agreed with the need for the entire sector to work together to combat the issue.

Unfortunately, however, she did not make any commitment to creating a statutory duty of care for universities.

Speaking this morning, Tim said: "It is absolutely crucial that we do what we can to protect the most vulnerable.

"Every year we are losing students who could have been helped with intervention which is absolutely heartbreaking.

"Oskar's mum and dad and other parents who have also lost their children at university have campaigned tirelessly to bring this to the Government's attention. We have to honour their losses by introducing these measures."

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